AGS Worldwide Movers

Immigration UK: immigration fees set to increase again in 2024

There will be a nearly 40% increase to the UK Government’s Immigration Health Surcharge from 16 January 2024 - from £624 to £1035.

Posted in: AGS Relocation news, Immigration news
Published Date: 09 January 2024

UK Immigration Health Surcharge increase

The Immigration Health Surcharge is an annual tax that most UK visa holders must pay to access the free services of the NHS. The increase comes on top the significant raises implemented in late 2023, which saw immigration fees rise between 15% and 35% across the board.

A 3-year skilled worker visa will now cost as follows:


UK Government fee Small companies Medium or Large companies
Certificate of Sponsorship £239 £239
Immigration Skills Charge £1,092 £3,000
UKVI visa fee (inside UK) / UKVI visa fee (outside UK) £719 / £827 £719 / £827
Immigration Health Surcharge £3,105 £3,105
Total £5,155 / £5,263 £7,063 / £7,171


Costly but quick UK visa system

Fast UK visa application system
Applying for a visa for the UK is much easier and faster than in most other countries, largely because the UK government has outsourced the issuance of visas to employers.

Once a company receives a sponsorship license, they are able to issue certificates of sponsorship to individuals and apply for their visa. This means that the licensed companies underwrite the individuals, which makes the applications very document-light and faster to process. Compare this to the EU and the US, where applications are document-heavy and take a long time to put together and review.

This speed, however, comes at a significant cost. The UK visa is now the most expensive visa in the world if you take government fees into account alone. There is an argument that the US visa remains more expensive, but that is only the case if you include the legal fees associated with any application. Given the ease of operating the UK system, the legal fees are significantly lower than elsewhere, and companies are perfectly able to operate the system without legal assistance.


Is the UK points-based system delivering value for money?

The question remains whether the UK points-based system, current and previous iterations, delivers value for money for employers.

Based on the cost alone, when compared to other countries – particularly EU countries where the government fees are generally no more than EUR 200-400 – the answer would have to be no. Clearly a lot could be saved by recruiting foreign nationals elsewhere.

However, when looking at the ease with which the immigration system can be operated, the processing times, the availability of appointments, the opportunity to expedite permits, the single visa issued rather than a two-step process, the question becomes more nuanced and the answer not as straight-forward.

If you’re weighing up the pros and cons of different visas, immigration systems and processes for your assignees, our experts are on hand to guide you through the options available to you throughout Europe and around the world.

Contact AGS Relocation today for an obligation-free chat about your immigration needs.