The Immigration Health Surcharge (IHS) is a payment made by long-term migrants who seek to live in the UK for more than 6 months, in order to work, study or join family. The surcharge is paid in order for these migrants to receive NHS care on the same basis as UK residents for the duration of their lawful stay.
Introduced in 2015, the IHS has raised over £600m. The IHS fee is currently set at £200 per year for most temporary migrant categories and £150 per year for students and those applying through the youth mobility category.
The review found that the average annual cost of NHS usage by those paying the IHS is around £470. Doubling the IHS could generate an additional £220m a year for the NHS.
It was announced in February that the UK Government intended to double the IHS fee, following a review by the Department of Health and Social Care regarding the average cost to the NHS of treating IHS payers. Therefore, the surcharge will rise from £200 to £400 per year, with the discount for students/youth mobility rising from £150 to £300, effective from 08 January 2019.
The doubled amount of the IHS is still below full average cost recovery level and remains a good deal for those seeking to live in the UK temporarily. These changes do not affect permanent residents. There are certain vulnerable groups who are exempt from paying the IHS, such as asylum seekers and modern slavery victims. Short-term migrants (including those in the UK on visitor visas) and those without permission to be in the UK are generally charged for secondary care treatment by the NHS at the point of access.
More information can be found here: https://www.parliament.uk/business/publications/written-questions-answers-statements/written-statement/Commons/2018-10-11/HCWS995/