UK Announces Double Health Surcharge For Long-Term Visitors From Non-EU Nations

| February 6 , 2018 , 13:02 IST

In a bid to raise additional funds for the state-funded medical healthcare provider National Health Service (NHS), the UK government has announced plans to double the "health surcharge" paid by long-term visitors from non-European Union countries staying in the country for longer than 6 months.

The surcharge was introduced in April 2015 with a cost of 200 pounds (Rs 17,962) per annum, and a discounted rate of 150 pounds (Rs 13,471) for students. The cost of the health surcharge will now be 400 pounds (Rs 35,925) per year for general category and 300 pounds (Rs 26,943) for students.  

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The health surcharge is applicable to all visitors from outside the European Union interested in living in the UK for 6 months or more to work, study or be with family members. The new charges are expected to be put in place from later this year to raise additional funds for the NHS, which has been struggling with funding.

"It is only right that people who come to the UK should contribute to the running of the NHS. The surcharge offers access to health care services that are far more comprehensive and at a much lower cost than many other countries," said UK Immigration Minister Caroline Nokes.

"The income generated goes directly to the NHS services, helping to protect and sustain our world-class healthcare system for everyone who uses it," she said.

The health surcharge costs would have to be paid at the time of the immigration application and would continue till the person is granted indefinite leave to remain in the UK or leaves for his or her own country.