The Govt. of UK is all set to hike the Immigration Health Surcharge (IHS) this December. This will increase the overall cost of a UK Visa for Indians and non-EU immigrants.
The IHS is payable when professionals, students, and family members apply for a UK Visa. Currently, the surcharge payable is £200 which will be increased to £400. Applicants on a youth mobility scheme and students would be eligible to pay a discounted rate of £300.
Introduced in 2015, the IHS allows access to the National Health Service for immigrants throughout their stay in the UK. As per The Guardian, the IHS has raised more than £600 million from Non-EU and Indian immigrants with a UK Visa valid for more than 6 months.
Immigrants who have obtained the Permanent Residency of UK are exempted from paying the health surcharge.
Caroline Nokes, Immigration Minister of UK, says that the NHS is a national and not an international health service. Hence, it is fair that immigrants should contribute towards its sustainability in the long-run. She says that the UK will offer a good deal on health care for immigrants wishing to live in the UK temporarily.
The NHS is estimated to spend around £470 per person annually on an average. This is spent on treating immigrants required to pay the IHS. Hence Govt. Officials believe that the hike will help meet the yearly expenditure of the NHS.
Migrants who are on a short-term visa to the UK are charged by NHS for secondary care medical treatment at the point of access.
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