At a time when the Trump admin has brought in several changes to tighten immigration laws in the United States, the regulations in the United Kingdom seemed much simpler. However, this perception is likely to change soon as the UK government plans to bring several changes to its policies making immigration not just tougher but costlier as well.
A UK visa for Indians as well as non-European Union citizens is set to become much costlier as the British government plans to raise the immigration health surcharge (IHS). As per the new plan, the IHS will set an immigrant back by £400 instead of the current £200. Meanwhile, students and immigrants on the youth mobility scheme will have to pay a discounted amount of £300 each year.
The IHS is paid by professionals, students, and family members and the revised amount is likely to be applicable December 2018 onwards once it is approved by the parliament. The IHS permits immigrants access to the National Health Service (NHS), and is not levied on immigrants who eventually attain a permanent residency status in the UK.
The surcharge is also not applicable to certain sections such as asylum seekers and victims of modern slavery.
Speaking of the change, Immigration Minister Caroline Nokes said that the additional funds will be invested in developing and maintaining the healthcare system in the nation.
Our NHS is always there when you need it, paid for by British taxpayers. We welcome long-term migrants using the NHS, but the NHS is a national, not international health service and we believe it is right that they make a fair contribution to its long-term sustainability," Nokes said in a statement.
It is only fair that people who come to the UK make a contribution to the running of the NHS, and even with the increase we still continue to offer a good deal on healthcare for those seeking to live in the UK temporarily."
The UK has been working towards tightening immigration laws in the nation and on October 2, Prime Minister Theresa May unveiled another regulation that will put an end to "freedom of movement once and for all" for EU citizens, bringing the nationals of all the countries at par.
"When we leave (the EU) we will bring in a new immigration system that ends freedom of movement once and for all. For the first time in decades, it will be this country that controls and chooses who we want to come here," the Press Trust of India quoted May's statement.
"It will be a skills-based system where it is workers' skills that matter, not where they come from. It will be a system that looks across the globe and attracts the people with the skills we need," she added.
The new immigration laws are likely to benefit highly-skilled Indians looking to move to the UK, as the government has clearly specified that it will "make sure low-skilled immigration is brought down." Meanwhile, applicants will be required to meet a minimum salary threshold.
However, what might be a troublesome to immigrants is the regulation which permits workers to bring their immediate family to the UK only if their employers are ready to sponsor the members. This, in turn, increases the cost to the employers.
"Successful applicants for high skilled work would be able to bring their immediate family but only if sponsored by their future employers," the government statement explained.