Priti Patel has confirmed that only some workers in the health and care systems will benefit from an exemption from the Immigration Health Surcharge and application fees. So, what is the Immigration Health Surcharge?
What is it?
The Immigration Health Surcharge (“IHS”) is an additional charge must be paid alongside the application fee for any application to enter or remain in the UK for longer than 6 months.
People who are not “ordinarily resident” in the UK normally have to pay for secondary NHS care, in advance and at 150% of the normal charging rate.
A person who has paid the IHS can receive secondary NHS healthcare without having to pay extra for it.
Who pays it?
The vast majority of migrants in the UK, including students, workers and family members, have to pay the IHS.
EEA nationals and their family members do not currently have to pay the IHS, either when they apply for residence documents under the old free movement rules, or when they use the EU Settlement Scheme. However, “new” EEA migrants arriving from 1 January 2021 will have to pay the IHS.
How much is it?
The IHS is currently charged at a rate of £400 per year (or £200 per year for students). A person applying for 2.5 years of leave to remain (most partners of British citizens, for example) must pay £1,000.00 for their IHS. A work visa applicant with three dependant family members applying for a 3-year visa under the Points-Based System must pay £4,800.00.
The IHS is due to increase to £624 per year this October. A 2.5 year application made after this date will require a payment of £1,560.00. A family of four applying for a 3-year visa will have to pay £7,488.00.
Can you get private health insurance instead?
There is no way to opt out of paying the IHS, even if you want to use private medical providers or get insurance for any healthcare costs. If your visa or leave to remain application is in a category that requires payment of the IHS, you cannot complete your application without paying it.
This is a very basic explanation of how the Immigration Health Surcharge works. There may be exemptions that apply in a particular case: please contact me if you have any questions about whether you have to pay the IHS, or if you are eligible for free NHS care without paying it.
20 May 2020