The latest dramatic increases in UK immigration costs and fines

From 4 October 2023, the roughly 15% increase to most immigration and nationality fees took place, including but not limited to, work and study visas, visit visas, Certificate of Sponsorships and in and out of country priority and super priority service fees. For further details on each specific fee change, please see this link: Home Office immigration and nationality fees: 4 October 2023 - GOV.UK (

From 16 January 2024, the increase to the Immigration Health Surcharge (IHS) will be effective, meaning that children, students and Youth Mobility Scheme applicants will have to pay £776 per year (instead of £470) and adults will have to pay £1,035 per year (instead of £624). In adults, this represents an enormous 66% increase. The IHS is an upfront fee, levied on the majority of UK visa applicants, so that they can gain free access to the NHS and medical treatment during their stay in the UK.

Lastly, a new draft Code of Practice on the civil penalty scheme for employers (preventing illegal working) has been published, which will apply to all right to work checks from 22 January 2024, including where a follow-up check is required to maintain a statutory excuse, even if the initial check was undertaken using the previous version of the code which was current at the time. The civil penalty for each illegal worker will rise from £15,000 to £45,000 (if there are no previous breaches in the last 3 years) and £20,000 to £60,000 for repeated breaches. That is tripling the fine! As such, it is important that employers review their right to work policies to ensure adequate compliance, in accordance with the latest guidance and train their staff appropriately.

Key contacts