Sunak to make migrants PAY for £2 billion wage boost with HIGHER visa fees

Migrants will face higher entry fees in order to fund public sector wage increases.

Rishi Sunak stated that hefty hikes in visa fees and the levy placed on overseas workers accessing the NHS will fund more than a billion pounds to pay wage increases of up to 7%.

Teachers are poised to end their protests following the Government’s pay announcement yesterday, but physicians have pledged to strike over the below-inflation settlement.

More borrowing and tax increases were ruled out as means to support the £2 billion plan by the Prime Minister.

Mr Sunak said: “What we have done are two things to find this money. The first is we’re 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 which is the levy that they pay to access the NHS. So all of those fees are going to go up and that will raise over a billion pounds.”

The charity Praxis, which supports migrants and refugees, claimed that the Government was treating people born outside the UK as “cash cows”.

Josephine Whitaker-Yilmaz, its public affairs manager, said raising “already eye-wateringly high” visa fees risks seeing people fall deeper into poverty and insecurity.

But Mr Sunak said choices had to be made over funding public sector pay rises. He added: “I’m not shying away from that, because I think that’s the right thing to do.”

Around half of the cost will be met by a rise of up to 20 per cent in visa fees and increasing the immigration health surcharge from £624 to £1,035.

Whitehall departments will also have to “reprioritise” resources to help pay the rest of the bill.

Mr Sunak insisted that was “not about cuts” but was “just about focusing on public sector workers’ pay rather than other things”.

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