Everything You Need To Know About The UK Immigration Health Surcharge banner


Everything You Need To Know About The UK Immigration Health Surcharge

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According to the latest National Audit Office (NAO) report, the government’s ambition of recovering up to £500 million a year by 2017/18 from overseas visitors who are not entitled to free NHS hospital treatment will be missed under the current charging rules. In 2015/16, £289 million was charged by trusts for treating overseas visitors, with £164 million of this being sourced from the new Immigration Health Surcharge for students and temporary migrants from outside the European Economic Area (EEA). Overall, the NAO found significant variation in the amount of overseas visitor income that trusts identify.

Overall, the NAO found the Department of Health’s management of the cost recovery programme demonstrates many elements of good practice. It has also taken action to help trusts identify chargeable patients more easily and to secure the engagement of NHS staff.

The Health Surcharge can take those applying for a visa to enter into the UK by surprise. This is why it is always a good idea to obtain legal advice from the best Immigration solicitor available when making a visa application, to ensure you do not get caught by surprise by the extra charges which may be applicable to your visa category.

To provide a quick guidance to the UK Immigration Health Surcharge, here are the best answers to the most frequently asked questions that our Immigration solicitors receive from our clients.

What is the Health Surcharge?

Introduced on 6th April 2015, the Health Surcharge applies to all non-EEA nationals coming to live in the UK for longer than six months. Prior to April 2015, all non-European nationals coming to work, study or join family members received free medical treatment under the UK’s NHS in the same way as a permanent resident.

How much is the Health Surcharge?

Those on a Tier 4 (Student) Visa will have to pay £150 per year (i.e. £600 for a four year course). All other visa categories will incur a £200 per year charge.

If you are coming to the UK for under six months, you must pay half of the charge.

When does payment have to be made?

If you are applying online or through a premium service centre, you will pay for the Health Surcharge at the same time as you make your application.

If you make your application by post, you will need to make the payment online and provide the reference number relating to your payment on the paper application form.

Can I refuse to pay the Health Surcharge?

If you refuse to pay the charge, then UK Visas and Immigration will not be able to grant you a UK visa. If the correct amount is not payed, then your visa application could be delayed. This may have serious consequences for those applying for a Tier 2 (General) Visa or Tier 4 (Student) Visa as they may have to enter the country by a specified date to commence work or study.

By engaging an experienced Immigration lawyer, you can be confident that you will receive the best advice regarding the correct charges for all UK visa applications.

Do I have to pay the Health Surcharge for any dependents coming to join me in the UK?

Yes, your dependents must pay the surcharge.

Is it true that I have to make the full payment for the Immigration Health Surcharge upfront?

Yes, and this can lead to a considerable cost. For example, if you are a Tier 2 (General) applicant, applying for the maximum permitted time of five years, then you would need to pay £1000 upfront at the time of making your application. If you also have a spouse dependant and three children applying at the same time, then the total cost you would need to pay upfront for your family would be £5000. This amount is in addition to the Home Office fees for the application.

Do Asylum seekers and their families have to pay the Health Surcharge?

Those who are applying for Asylum or refugee status do not have to pay the Immigration Health Surcharge and neither do their dependents.

In Summary

The UK Immigration Health Surcharge is often overlooked as a significant cost to entering Britain on a points-based system (PBS) visa. For this reason, along with many others, it is imperative to obtain the advice of an experienced Immigration lawyer who can provide you with the best legal advice when it comes to making your visa application.

OTS Solicitors is one of the most respected immigration law firms in London. Our non-business law immigration team comprises of Smit Kumar, Hans Sok Appadu and Maryem Ahmed and our business immigration solicitors are Teni Shahiean, Nagesh, Jain, Oshin Shahiean and Dr Lusine Navasardyan. They would all be happy to help with any questions you have regarding the UK immigration Health Surcharge.

By making an appointment with one of our Immigration solicitors, you can be assured of receiving some of the best legal advice available in the UK today.

If you wish to discuss any of the points raised in this blog, please phone our London office on 0203 959 9123.

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