UK: Immigration Health Surcharge to be Extended to Australians and New Zealanders

February 12, 2016

The Home Office have announced that the “Immigration Health Surcharge” will be extended to Australian and New Zealand nationals coming to the UK as well as those already in the UK looking to extend their stay. The announced change is currently in draft but is being considered to come into effect from 6th April 2016 subject to parliamentary approval.

The Immigration Health Surcharge was initially introduced in April 2015 to all non-EEA nationals, but exempted Australian and New Zealand nationals due to reciprocal healthcare agreements with the respective Australian and New Zealand and the UK Government.

New Zealand Prime Minister John Key has reportedly suggested that the New Zealand Government is not at this stage planning to introduce a reciprocal change for British Nationals resident in New Zealand. British nationals can still use free care in New Zealand, an entitlement bound by the Health Benefits Act 1982.

The surcharge is set at £200 per year, with dependants paying the same amount as the main applicant. 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.

This surcharge is payable at the outset of the immigration application process. As the surcharge is calculated on a yearly basis, if a migrant applies for a grant of stay of 3 years, they will be required to pay the charge in full for the 3 year period at the point of application for their visa. As an example, a worker coming to UK for 3 years on a Tier 2 Visa would be required to pay £600 on top of their visa application fee.

If an application is refused or rejected, the applicant will be automatically refunded the surcharge (but not the visa application fee).

It is believed that during a period of six months the Immigration Health Surcharge will collect in excess of £100 million to contribute towards the NHS.

Please do not hesitate to contact [email protected] for further guidance on the Immigration Health Surcharge.