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UNITED KINGDOM – Immigration Health Surcharge to be Extended to Australians and New Zealanders

The Home Office have announced that the Immigration Health Surcharge will be extended to Australia and New Zealand nationals coming to the United Kingdom as well as those already in the UK looking to extend their stay.

The announced change is currently in draft but is likely to be implemented from 6 April 2016 subject to parliamentary approval.

What is the Immigration Health Surcharge?

The Immigration Health Surcharge was initially introduced in April 2015 to all non-EEA nationals applying to come to the UK to work, study or join family members for ‘’’more than six months’’’, but exempted Australian and New Zealand nationals due to reciprocal healthcare agreements with the respective Australian and New Zealand and the UK Government.

The surcharge is set at £200 per year, with dependents 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, which will align the cost with the amount paid by students.

Migrants applying for a UK visa of six months or less are exempt from paying the surcharge. Those applying to come to the UK on a Visitor visa are also exempt, although non-EEA visitors who access NHS services are charged 150% of the cost of their treatment.

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 three years, they will be required to pay the charge in full for the three year period at the point of application for their visa. As an example, a worker coming to UK for three 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).

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.

Action Items

  • If this change comes onto effect, employers should ensure that all nationals of New Zealand and Australia employed to work in the UK for six months or more pay the immigration health surcharge before submitting their immigration applications.

The information in this alert was provided by Dearson Winyard, Newland Chase and Definitive.

DISCLAIMER: The information contained in this immigration alert has been abridged from laws, court decisions, and administrative rulings and should not be construed or relied upon as legal advice. If you have specific questions regarding the applicability of this information, please contact Peregrine © 2017 Peregrine Immigration Management Ltd.