Ola ‘Kiya, Reporting
PERHAPS to further make it more difficult for the ‘japa’ crave in Nigeria and other African countries, the United Kingdom Prime Minister Rishi Sunak has announced an increase in visa application fee paid by immigrants.
‘Japa’ is a Yoruba word colloquially denoting “to run, flee, or escape,” with the word taking firm root in the aspiration by young Nigerians to emigrate the country for greener pastures.
Sunak also said the surcharge paid for the state-funded National Health Service (NHS) by visa applicants by immigrants will “increase significantly.”
Stonix News reports that the disclosure comes a few weeks after the United States embassy jacked up fees for processing non-immigrant visa (NIV) applications.
The US embassy, according to a statement on its website, had said the new fees for various visa categories would be implemented from June 17, 2023.
Sunak explained that the development was “entirely right,” as the fees have not been increased, recently.
“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
“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.
“All of those fees are going to go up and that will raise over £1 billion. So, across the board, visa application fees are going to go up significantly and similarly for the IHS,” he noted.
Sunak further said the move would have no effect on inflation because there would be no new borrowing or spending to fund the increases.
He said the government believed it was appropriate, given that the costs have risen since the last hike.
In a tweet, Sunak said: “I just announced a fair way to end the strikes – and already all teaching unions are backing it.
“It’s a fair deal for workers. And a fair deal for the British taxpayer. This is a major breakthrough for parents and families across the country.”