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Home Office Announces Immigration Health Surcharge Refunds for Healthcare Staff

Home Office Announces Immigration Health Surcharge Refunds for Healthcare Staff

In light of the Government announcing it would scrap the controversial Health Surcharge for migrant NHS and care worker staff, the Prime Minister has been challenged as it emerges people are still being met with the fee. 

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Home Office Announces Immigration Health Surcharge Refunds for Healthcare Staff

As part of the coronavirus pandemic, both public and Parliament attention has been turned onto the UK’s healthcare crisis – particularly to the many migrant staff who pay extortionate visa fees to work in the sector.  

Following immense public pressure and scrutiny, the Home Office announced in May that future NHS staff and care workers would benefit from an exemption to the Immigration Health Surcharge (IHS). The surcharge is applicable to most overseas entrants into the UK, costing £400 per person a year to cover the costs of any potential healthcare services. And the fee is due to rise to £625 a year this coming October.  

Following immense public pressure and scrutiny, the Home Office announced in May that future NHS staff and care workers would benefit from an exemption to the Immigration Health Surcharge (IHS).

Healthcare organisations have long lobbied against the charge being applied to vital staff such as doctors, nurses, midwives and carers. Organisations such as The Royal College of Nursing have argued that the charge was unfair for those who prop the sector up, and that it was acting as a deterrent for foreign workers to migrate to the UK. 

Scrapping the charge has therefore been welcomed as an enormous victory. However, immigration lawyers pointed out that there was a delay in its implementation.  

Indeed, despite the announcement last month, NHS and social care workers have still been met with the charge when entering the country or seeking a Work Visa renewal 

Despite the announcement last month, NHS and social care workers have still been met with the charge when entering the country or seeking a visa renewal

During Prime Minister’s Questions yesterday, Wednesday 17 June, leader of the opposition Sir Keir Starmer challenged the delay, claiming that “nothing” had been done so far to “drop this deeply unfair charge.” 

immigration health surcharge
Migrant NHS staff no longer need to pay the Immigration Health Surcharge. [Image: Artur Tumasjan/Unsplash.]
Starmer asked the Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, when he is planning on axing the fee. 

Fortunately, Johnson assured the House that those who have paid the surcharge as of 21 May will be refunded. 

He said: “I’m genuinely grateful for an important question because it is vital that people who are working on the front line, and NHS workers in particular, get the support that they need. And that’s why I said what I said a few weeks ago. 

“And what I can tell him is that NHS or care workers who have paid the surcharge since the 21st of May will be refunded, and we are getting on with instituting, the new arrangements, as fast as we possibly can.” 

If you are concerned about meeting the financial requirement of your Work Visa, or if the Immigration Health Surcharge applies to you, contact Birmingham Immigration Lawyers on 0121 667 6530 to see just how we can help you.