Speaking for Ourselves

A penalty tax on migrants is no solution to public pay

A penalty tax on migrants is no solution to public pay


 Migrant Voice - A penalty tax on migrants is no solution to public pay

Increasing visa fees and the National Health Service surcharge to pay towards a public pay increase is a penalty tax on migrants. 

The public sector needs a pay rise, but to do so at the expense of migrants is exploitation at a state level. When the Prime Minister said that he didn’t want “taxpayers” to foot the bill for the pay rises he ignored that migrants pay taxes. The government’s plans to raise visa fees and the surcharge are a “penalty tax” for being born elsewhere. What this government is proposing is an unjust additional tax on people based on their immigration status. 

We are already seeing nurses crippled by thousands of pounds worth of debts they have had to take out to pay visa fees, which can be seven to ten times the amount they cost to process. Now we are expecting the people we hope will save our lives to be able to do so while they are also terrified about being forced into destitution.

This country is already facing a cost-of-living crisis, that crisis is not solved by charging those living here more to continue working here. All that means is that we will lose workers, increase skills shortages and lead to more harm to the economy. When you make migrants poorer you make all of us poorer in turn.

We need financial policies which don’t treat migrants as the government’s personal piggybank. We need policies which see everyone lifted up, rather than a temporary boost for some at the expense of others, and of the long-term economy. 

We are seeing migrants forced into tens of thousands of pounds of debt because of the existing fee system. Families unable to be together, parents paying astronomical amounts just to ensure that their children can live here. Now this government wants to make it worse. They want to tell all those migrants working in the health service, and across the country, that their own values are a monetary one. 

Facing demands to cut immigration from a small group of MPs, this seems to be the Prime Minister’s solution. It is hard to see this as anything other than an intentional policy to impoverish migrants. In doing that, he not only risks destroying their lives, but also impoverishing the whole country. Whether it is through doubling the NHS surcharge, which is already at £624 per year, or increasing the thousands of pounds paid in visa fees, this is no solution.

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Migrant Voice
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N1 9JP

Phone: +44 (0) 207 832 5824
Email: [email protected]

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Number: 1142963 (England and Wales); SC050970 (Scotland)

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