The Immigration Healthcare Surcharge (IHS)

The Immigration Healthcare Surcharge (IHS)

The Immigration Healthcare Surcharge, also known as the “IHS,” is a fee that certain non-UK citizens are required to pay in order to access the National Health Service (NHS) while they are in the UK. The fee, which is currently £624 per year for most applicants, is intended to help offset the cost of providing healthcare to non-UK citizens.

The IHS was first introduced in 2015 as a way to reduce the burden on the NHS caused by non-UK citizens using the service without paying for it. The fee applies to a wide range of non-UK citizens, including students, workers, and those seeking to settle in the UK. However, there are a number of exemptions and reductions available for certain groups, such as asylum seekers, refugees, and children under the age of 18.

One of the main criticisms of the IHS is that it is prohibitively expensive for many non-UK citizens, particularly those on low incomes. This has led to concerns that the fee may discourage people from seeking necessary medical care and contribute to the overall health inequalities faced by non-UK citizens in the UK.

Another criticism of the IHS is that it is not always well understood by those who are required to pay for it. Many non-UK citizens are not aware that they have to pay the fee until they go to access the NHS, at which point they may be faced with unexpected costs.

Despite these criticisms, the government has defended the IHS as a necessary measure to help ensure the sustainability of the NHS. However, the government has also acknowledged that there are issues with the current system and announced a review of the IHS in 2020.

In conclusion, the IHS is a controversial policy that has attracted criticism for being too expensive and not well-understood by non-UK citizens. While the government argues that the fee is necessary to help sustain the NHS, there are concerns that it may discourage non-UK citizens from accessing necessary medical care. With government review of the policy, it remains to be seen what changes will be made to the current system.

How can NA Law Solicitors help?

NA Law Solicitors can help you understand whether you will need to pay the Immigration Healthcare Surcharge (IHS) when you come to the UK or assist you with any other advice you require. 

If you require our assistance, please contact us or call us on 0203 5245439 for a friendly chat with one of our expert immigration solicitors.

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