Those immigrating to the United Kingdom will have to pay a double health surcharge, starting December this year.
The UK Home Office is planning to increase the fee for Immigration Health Surcharge (IHS) from 200 pounds to 400 per year. Whereas, students to whom the reduced fee of 150 pounds applies, will have to pay 300 pounds per year. The new changes will affect all nationals from non-European Union countries, including professionals.
The IHS, a policy introduced in April 2015, permits those residing in the UK on a work, study or family visa with validity of 6 months and over, to access public health services equally as the UK citizens. From the date it was introduced, and on, it is estimated that the policy has raised over 600 million pounds, which later were invested back in the health budget of the UK.
According to the government, the plans to double the IHS cost come after the DHSC estimated that the NHS spends 470 pounds on average per person annually, on treating those required to pay the surcharge. The new changes are expected to add approximately 220 million pounds in the extra funding for the National Health Service.
UK Immigration Minister Caroline Noke says that the UK welcomes long-term migrants using the NHS. However, she still adds that “the NHS is a national, not international health service and we believe it is right that they make a fair contribution to its long-term sustainability.”
“It is only fair that people who come to the UK make a contribution to the running of the NHS, and even with the increase we still continue to offer a good deal on healthcare for those seeking to live in the UK temporarily,” she says.
The new costs for the Immigration Health Surcharge will come into effect in December, right after the parliamentary approval.