Immigrants: Health Services

Home Office written question – answered on 14th November 2018.

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Photo of Lord Jones of Cheltenham Lord Jones of Cheltenham Liberal Democrat

To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they plan to respond to concerns raised by the Immigration Law Practitioners’ Association in their briefing published on 26 October on the draft Immigration (Health Charge) (Amendment) Order 2018, and its conclusion that the Order will (1) be detrimental to the NHS, and (2) constitute a discriminatory form of repeated taxation on migrants.

Photo of Lord Jones of Cheltenham Lord Jones of Cheltenham Liberal Democrat

To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they plan to abolish the immigration health surcharge for partners of British or settled citizens who have successfully renewed their spouse visas and shown a commitment to becoming permanent residents in the UK.

Photo of Lord Jones of Cheltenham Lord Jones of Cheltenham Liberal Democrat

To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they plan to respond to the campaign by the Royal College of Nursing for abolition of the immigration health surcharge for nursing staff and their dependants.

Photo of Lord Jones of Cheltenham Lord Jones of Cheltenham Liberal Democrat

To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they intend to abolish the immigration health surcharge for all NHS employees recruited from overseas.

Photo of Baroness Williams of Trafford Baroness Williams of Trafford The Minister of State, Home Department, Minister for Equalities (Department for International Development)

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.

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