Immigration updates for employers | July 2023

Increases to immigration fees to fund public sector pay rises

On 13 July 2023, the prime minister, Rishi Sunak announced an increase to immigration fees across the board in order to fund public sector pay rises. It is expected that the increased fees will generate over £1bn.

The proposed increases are as follows:

  • Increase work/visit visas by 15% (i.e. a Skilled Worker visa from an application outside the UK for up to three years would increase from £625 to £719).
  • Increase Certificate of Sponsorship and priority services by at least 20%.
  • Increase the NHS Health Surcharge by 66%. This means that adults will pay £1,035 per year for this surcharge and children/students will pay £776.
  • Equalise costs for students and those using a priority service so that people pay the same whether they apply from within the UK or from outside the UK.

It is yet to be seen when these increases will come into effect, so employers may wish to act on their recruitment pipeline sooner rather than later in order to ensure they benefit from the current fees.

In light of these increased fees, employers may also wish to revisit their policies on reimbursing some or all of a sponsored migrant's immigration fees and ensure that they have enforceable repayment clauses in the sponsored migrant's employment contract.

Key contacts