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Healthcare Charges for Migrants

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Numerous changes, which affect migrants (and non-migrants), continue to be introduced by the Immigration Act 2014, which sets a precedent for contribrutions to medical care.

NHS Health Surcharges

Recently, implementation of some of these changes have begun, including the introduction of NHS health surcharges.The Act provides that migrants who do not have indefinite leave to remain in the UK , and wish to stay in the UK for a period greater than six months must make a financial contribution to the NHS. This contribution must be made regardless of whether or not they will or already make National Insurance contributions. The provision will not apply retrospectively, however it will apply to migrants already in the UK if they make future UK immigration applications.

On 14 July 2014 Department of Health published an implementation plan for the NHS. This plan outlines a two-year timeline for the NHS to improve systems to recover the cost of healthcare for migrants and visitors who use the NHS. This 'health surcharge', which would be collected as part of the visa and immigration application process, would be £150 per year for students and £200 for other non-EEA migrants.There will be limited exemptions,for example for those seeking asylum, refugees, and victims of human trafficking.

Furthermore, the health surcharge will be charged irrespective of planned or actual NHS use. In addition to the health surcharges, there is also a plan to charge migrants for some healthcare services. These proposed services include aspects of primary care, such as dental, optical, and pharmaceutical services.

Presently, however, initial GP and nurse consultations, as well as treatment for specified infectious diseases, will not be chargeable. In addition, the Government has proposed charging migrants for Accident & Emergency services. However, the Government has made clear that urgent care in Accident and Emergency units will not be withheld where a person is unable to pay the charges. The Government’s plan will be implemented in phases and the health surcharge could be imposed in visa applications from autumn 2014.

Contact Merchiston Solicitors Immigration Lawyers

Call 0203 5406340 to speak to one of our expert private immigration solicitors. Alternatively, complete our online enquiry form for a consultation.

Javed is the Managing Director of Merchiston Solicitors Ltd. He is a seasoned lawyer with both private and public practice experience, specialising in a broad range of areas of law. Javed is a qualified international commercial arbitrator and is a member of the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators (CiARB). He appears before tribunals in international arbitrations abroad, and under a variety of laws and institutional rules (including ICC, UNCITRAL, and ICSID).

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