Zimbabweans can expect a big increase in their UK visa fees

The UK government recently announced a proposed increase to the Immigration Health Surcharge fee.

Introduced in 2015, the Immigration Health Surcharge (IHS) allows non-EU nationals who have moved to the UK for longer than six months on a work, study or family visa access to its National Health Service (NHS).

This means that thousands of non-EU nationals who are currently living, working and studying in the UK, says Sable International’s John Dunn.

“This is the first time that the price of the surcharge has changed since its inception. While the proposed increase is still subject to parliamentary approval, non-EU nationals will see the fee double from £200 to £400 per year.

“Students and those on the Tier 5 visa will pay a discounted rate of £300 per year. The increase is expected to come into effect in December this year,” said Dunn.

Who is affected?

Dunn said that all citizens from outside the European Economic Area planning to live in the UK for more than six months are required to pay the IHS.

“You are still required to pay even if you have private medical assistance,” Dunn said.

“Once you have been granted indefinite leave to remain in the UK, you will no longer have to pay the surcharge.”

Reasons for increase

While non-EU nationals pay a fee for access to the NHS, the UK’s healthcare system is still paid for by British taxpayers, said Dunn.

“The Department of Health and Social Care revealed that the NHS spends £470 on average per person per year on treating those who pay the surcharge,” he said.

“Therefore, the new price increase seeks to better reflect the cost to the NHS for treating those who pay for access.”

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