United Kingdom – Health Surcharge Extended to Australian and New Zealand Nationals

What has changed

In April 2015, the Home Office introduced a mandatory Immigration Health Surcharge (IHS) to most non-EEA work and study visa applicants and their family members entering the UK or extending their stay for more than six (6) months.

Effective from April 6, 2016, the IHS will be extended to nationals of Australia and New Zealand who are applying to enter or remain in the UK for longer than six (6) months.To date, nationals of Australia and New Zealand have been exempt from the IHS due to reciprocal national health care arrangements.

Who is affected?
What to expect

  • All employers sponsoring migrants from Australia and New Zealand.

Immigration Minister, James Brokenshire has said after only six (6), months, the IHS has collected more than £100 million to contribute to the NHS for the benefit of all UK residents. In addition he has said that:

“We believe it is only fair that Australian and New Zealand nationals, who have previously benefited from a one year exemption from the immigration health surcharge, will now contribute to our health service in the same way as other non-EEA nationals.”

The change to the IHS will be applied to visa and extension applications for which payment is made on or after April 6, 2016. Companies sponsoring non-EEA foreign nationals should budget for the new levies and note that the full amount for the entire period of stay must be paid upfront at the application stage. The IHS will not lengthen processing times as applicants must pay the full amount before their visa or extension applications will be processed. However, any error in the payment will slow down processing.

It is worth noting that those aged between eighteen (18) and thirty (30), applying to come to the UK on the Tier 5 Youth Mobility Scheme will benefit from a discounted rate of £150 per person per year, a reduction of £50, which will align the cost with the amount paid by students.

What you need to do
Planning ahead

  • The IHS is payable in full at the time of the immigration application. If the application is made in person at one of the Premium Service Centres (UK only) the surcharge must be paid prior to the appointment. Emigra will ensure the correct surcharge is paid in advance of the application or appointment so as to avoid any delays.
  • Contact your Emigra Worldwide attorney or representative for further details on how these updates may impact you or your client.

The information above was provided by Emigra Worldwide, our global network partners, and relevant government authorities. The information herein is for general purposes only and not intended as advice for a particular matter. If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact the global immigration professional with whom you work.