The NHS could claim back £220m of funding by doubling the immigration health surcharge
Plans to double the immigration health surcharge (IHS) have been put before parliament, as the increase could lead to the NHS receiving £220m in additional funding.
The IHS allows anyone in the UK on a work, study or family visa for longer than 6 months to access NHS services in the same way as UK citizens.
If the plans go ahead, the surcharge will rise from £200 to £400 per year for non-EU nationals.
Since its inception in 2015, the surcharge has raised over £600m which has been reinvested in health budgets across the UK.
Immigration minister, Caroline Nokes, said:
“Our NHS is always there when you need it, paid for by British taxpayers. We welcome long-term migrants using the NHS, but the NHS is a national, not international health service and we believe it is right that they make a fair contribution to its long-term sustainability.
“I am pleased that we are a step closer to implementing the changes to the health surcharge, and the extra money raised will go directly towards sustaining and protecting our world-class healthcare system.
“It is only fair that people who come to the UK make a contribution to the running of the NHS, and even with the increase we still continue to offer a good deal on healthcare for those seeking to live in the UK temporarily.”
It is estimated that the NHS spends £470 on average per person per year on treating those required to pay the surcharge, so the new price would be a more accurate reflection of the actual cost.
These changes do not affect permanent residents, who are not required to pay the surcharge.