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UK Immigration: New NHS Health Surcharge for Migrants From April 2015

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With the recent introduction of the Immigration Act 2014 the Secretary of State is given even further power to restrict access to healthcare to migrants by requiring non-EEA migrants seeking leave to enter, leave to remain or entry clearance to pay a compulsory upfront Immigration healthcare charge. The healthcare fees will be introduced under Regulation 10 of The National Health Service (Charges to Overseas Visitors) Regulations 2015 to come into force from 6 April 2015. Who has to pay the new Immigration Healthcare surcharge? The new charges will not be applied retrospectively and will only apply to new applications. It will be paid by non-EEA nationals who apply to come to the UK on a work visa, study visa, or a family visa for a period of more than 6 months. The visas also effected are Tier 1, Tier 2 (excluding Intra-Company Transfers), and Tier 4 or Tier 5 visas for more than 6 months duration. Who is excluded from the charges? The UK has reciprocal healthcare agreements with Australia and New Zealand, meaning migrants from those countries are entitled to some treatment free of charge on the NHS as this is reciprocated when UK nationals visit Australian and New Zealand. Therefore nationals of those countries do not have to pay the surcharge and when making the application they will be informed their payment is nil. Those applying for a visa as Tier 2 skilled workers under the Intra-company transfer route will also be excluded and informed that they will pay nil towards their healthcare, however they will still be required to complete the healthcare surcharge section of the visa application. The following visa applicants will also be excluded from paying a surcharge: Visitor visa applicants granted permission to stay in the UK for 6 months or less; Applicants submitting an Asylum, humanitarian protection claim or those claiming under Article 3 of the ECHR; Minors under 18 who have been taken into local authority care; Applications under the Domestic Violence concession; Victims of Human Trafficking; Dependants of a member of the HM Forces or a dependant of a member of another countries Forces who is at the same time exempt from Immigration control; Applications under EEA Law, such as EEA Residence, Settlement , retained or derivative rights, and/or under other EU obligations such as EU Association Agreements; and a resident of the Falkland Islands who is British Overseas Citizens. How much will it cost? The charge that has been proposed is £200 per annum per applicant and a lower fee of £150 to international student. Dependants will also be charged. The total that must be paid upfront is dependent on the duration of the visa being applied for. The total amount to be paid is calculated depending on the length of the visa being applied for. If the application for entry clearance or leave to remain includes part of a year, then the part that is for up to six months will incur half of the annual amount, and for a visa that includes part of a year that is more than six months the total annual amount is payable. As an example, applicant seeking entry clearance to the UK as a spouse of a British National who is entering the UK with their dependent child for five years will be expected to pay NHS surcharges amounting to £2000. This is exclusive of the visa application cost and does not include the additional amount required to be shown in an applicant/sponsor’s bank accounts as showing their ability to financially maintenance themselves in the UK. The NHS surcharge and the visa application fee will be required in full with all visa applications. Unfortunately there is no opt-out and applicants are required to pay even if they arrange their own health insurance. Most recently there has been talk of the charges increasing to £600, however the rate will be confirmed in the Statutory 2015 regulations expected to come into force this month. What if payment has not been made or payment is cancelled? If an application is made without the surcharge having been paid Secretary of State is required to request payment be made within 7 working days if it has not been made with the visa application initially. The Secretary of State can refuse the application if payment is not received after 7 working days of the request. If payment is cancelled the applicant’s leave to enter can be revoked and leave to remain can be cancelled. If you are planning on travelling to the UK for longer than 6 months or if you submitting an application for further leave to remain in the UK we can provide you with comprehensive advice on how the government’s plans affect you. Contact our team of highly professional and experienced Immigration solicitors on 0207 203 8483 and they will provide you a detailed review and assessment of your case.

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