UK Visa Costs Increasing By More Than 50%

Youth Mobility Scheme & Ancestry UK Visa

The cost of UK visas most commonly used by Aussies and Kiwis, is set to increase by more than 50%.

The UK has long been the ‘go to’ destination for Aussies and Kiwis heading off on their big OE, and rightly so. However, increases in UK immigration fees on top of the softening labour market may cause some people to re-consider, while also adding a layer of urgency for those with plans this year.

Changes in UK Visa Costs

There have been a number of changes. Visa applications recently went up by 15-35%, and the Immigration Health Surcharge is increasing by more than 65% from 6 February 2024. More on these changes below.

For the Youth Mobility Scheme and Ancestry visas (what most of our job seekers choose), these updates translate to a £651 (54.3%) and £2,135 (58.5%) increase, respectively. Here’s a more detailed look at the cost increase:

Break Down of the Changes in Visa Fees

These updates are outlined in more detail below, along with a host of other changes originally announced by the UK Government on 13 July 2023.

UK Visa Fees

On 4 October 2023, fees increased across a range of immigration and nationality routes for people wanting to live, work and study in the UK. This comes at a time when there are record high migration numbers.

For Aussies, Kiwis and alike, this means a 15% increase in the cost of most work visas and at-least 20% for Certificates of Sponsorship (CoS), settlement, citizenship, wider entry clearance and leave to remain visas.

The UK government is also equalising the costs for students and for those using a priority service. This means you will pay the same regardless of whether you apply from within or outside the UK.

Wider Changes to Fees

The Home Office announced that it is removing remaining instances of the £19.20 fee for biometric enrolment as well as the £161 fee charged for a Transfer of Conditions in-country.

Fees are also being removed for visa applicants amending details on their physical evidence of immigration status, and for a like-for-like replacement of a biometric residence permit (BRP) where the validity of the card has expired. These changes are expected to come into effect in autumn.

Immigration Health Surcharge Uplift

As outlined above, the biggest change comes in the form of the Immigration Health Surcharge. This increase was approved by the UK Parliament on 16 January 2024, meaning the main rate increases to £1,035, and the discounted rate for students, their dependents, those on youth mobility schemes and under-18s rises to £776.

Increases in UK immigration fees are intended to help fund the Home Office and NHS health system dealing with record migration numbers, strong wage inflation throughout the health care sector, as well as soaring cost of living increases across the UK in general.

Now Is the Time To Go

If you are able to be flexible with your plans, our advice is to start your job search early and look into applying for your visa before prices increase. Spend the £651 to £2135 visa savings on flights, rent or travel instead. The choice is yours.

Related Articles:

Take the stress out of your UK job search.