Following parliamentary approval in December 2018, the Immigration Health Surcharge will be doubled, effective 8 January 2019.
The surcharge will rise from £200 to £400 per year, with the discounted rate for students and those on the Youth Mobility Scheme increasing from £150 to £300. Migrants who make an application on or after 8 January 2019 will pay the new surcharge rate.
The Immigration Health Surcharge is paid by people from outside the European Economic Area (EEA) who are seeking to live in the UK for more than 6 months to work, study or join family. It gives migrants access to the comprehensive range of NHS services without further charge, subject to a few exceptions such as prescription charges in England.
The surcharge levels remain competitive compared with health insurance requirements in comparable countries. For overseas students, the surcharge represents about 1% of the total cost of studying in the UK for a 3 year undergraduate course.
The new surcharge rate is intended to better reflect the costs to the NHS of treating those who pay it. The Department of Health and Social Care estimates that the NHS in England spends on average around £470 per surcharge payer every year. Their projections suggest that the increased charges may provide around an extra £220 million per year, with this money going straight back to NHS services.