As of Tuesday, 8 January 2019, the Immigration Health Surcharge increased from £200 to £400 per year. This means that a company seeking to sponsor a migrant worker in the UK under a Tier 2 visa would need to pay £1200 to submit an application for a 3 year visa.
Last year, 11 October 2018, the Home Office petitioned the UK Parliament to double the current Immigration Health Surcharge which was introduced in 2015. The Immigration Health Surcharge (IHS) is a tax paid upon visa application by non-EEA migrants seeking to work, study, or live in the UK for more than 6 months. Migrants pay this for access to the NHS on the same basis as UK residents. Before the surcharge increase which took effect on 08 January 2019, the fee was at £200 per annum for most migrants, with a discounted £150 fee for students, and those under the youth mobility category. The new surcharge is now priced at £400 per annum (£300 for the discounted rate), double the former price.According to an article by the Economic Times, the increase better reflects NHS cost of treating those who pay the surcharge. The Department of Health and Social Care estimates that the NHS spends £470 on average per person, per year on treating those required to pay the surcharge.
However, nurses and healthcare workers are heavily criticizing this increase. In an article on Nursing Times, Gemma Mitchell quotes Tom Sanford, director of the Royal College of Nursing in England, called the increase “punitive” and “short-sighted”. As the NHS is heavily reliant on foreign workers , and is facing major shortages, many, this surcharge would be charging international nurses who already pay the appropriate taxes, money for the services they are offering in a country which isn’t their own.
Tom Sanford elaborates:
“Make no mistake: overseas staff keep the NHS running; the government should be thanking them, not doubling the price of admission.”
Many small business with sponsor licenses are also affected by this new surcharge, as employers are usually obliged to pay this, it would discourage companies to hire highly skilled migrants. In an article on Relocate Global, Adam Marshall, the director-general of the British Chambers of Commerce, says that “From Cornwall to Inverness, from Northern Ireland to Norfolk, employers are hugely concerned that the complexity and cost associated with new immigration rules will impact their ability to invest and grow at a time when many areas are facing near-full employment.”
As of now, the surcharge increase is in full effect.
If you are an employer and are seeking advice on getting a sponsor license, allocations for migrant workers, and the requirements and fees from the Home Office regarding this, we can help you! Contact us here!
*graphic made from statistics from Parliament website, House of Commons Library.
“Doubling this charge is not only a gross insult to nursing staff who come to work in London’s NHS but also an act of self-harm which could do real damage to the ability to recruit and retain overseas nursing staff.” - Jude Diggins, Regional Director of the Royal College of Nursing