UK Braces to Double Health Charge, Visa Fees For Indians and Non-EU Citizens to Increase

Posted on October 15, 2018

Very soon, the government of UK is going to double the immigration health surcharge (IHS) from December; this would lead to increase in the overall visa fees for professionals, citizens, students and family members from Non-European Union nations including India.

The IHS was introduced in the year April 2015; it would rise from 200 pounds to 400 pounds each year with a discounted rate for students increased from 150 pounds to 300 pounds. The UK Home Official stated that the proposal was announced this year and it was presented before the parliament this week.

The above move is expected to raise around 220 million pounds in extra funding for the state-funded National Health Service (NHS). The surcharge enables anyone in the UK Immigration on a study, work or family visa for more than 6 months to have NHS services access in a similar manner as UK citizens.

UK Immigration Minister, Caroline Nokes further added our NHS is always there when you require it, British taxpayers pay for it. We appreciate long-term migrants using the NHS, as NHS is a national and not an international health service hence it is fair that the migrants who stay for short periods should also make a fair contribution for its long-term sustainability.

It is only fair that people who visit the UK should make a contribution to running the NHS and even with the increase we would still continue to provide a good deal on health care for all those who wish to live in the UK temporarily she stated.

Nokes said the hike would come into effect in the month of December after parliamentary approval and the minister said the government has stepped closer to start implementing the changes to the health surcharge with the proposal been presented at the House of Commons on Thursday. The extra funds raised would go directly towards sustaining as well as protecting our world-class health care system.

The health surcharge is payable by national from Non-EU nations, including India, if they are seeking to live in the UK for a period of 6 months or more or they wish to extend their stay. The payment would be required to be made at the time of filing immigration application and payable until such time as the person is granted indefinite leave to remain (ILR) in the UK or returns to their nation at the end of their visa period.

The government stated that, since the surcharge was introduced in the year 2015 it has raised above 600 million pounds, which the UK’s Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) and health ministries in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland have invested back into their health budgets.

The planned hike will be aimed to better reflect the cost of NHS of treating those who have paid the surcharge. The DHS has estimated that NHS spends nearing to 470 pounds on an average for each person, every year for treating individuals who are required to pay the surcharge.

The hike in the surcharge will not affect the permanent residents, who are not required to pay the surcharge and certain specific vulnerable groups such as asylum seekers as well as modern slavery victims are also exempted. Short-term migrants, who enter the nation on visitor visas are charged differently for secondary care treatment by NHS at the point of Visa access.

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