UK makes visas expensive for Indians, in a bid to push domestic hiring

Visas will be costlier for non-EU migrants and Indians, with the UK wanting to get British employers to consider locals for jobs before looking outside.

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Indians and migrants from non-EU nations will have to pay more for UK visas, which have a validity of more than six months. This is because the British government has doubled the Immigration Health Surcharge (IHS), which is mandatory. The move is aimed to promote domestic hiring.

This compulsory IHS, which has to be paid at the time of submission of visa application, lets students and temporary workers avail the UK’s subsidised public health care services, that is, the National Health Service (NHS), during their presence in the country. However, IHS is not applicable to migrants who obtain permanent residency.

At present, a regular migrant is required to pay an annual IHS of £200. This has now been doubled to £400 per annum. For student visas under the Youth Mobility Scheme (Tier-5 visa), the surcharge has been doubled from £150 to £300.

The increase in surcharge is aimed at encouraging employers to hire ‘domestic’ workers rather than working professionals from outside the country.

The UK is expected to make its immigration rules stricter, to allow immigrants only on the basis of their skills and not nationality.

Since its introduction in 2015, the surcharge has generated more than £600 million from Indian and non-EU citizens possessing UK visas with over six-month validity.

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