The Immigration Health Surcharge will be extended to Australian and New Zealand nationals, it has been announced today (Thursday 4 February).
From 6 April, Australians or New Zealanders who are planning to spend more than six months in the UK, or who are applying from within the UK to extend their stay, will be required to pay a £200 per annum surcharge as part of their application.
In April 2015 the UK Government introduced an Immigration Health Surcharge to all non-EEA nationals, which at the time exempted Australian and New Zealand nationals.
After only six months it had collected more than £100 million to contribute to the NHS for the benefit of us all.
Immigration Minister, James Brokenshire said:
The health surcharge is already playing a vital role in ensuring Britain’s public service is provided on a basis that is fair to all who use it.
We believe it is only fair that Australian and New Zealand nationals, who have previously benefited from a one year exemption from the immigration health surcharge, will now contribute to our health service in the same way as other non-EEA nationals.
By keeping the surcharge at a competitive level, we are also recognising the contribution temporary migrants make to the wider economy.
The £200 surcharge fee is designed to help ensure the National Health Service (NHS) remains sustainable and receives a fair contribution to the cost of healthcare from temporary migrants.
Health surcharge payers receive NHS care generally free of charge but are charged for services a permanent resident would also pay for, such as dental treatment and prescription charges in England.
The surcharge does not apply to any non-EEA national coming to the UK for six months or less, or to those who apply for a visitor visa, who continue to be fully liable for the cost of any NHS treatment at the point they receive it.
However, due to reciprocal healthcare agreements with both countries, residents of Australia, and citizens of New Zealand who visit the UK will not be charged for treatment that cannot wait until they return home.
Those, aged between 18 and 30, applying to come to the UK on the Youth Mobility Scheme will benefit from a discounted rate of £150 per person per year, a reduction of £50, which will align the cost with the amount paid by students.
The changes were introduced today as a draft order and will come into force from 6 April subject to Parliamentary approval.
Further guidance on the surcharge is available here.