Britain’s Indian-origin Finance Minister Rishi Sunak tabled the annual budget which is set to make the long-term visas costly after a major hike in the compulsory health fee charged on migrants was proposed. Sunak announced that the Immigration Health Surcharge (IHS) would be hiked from £400 to £624 saying migrants benefit from the National Health Service (NHS).
“Migrants benefit from our NHS and we all want them to do so – but it’s right that what people get out, they also put in,” said the 39-year-old Chancellor of the Exchequer in his maiden budget statement.
“There is a surcharge already, but it doesn’t properly reflect the benefits people receive. So, as we promised in our manifesto, we are increasing the Immigration Health Surcharge to £624, with a discounted rate for children,” he added.
The United Kingdom has already launched a new points-based visa system which is aimed at attracting the “brightest and the best” around the world and cutting down on cheap, low-skilled labour. Under the new system, points will be assigned will for specific skills, qualifications, salaries or professions.
The points-based visa system in the post-Brexit era will come into effect from January 1, 2021. EU and non-EU citizens will be treated equally under the new ‘single global system’ and will give priority to the greatest talents, including scientist, engineers and academics. UK Home Secretary Priti Patel, in a statement, had said that it is a historic moment for the whole country.
A minimum of 70 points is required to be eligible to apply according to the points assigned to different characteristics, of which some are tradable. The applicants should earn more than the minimum salary threshold to apply for a visa but in case they earn less than the required threshold, but no less than £20,480, they can still apply if they have a job offer in a specific shortage occupation or have a PhD relevant to the job.
(With PTI inputs)