From 27 October the Home Office will increase the already significant Immigration Health Surcharge by a further 64%.
The Immigration Health Surcharge (IHS) was originally introduced in 2015 at a rate of £200 per year of visa grant per applicant (primary applicant and every dependant). This was doubled in January 2019 to £400 per year of visa grant and from 27 October 2020 (21 days after the amendment to the rules being made) this will be increased yet again to £624 per year of visa grant (£470 for children under 18, students and student dependants).
For a migrant with a spouse and a child applying for the standard Tier 2 General visa this will represent an increase from £3,600 to £5,154 to the NHS, on top of the tax and National Insurance contributions, plus the visa application fees.
Ministers have justified making those who already pay tax and National insurance pay a further large contribution to the NHS by saying that migrants will have contributed to the NHS for less time than British Citizens. This is a fairly recent justification, where previously ministers have argued that migrants, who already pay tax and National Insurance, should make a ‘fair’ contribution. Ministers also argued that the charge was set at approximately the cost incurred by the NHS in treating migrants.
In 2017 the Office for National Statistics reported that the UK spent £2,989 per person on healthcare. If migrants cost the NHS around £624 per year, as argued by Ministers, then they would seem to be utilising it less than British and EU Citizens and are therefore paying more to the NHS than British and EU Citizens but using it less.
Those who wish to remain in the UK, either for work or with family, are faced with no choice but to find the money and pay the surcharge.