The IHS (Immigration Health Surcharge) fee is a widely debated topic among both legal practitioners and clients. The rationale behind IHS is to allow access to the NHS and cover medical fees for applicants. The fee must be paid in order to submit a valid immigration application. If an applicant fails to make payment of the IHS fee then an application will be rejected/refused.
Applicants who are non-EEA nationals and are making an application to enter/remain in the UK for more than six months are required to pay the IHS fee. Applicants who are making an application for settlement/ indefinite leave to remain are not required to make payment of the IHS fee. Further information in relation to applicants who are exempt from making payment can be found here.
Applicants can make payment of the IHS here.
This is a controversial topic, as many argue that non-British nationals should be required to make payment of medical care. For example, Health Minister James O’Shaughnessy advised the following:
“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… By increasing the surcharge so that it better reflects the actual costs of using health services, this government is providing an extra £220 million a year to support the NHS.”
However, several individuals strongly believe that IHS is an unfair charge for applicants, as many are legally employed and make payment of National Insurance contributions and income tax. However, they do not benefit from a discounted National Insurance fee. Therefore, being required to make a full payment towards medical fees twice.
Currently, most applicants and dependents are required to pay £200 per year. However, earlier in October 2018, the Home Office confirmed that the IHS fee will double in December 2018, which raised anxiety amongst applicants.
The amount required to pay will depend on how much leave is granted and you can calculate your IHS payable.
The fee will increase to £400 per year for most applications. Students and applicants making an application under the Youth Mobility Scheme will receive a discount of £300 per year. For completeness, this information is evidenced in the draft legislation.
The immigration department at Drummond Miller LLP are highly experienced immigration specialists. Should you require assistance in relation to any immigration matter, please contact our head of department, David Brown.