Non-EEA Migrants to be Charged £200 Annual Health Surcharge
It has just been announced that from 6 April 2015 nationals from outside the European Economic Area coming to the UK for more than six months will be required to pay a £200 annual health surcharge.
The surcharge will also have to be paid by non-EEA nationals already in the UK who apply to extend their stay. The cost reduces to £150 per year for students. Those paying the charge will be given access to the NHS although payment will still be required for some services such as dental treatment and eye tests. The surcharge is being introduced under the Immigration Act 2014 and is intended to ensure that migrants make a proper financial contribution to the cost of their NHS care.
The surcharge will have to be paid when making an immigration application and must be paid up front for the total period for which the migrant is given permission to stay (for example a £600 payment for a Tier 2 General migrant entering on a three year visa). Dependants will generally pay the same amount as the main applicant. This will therefore mean an increased cost for businesses bringing in overseas workers, although some may choose to pass this cost on to the worker themselves.
There are some important exemptions here where no charge will be levied:
- Tier 2 Intra Company Transferees (although note that they will still need to complete the online surcharge payment process with a ‘nil’ charge)
- Australian and New Zealand nationals because of reciprocal healthcare arrangements with the UK (although note that they will still need to complete the online surcharge payment process with a ‘nil’ charge )
- EEA nationals
- Visitors coming for 6 months or less
However, non-EEA nationals visiting the UK on a tourist visa will not pay the surcharge but will liable for the cost of their NHS treatment. The Department of Health is working on proposals that will mean that from April non-EEA visitors will be charged 150% of the cost of their treatment. This is intended to reflect additional administrative costs.
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