The Immigration Health Surcharge (IHS) is payable by non-EEA nationals coming to the UK to work, study or join family for six months or longer. Since it was introduced in 2015, it has raised over £600m which has been invested back into the UK health budgets.
On 11 October 2018 the government laid before parliament the Immigration (Health Charge) (Amendment) Order 2018, which seeks to double the IHS. This would see the IHS increase from £200 to £400 per year for non-EU nationals. The discounted rate, available to students and those on the Tier 5 Youth Mobility Scheme, will increase from £150 to £300. The Home Office estimates that the NHS could receive an additional £220m in extra funding as a result of the increase.
The Department of Health and Social Care estimates that the NHS spends £470 per person per year on treating those required to pay the surcharge, so while doubling the surcharge may seem excessive, it will better reflect the cost to the NHS of treating those people.
Whilst the IHS does not currently apply to EU nationals, it has been suggested that when a new immigration system is introduced post-Brexit, it should be paid by new arrivals to the UK.
We expect the increase will come into effect in December 2018.