UPDATE: The IHS fee will increase to £624 starting from October 2020.
The UK government has announced that the Immigration Health Surcharge (IHS) will increase from £200 to £400 a year following their initial announcement of their preliminary plans to increase the charges earlier this year. The IHS increase has now come into effect for applications made after 8th January 2019.
Immigration Health Surcharge or IHS is the UK’s healthcare charge that non-EEA migrants need to pay to use the UK’s National Health Service (NHS). The charges, paid as part of the immigration application process, apply to all nationals from outside the European Economic Area and Switzerland (EEA) coming to the U.K. for longer than six months to work, study, or join their family in the UK.
IHS was introduced by the UK government in April 2015 urging migrants to make a fair contribution towards the costs of NHS. Initially, migrants outside of the EEA applying for more than six months of UK stay had to pay additional fees of £200 per year along with their application.
The initial plan to double the IHS was revealed in a publication from the department of health and social care back in February 2018. The original report, outlining the plans, mentioned that the surcharge will increase from £200 to £400 per year with changes coming towards the end of the year.
Tier 4 Students and migrants under the Tier 5 Youth Mobility Scheme that had a slightly discounted rate of £150 per year will also see an increase in their charges to £300 per year.
Although the exact date for the change hasn’t been specified yet, a recent news story from Home Office mentions that the increase is set to come into effect in December 2018 subject to Parliamentary approval.
It’s estimated that the increase in IHS will increase the NHS funding with additional £220 million a year. According to the department’s estimates, the NHS spends around £470 a year on average per IHS paying migrant.
The UK government report also includes additional quotes from the UK Immigration and Health ministers justifying the IHS increase and their views on how it can prove beneficial for the NHS services.
James O’Shaughnessy, the Health Minister has been quoted in the publication saying “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.”
The annual NHS charges hike has been criticised across several media publications arguing how it doesn’t solve the real problem to suggesting why it can be actually bad for the NHS.
Those applying for visitor visas or indefinite leave to remain (ILR) are exempted from paying the immigration health surcharge.
Latest Update: The IHS increase was approved in the Commons on 21 November 2018 and in the Lords on 28 November 2018. This means that it will come into force on a date of the Government’s choosing on or after 19 December 2018 (source: ILPA Newsletter – 30 November 2018).
Update 8th January 2019: This article was updated to reflect the Immigration Health Surcharge – IHS increase has come into effect for applications made after 8 January 2019.
The Home Office Communications sent an official notification regarding the increase in the Immigration Health Surcharge.
We just wanted to remind you that as of today (8 January) the surcharge will rise from £200 to £400 per year or £150 to £300 per year for students and those on the Youth Mobility Scheme. – UKVI
If you have any queries related to IHS or your UK immigration application, feel free to contact our experienced Immigration lawyers based in London.