The fees related to the UK visas are amongst the highest in the world. Among the fee items, a huge health surcharge is also included.
The high fees levied by the UK around its visa cause financial burden to a large number of people who seek UK migration.
Lately, the decision of the UK government to exclude low-paid NHS staff and migrant workers from a free UK visa extension scheme has come to face a lot of criticism. The UK visa extension scheme helped these categories of people stuck in the UK due to the inability to travel owing to COVID-19 measures. They were permitted to stay back without having to apply for a Tier 2 visa in view of their existing visa expiring soon.
While the UK has implemented a visa extension scheme that allows a free 12-month extension to social care workers in medical roles and NHS workers, it has excluded many others in the same line of work.
These excluded workers are those with a lower paygrade, including workers such as cleaners, porters, and administrative staff. With the free extension scheme out of reach for them, they end up compelled to pay a huge amount of money.
Yvette Cooper, the chair of the Committee and a Labor MP has urged government ministers to extend the fee-free visa scheme to cover all employees.
The Committee is also calling for the suspension of the No Recourse to Public Funds (NRPF) rule. This rule blocks access for migrants holding UK visas to tax credits, housing assistance, and state-funded benefits.
It also blocks Tier 2 asylum seekers, entrepreneurs, self-employed migrants, spouses of UK citizens, investors, and self-employed migrants from accessing state funds. This leaves many to near poverty, as is the opinion of some charities.
Those criticizing the poor state of affairs for the excluded are voicing for them fully acknowledging the importance of their services from the frontline during the COVID-19 crisis.
A government spokesman has hence stated that across the UK immigration system, support is extended to the affected in the form of a free one-year visa extension facility. This is made available to nearly 3000 key frontline workers. The facility provides an exemption from paying the immigration health surcharge. The scope of the bereavement scheme has also been expanded to include all social care and NHS workers.
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