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Immigration Health Surcharge

The Home Office is seeking to amend the way in which the Immigration Health Surcharge operates.

The Previous Order

Currently, when an individual applies for leave to enter or remain in the UK, they have to pay a sum which will serve to cover any use of the NHS or any other state provided health costs whilst they reside in the UK. This provision was introduced by the Immigration (Health Charge) Order 2015 (SI 2015/792).

However, concerns have been raised over the last few months as to the way this operates. It has been emphasised that it is important to make sure that to ensure that individuals are treated equally with respect to the Charge, and do not end up paying vastly different amounts for similar situations.

The New Order

Therefore, the Order is being amended by a new statutory instrument. If an individual requests leave and it is refused, currently the Home Secretary will generally refund the charge. However, in some cases this refusal may be overturned, either by the Home Secretary, a court or tribunal, and the individual be granted leave to remain. Under Article 2 of the new Order, if the fee has been refunded the Home Secretary may ask for the refunded payment to be returned to the government.

Furthermore, if the period of leave has been extended, the Home Secretary may require the individual to pay an additional fee. If this is not done, the Home Secretary’s will have the discretion to refuse leave.

Exemptions of the Charge

The Order will also alter the conditions concerning exemptions from the Immigrations Health charge. The main changes are:

  1. Applicants who have leave to remain under Appendix V of the Immigration Rules (the visitor rules) will be exempted from the Charge. This will make little practical difference as they will not have access to the NHS withstanding.
  2. the exemption for applicants who have entry clearance or leave to remain as a Tier 2 Intra-company Transfer Migrant will be removed.
  3. The exemption will also be extended to individuals who are identified as a victim of slavery.

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