The Government does not agree with conclusions set out in the Immigration Law Practitioners Association (ILPA) briefing document of 26 October and has published a full impact assessment on the potential impact of increasing the immigration health surcharge.
The impact assessment can be read at this link: http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukdsi/2018/9780111172995/impacts
The surcharge is intended to represent a fair and proportionate financial contribution to the NHS by migrants, commensurate with their temporary immigration status.
Temporary migrants will not have built up the long-term relationship and contribution to the UK that a permanent resident has built up, and will build up, over the course of their lifetime. It is, therefore, the migrant’s immigration status that determines whether they pay the surcharge, not their tax contributions or their profession. The Government recognises however that temporary migrants contribute to the UK economy in a number of ways, including paying income tax and national insurance; these contributions are reflected in the surcharge levels, which are below the average per capita cost to the NHS of treating temporary migrants.
The Government has no plans to abolish the surcharge for foreign spouses or partners. Surcharge policy already reflects the special position of those becoming permanent residents of the UK, as the surcharge does not apply to those applying for indefinite leave to remain.
The Government values very highly the contribution NHS employees recruited from overseas make to the health system. NHS workers are, however, in no different position to other providers of essential public services. The Government therefore has no plans to exempt them from the surcharge. All NHS nurses will however benefit from a pay increase as set out in the Agenda for Change framework
The surcharge has delivered over £600 million in additional funding to the NHS since its introduction in 2015. It enables migrants to access the NHS on the same terms as someone who is ordinarily resident in the UK, from the point of their arrival. We believe it offers access to health care services that are far more comprehensive and at a lower cost than many other countries.