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The Immigration Health Surcharge (IHS) is payable by all non-EU nationals (not just nurses) coming to the UK to work, study or on a family visa for longer than 6 months to enable them to access NHS services in the same way as UK citizens.
The House of Commons has voted twice in the last month to move ahead with the increase in the surcharge. The committee considering this voted to allow the increase in fees and during a subsequent vote of the whole House, the measures were approved. If you would like to read the contributions to the earlier debate, it is possible to do so here - https://hansard.parliament.uk/Commons/2018-11-13/debates/01b84bae-9729-400a-8f81-c54109844670/DraftImmigration(HealthCharge)(Amendment)Order2018
The IHS provides an important means of ensuring that people coming to the UK make an appropriate financial contribution to the NHS while living in the UK with a time-limited immigration status. It is collected by the Home Office as part of the visa and immigration application process and the proceeds are distributed to the NHS in all parts of the UK to support our health services.
Those paying the IHS are then exempt from NHS overseas visitor charges for treatment they receive in the UK, and enjoy broadly the same access to the NHS as UK nationals. Those with indefinite leave to remain and vulnerable groups, including asylum seekers and refugees, are exempt from the IHS.
After a review of the evidence regarding the average cost to the NHS of treating IHS payers, the annual surcharge will now cost £400 per annum, with a discounted rate of £300 pa for students (and their dependants) and Youth Mobility Scheme applicants.
The Department of Health and Social Care estimates that the average annual cost of NHS usage by those paying the IHS is £470, so the proposed amount is still below full average cost recovery level.