From 6 April 2015, non-EEA nationals planning to travel to the UK for more than 6 months will be required to pay an ‘Immigration Health Surcharge’. This new immigration requirement is not part of migrant’s visa application fees, it is payment that will go directly to the UK National Health Service (NHS). However, the payment must be made at the same time the Applicant submits their application. This will give migrants who are in the UK for 6 months or more, access to the NHS in the same way that settled UK residents have access to the health service.
Non-EEA Migrants to Financially Contribute to UK NHS
Under the current UK Immigration Rules non-EEA nationals who come to the UK to work, study or join family settled in the UK receive free medical treatment under the NHS. However, from next month these same individuals who are coming to live in the UK will be required to financially contribute to the cost of their healthcare. Migrants who are coming to the UK to study will be charged £150 per year and all other migrants will be charged £200 per year. The health surcharge will be made payable when applicants submit their on-line visa applications. As mentioned above, it is not part of their visa application fee, it is a separate fee that will go directly to the UK NHS. Furthermore, the health surcharge will not only apply to individuals making entry clearance on-line visa applications but to individuals currently in the UK applying to extend their UK visas.
The UK Ambassador to South Korea showed his support for migrants financially contributing to the cost of their NHS care:
“The UK is hugely proud of its National Health Service, which provides world class care to all residents. It is only fair that those coming to live or study in the UK make a financial contribution to the public services they are entitled to access, which is why we are introducing this change.”
It has been estimated that in England alone non-EEA visitors and migrants living in the UK cost the NHS up to £2 billion a year. Now with the new immigration requirement migrants are fairly contributing their share. Additionally, the health surcharge are relatively lower than other countries.
Applicants Exempt from Immigration Health Surcharge
As explained above, the health surcharge will be paid by non-EEA nationals who apply to come to the UK to work, study or join family for more than 6 months. It will also be paid by non-EEA nationals who are already in the UK and apply to extend their stay. Applicant or individuals who are exempt from the Immigration Health Surcharge are the following:
- Visitors who have been granted of entry clearance (permission to stay in the UK) is for 6 months or less.
- Tier 2 Intra-company transfer visa holders.
- Children under 18 years taken into care or in the care of a local authority.
- Applicants claiming asylum, humanitarian protection, or a claim that their removal from the UK would be contrary to article 3 of the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR).
- Individuals who are victims of human trafficking.
- Applicants who make an application under the Home Office concession known as the ‘destitute domestic violence concession’.
- Dependents of a member of Her Majesty’s Forces.
- Dependents of a member of another country’s Forces who is exempt from Immigration Control.
- Migrants making an immigration application in relation to an EU obligation. For instance, individuals making an application under the Turkish European Communities Association Agreement, are exempt.
- Australian & New Zealand nationals.
- A British Overseas Territory citizen who is the resident of the Falkland Islands.
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