The Tories plan to make migrants pay more (Picture: Guy Smallman)

Rishi Sunak’s government wants to charge migrants more to fund public sector workers’ pay rises. Rather than finding the money for the 5-7 percent pay rises from the pockets of billionaires, Sunak wants to make it more expensive and harder to settle in Britain.

The Tories want the fee rise to raise £1 billion to pay for the uplift to police, NHS workers, junior doctors, prison officers, armed forces and teachers.

The normal cost of the immigration health surcharge—which migrants must pay before submitting a visa application—will spike from £642 to £1,035 a year for each adult. That’s a 417 percent increase from five years ago.

For international students and children it rises to £470 to £776.  As migrants are required to pay the charge up-front, the increase means for five years, an adult will pay £5,175 in health fees alone.

And the cost of the ten-year route to settle will be hiked from £12,846 to £18,266. Visas will also rise by 15 percent for work and visit visas and at least 20 percent for study visas, certificates of sponsorships and leave to remain.

The increased cost of coming to Britain is also a way of decreasing net migration, which rose to 606,000 in 2022, and saw a split between the Tories over how to handle the numbers.

A shortage in workers across many industries saw Sunak fall out with his home secretary Suella Braverman, who wanted to restrict numbers further rather than open visas up.

The Joint Council for the Welfare of Immigrants said Britain “already effectively taxes migrants twice for healthcare and has some of the most extortionate visa fees in Europe.

“This massive increase is simply unaffordable—it will price workers out of affording a visa and force thousands further into poverty during the cost of living crisis, or out of the country.”

Raising already extortionate fees means pushing thousands of people deeper into poverty during a cost of living crisis. And for those who already pay domestic taxes to live and work in Britain, it will now cost a family of four almost £68,000 for visa fees, up by as much as 41 percent.

Sunak says it’s “right and fair” to treat migrants like cash cows to fund public services that have been desperately underfunded by 13 years of Tory austerity.

But the only thing that’s fair is full-funded, above-inflation pay rises, paid for by taxing the rich that get away with contributing the least.

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