The UK government is set to significantly increase work and student visa application fees for foreign applicants, including Nigerians. The changes are set to come into effect on October 4, 2023, following legislation being laid in Parliament.
The fees are used to run the UK’s Home Office and ensure a sustainable immigration and nationality system. While commenting on the hike, a statement from the Home Office’s website said, “increases to immigration and nationality fees to pay for vital services and allow more funding to be prioritised for public sector pay rises are set to come into effect on October 4, following legislation being laid in Parliament today (15 September).”
The changes mean that the cost of work visas like the global talent visa is rising from £167 ($204) to £192 ($235) which represents a 15% increase. While the innovator founder visa application fee is increasing from £1,292 ($1,581) to £1,486 ($1,819).
The changes include:
- Fees for up to 6 months, 2, 5 and 10 year visit visas.
- The majority of entry clearance fees and specific leave applications remain in the UK, including those for work and study.
- Fees for indefinite leave to enter and indefinite leave to remain.
- Convention travel document and stateless person’s travel document.
- Health and Care visa.
- Fees in relation to certificates of sponsorship and confirmation of acceptance for studies.
- The in and out-of-country fee for the super-priority service and the out-of-country fee for the priority service. The settlement priority service will be reduced, so it is aligned with the cost of using the priority service.
- Applications to Register and Naturalise as a British Citizen.
- The fee for the User Pays Visa Application service.
In July, the government announced a 15 percent increase in the cost of most work and visit visas and an increase of at least 20 percent in the price of priority visas, study visas, and certificates of sponsorship.
Until 2003, the UK charged nothing for work permits, visa extensions, and settlements. Fees for initial visas and citizenship were relatively modest. For example, a student visa cost £33.
Today, visa application fees are much higher and the government has introduced additional costs for some migrants and sponsors, such as the Immigration Health Surcharge (IHS) and the Immigration Skills Charge (ISC).
Total upfront immigration costs in the UK are higher than those in many other countries, including Canada, Germany, France, and the USA, according to a 2021 report published by the Royal Society.
Over the past few years, the UK has become a top immigration destination for Nigerians. Data from the UK immigration office shows that Nigerian nationals saw the highest percentage increase, up 73% from 33,958 in June 2022 to 58,680 in June 2023.