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Kenyans angered by UK visa fee hike to fund striking workers

The United Kingdom intends to increase visa application fees to raise a billion pounds to pay public sector workers, including the striking teachers.

According to Prime Minister Rishi Sunak, money had to come from somewhere to pay the public sector workers, and he is not prepared to increase people’s taxes to meet the financial demands.

“…and I don’t think it would be right or responsible to borrow more as 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 which is the levy that they pay to access the NHS (government funded National Health Service),” began PM Sunak.

Also read: US announces changes to student visa application process

Migrants must pay a fee to access the NHS and contribute to NHS care. He further explained that none of the fees he spoke about were increased recently and he found it appropriate “given the cost of everything that has gone up.”

With these fee increments, UK public sector workers are set to get a pay rise of 6% or more, and PM Sunak was of the opinion this would be the final pay award to them.

The visa fee increment news was met with mixed reactions as some accused the United Kingdom of depending on migrants to fund their citizens when the migrants already paid taxes as well.

I know this is gonna be ignored by Rishi Sunak but why should I pay more NHS Surcharge when I’m paying taxes. What is the justification in increasing visa fees if you want to attract the best talent from the world?” asked Josh Obiozor.

Like we don’t pay taxes to fund public services 😭,” added Geylord Asimba.

In Kenya, William Ruto has scraped visa requirements for foreigners, scraped entry fees into our national parks for foreigners, scraped international students’ fees rates for Comoros citizens and increased taxes on his own Kenya citizens,” said George Watson.

Also read: Dear Kenyans, here’s why you can be denied entry abroad even with a visa

“Makes NO sense to imagine that already expensive Visas fees are the end game plan. Clearly, the UK is happily continuing to do what its always done – rely on ex colonies for survival. Being 1st gen from an ex colony himself he should know!” claimed Judy Kibinge.

“Glad it’s coming to light that these oversees missions’ aim is to collect money., they should reimburse the fees if you don’t get a visa,” said Kamau Isaac.

“Hahaha, how bold! I need money and I will steal from any visitor coming here! Your visa application is of now one of the most expensive and more demanding!” said Olivier Nahayo.

According to the United Kingdom government, to apply for a visa from Kenya to visit Britain, the standard visitor visa will cost between $133 (Sh18813) and $1,116 (Sh157858)- ranging from a short-term of up to six months to a long term of up to 10 years.

Short-term study visas will cost Kenyans $267 (Sh37767), while transit visas will cost between $47 (Sh6648) and $85 (Sh12023).

Parents of school children will be charged $708 (Sh100147), while child visitors will be charged an application fee of between $133 and $ 1,116, depending on their length of stay.

All application fees are nonrefundable and are yet to be reviewed upward as PM Sunak intends.

Also read: Effects of visa violations that all travellers need to know