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Rishi Sunak: Visa fees, health surcharge to rise to meet wage increase | World News

LONDON: The fees and health surcharge paid towards the UK’s state-funded National Health Service (NHS) by visa applicants from around the world, including Indians, are set to rise “significantly” to meet the country’s public sector wage increase, PM Rishi Sunak said on Thursday. The British Indian leader, who was under pressure to accept the recommendation of an independent review of pay for teachers, police, junior doctors and other public sector workers, confirmed a hike between 5 and 7% across the board. “If we’re going to prioritise paying public sector workers more, that money has to come from somewhere else because I’m not prepared to put up people’s taxes and I don’t think it would be responsible or right to borrow more because that would just make inflation worse,” Sunak said. “So, what we have done are two things to find this money. The first is, we are going to increase the charges that we have for migrants who are coming to this country when they apply for visas and indeed something called the Immigration Health Surcharge (IHS), which is the levy that they pay to access the NHS,” he said. The second action to meet the country’s higher wage bill is about asking government departments to “reprioritise”.