UK visa: Indians to be charged double for health
The health surcharge, introduced in 2015, is £200 per person per year, and it will rise to £400, in line with one of the manifesto promises of the Conservative Party.world Updated: Feb 05, 2018 21:56 IST
The health surcharge that Indian professionals, students and others have to pay while applying for a UK visa for six months or more will double from later this year, raising the overall cost of the travel document.
The current health surcharge, introduced in 2015, is £200 per person per year, and it will rise to £400. The discounted rate of £150 for students will go up to £300 per year, the department of health and social care announced on Monday.
Doubling the surcharge was one of the manifesto promises of the Conservative Party before the 2017 general election. It also mentioned doubling the Immigration Skills Charge of £1,000 per migrant worker per year in the Tier 2 visa categories, including the intra-company transfer visa popular with Indian IT companies, by the end of the current parliament.
The department said doubling the health surcharge is intended to better reflect the actual costs to the National Health Service (NHS) of treating those who pay the surcharge. It estimates that an extra £220 million will be raised every year through the new surcharge.
Health minister James O'Shaughnessy said: "Our NHS is always there when you need it, paid for by British taxpayers. We welcome long-term migrants using the NHS, but it is only right that they make a fair contribution to its long-term sustainability.”
Immigration minister Caroline Nokes said: “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.”
Migrants with indefinite leave to remain are exempt from the surcharge. The department said urgent and emergency care is always available regardless of immigration status and will never be delayed for charging or eligibility checking purposes.