Immigration health surcharge to double from December 2018

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Posted on 16 Oct 2018

What are the changes regarding the Immigration Health Surcharge?

The government has confirmed a doubling of the Immigration Health Surcharge from December, following on from its announcement earlier this year.  

The Immigration Health Surcharge (IHS) has to be paid by non-EU nationals applying for a UK visa to work, study or join family in the UK for more than 6 months.  From December the IHS will increase to £400 per year (up from £200).  For students and those on the youth mobility scheme the increased rate will be £300 per year (up from £150).  

Who is exempt from the immigration health surcharge?

Permanent residents in the UK and family members of EEA nationals exercising treaty rights in the UK are not required to pay the charge.  Short-term migrants, including those on visitor visas, are generally charged for secondary care treatment by the NHS at the point of access.

Why have these changes to the Immigration Health Surcharge been introduced?

The IHS helps to fund the NHS and has raised over £600m since its introduction in 2015. The government says that the new charges are intended to better reflect the cost to the NHS of treating those who pay the surcharge, which the Department of Health and Social Care estimates to be on average £470 per person per year.

The increase will come into effect in December, provided that Parliament approves it.  

What does the immigration health charge mean for visa applicants and employers? 

Visa applicants and any employers who pick up this cost when sponsoring employees on Tier 2 or Tier 5 visas will need to factor the increase into the overall cost of applying for a UK visa.  For example, currently the IHS fee for a Tier 2 migrant on a 5 year visa is £1000. From December this fee will now be doubling to £2000, per applicant. So it will cost £6000 for a family of three! This fee increase is on top of already ever increasing government fees to sponsor migrants in the UK. It may bring additional financial strain to UK businesses and discourage highly skilled talent from coming to the UK as well as their family members.

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