Earlier this year, the Government announced that the Immigration Health Surcharge (“IHS”) fee would be increasing for most applicants. The new law will come into force on 27 October 2020 and can be found here. The standard rate of the IHS fee will increase from £400 to £624 per annum.
The current Order increases the Immigration Health Surcharge fee by over 50% and presents a further financial burden on prospective migrants coming to the UK. The Home Office website provides an IHS fee calculator.
By way of example, the Immigration Health Surcharge fee for entry clearance as a spouse will increase from £1,200 to £1,560 for the 30 month relevant period. In accordance with the transitional provision of the Order, applicants will continue to pay the current lower IHS fee on any application made before 27 October 2020.
From 01 January 2021 the IHS will also apply to EEA nationals making entry clearance applications to remain in the UK for periods longer than 6 months (subject to ongoing negotiations with the EU).
The IHS is required to be paid even if you hold private medical insurance and do not intend to use the NHS. The IHS fee also applies to dependents on any application with a discounted rate for children. This can present a significant financial obstacle to migrants applying with their family members. For further information on the IHS, please visit our Immigration Health Surcharge (IHS) explained post.
IHS fee exemptions
The Immigration (Health Charge) (Amendment) Order 2020 provides an IHS exemption for migrants who work as qualified doctors, nurses and allied health professionals.
The discounted rate of the IHS fee will increase from £300 to £470 per annum. This applies to Students, Dependants of Students, Tier 5 (Youth Mobility Scheme) Temporary Migrants and applicants under the age of 18.
The Home Office sets out the full list of exemptions which can be found here.
Reimbursement of IHS fee for health and social care workers
If you are in the UK on a Health and Care visa Tier 2 you will be entitled to a full refund of the IHS to cover the period from 31 March 2020. If you paid the IHS after 31 March 2020 you should automatically receive this refund. If not you can claim reimbursement by contacting the Home Office by email to claim. Further details can be found on the government website here.
You will also be eligible to claim reimbursement of the IHS if you are not on a Tier 2 (General) visa but can demonstrate that you have worked for an average of at least 16 hours a week, for at least 6 months since 31 March 2020 , in an eligible health or care role as set out in Annex A of the Guidance which can be found here.
You will need to apply online every 6 months and will receive up to a maximum of £200 refund for the 6 months’ worth of IHS you have paid. This process is administered by the NHS Business Services Authority who will validate applications for UK Visas and Immigration to process repayments.