The NHS is a British institution and one that we are very proud of. It provides free healthcare for all British citizens and those living and working legally in the UK – if they pay the NHS Immigration Surcharge. For several years, the charge was set at £200 which entitled non-British citizens to free healthcare the same as a British national. However, with the NHS under ever-increasing strain, it was decided that this fee needed to be to be doubled to £400. This was tabled in The Immigration (Health Charge) (Amendment) Order 2018.
Stop to Delays
The doubling of the Immigration Health Surcharge (IHS) fee was expected to come into force in April 2018, however, the government delayed the increase due to protests relating to proposed increases in the number of migrants entering the UK. Although it has been widely anticipated that this would happen it has been met with a mixed response. Some feel that the rise is justified for such an excellent service whilst others feel that doubling the fee was a step too far.
What is the Reason for the Increase?
The short answer is that the government didn’t feel like migrants were paying enough into the NHS compared to what they were taking out in the form of treatment. An unnamed minister was quoted as saying:
“The changes better reflect the cost to the NHS of treating those who pay the surcharge, as the DHSC estimates that the NHS spends £470 on average per person per year on treating those required to pay the surcharge.”
A lot of the controversy seems to be based around the fact that immigrants are still paying National Insurance, the same as any UK national pays but in addition, they are expected to pay the HIS.
Are There Any Exemptions?
There has been no change to the fact that vulnerable groups such as asylum seekers, domestic and modern slavery victims and also to persons such as dependants of a member of the UK’s armed forces.
The Immigration Health Surcharge will not apply to:
- EEA nationals and family members of a European national from within the EU
- Any person who is applying for Indefinite Leave to Remain
- Those on visas such as the UK Tourist Visa that are valid for 6 months or less
What Action You Should Take?
In Thailand, the people most likely to be affected by this are those Thai wives who are living in the UK on a UK Spouse Visa. Although the increase may be seen as insignificant to many, to others it will hit them hard so seeking the correct advice regarding your application is essential.
If you are unsure about the application for either immigration surcharge or applying for a UK Spouse visa we recommend using a professional company. As the only OISC accredited company in Thailand, Thai Visa Express are in a perfect position to assist you with all your visa requirements. So, if you would like more information, call us on: +66 (0)80 102 2328, +66 (0) 38 420 313 or +44 (0) 20 8133 8059, email us on: email@example.com or alternatively contact us via our website.