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NHS surcharge to double in December and new Immigration Rules changes published

NHS surcharge to double in December and new Immigration Rules changes published

Today the Home Office announced a new statement of changes to the Immigration Rules and confirmed that the Immigration Health Surcharge will go from £200 to £400 in December.

A link to the full statement of changes is here and a summary of the changes from the immigration minister is here. Caroline Nokes says that the changes have three main elements:

  • Setting up the second pilot phase of the EU Settlement Scheme, to run from 1 November. The first phase pilot is now over and was “very positive”.
  • Introducing the new “Calais leave” for children transferred to the UK as part of the Calais camp clearance between October 2016 and July 2017. This had been announced on 13 September.
  • Making some changes to the general visa application process, including the requirements to post passports and original documents. This is part of the new in-country application system, announced in May and now being rolled out at what are being called “UK Visa and Citizenship Application Services centres” from next month.

There is also some tightening up to the medical exemption procedure for the Life in the UK and English language tests.

Nath has written a detailed summary of the statement of changes, with commentary, in this post.

On the Immigration Health Surcharge, the minister says:

Today we have laid before Parliament in accordance with section 38 of the Immigration Act 2014, ‘The Immigration (Health Charge) (Amendment) Order 2018’. The Order, which is subject to the affirmative procedure, seeks to double the IHS to £400 per annum. Students, as well as those on the Youth Mobility Scheme, will continue to receive a discounted rate of £300. The Order also makes some minor technical amendments to provide greater clarity about exchange rates, when payments are made in foreign currencies.

The draft order is here. An accompanying impact assessment says that the increased charge is expected to raise £1 billion over five years from migrants forced to pay as part of their visa application.

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The Home Office is really milking the publicity on this one: the doubling of the surcharge was first announced eight months ago. At that point there was no date given (I asked) but now we learn that the change will take effect from December. No doubt a third press release will be issued at that stage.

Finally, for those interested in the ongoing controversy over paragraph 322(5) refusals of leave to remain based on tax discrepancies. Nokes has written to the Home Affairs committee to say that the department’s review has finished and a final report “will be submitted shortly”. She admits that the review “has taken a bit longer than we would have liked”. Interim findings published in June admitted no error on the part of the department.

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