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UK NHS surcharge extended to Australian and New Zealand nationals

by John Dunn | Mar 23, 2016
  • In February, the UK government confirmed that Australians and New Zealanders will be subject to an NHS surcharge. If you are planning on staying in the UK for more than six months, you will be required to pay the £200 annual fee.

    This surcharge will come into effect on 6 April 2016 and will allow travellers from Australia and New Zealand the same access to the NHS as permanent UK residents.

    Australians and New Zealanders were initially exempt from the fee, first introduced in April 2015, that applied to all non-EEA nationals with visas valid for six months or more.  Immigration Minister James Brokenshire stated on the UK Government website:

    “The health surcharge is already playing a vital role in ensuring Britain’s public service is provided on a basis that is fair to all who use it.

    We believe it is only fair that Australian and New Zealand nationals, who have previously benefited from a one year exemption from the immigration health surcharge, will now contribute to our health service in the same way as other non-EEA nationals.”

    The surcharge has been put in place to ensure that the NHS remains sustainable and receives contributions from temporary migrants who are entitled to use the service.

    The benefit

    Payment of the surcharge will entitle Australians and New Zealanders to use the NHS as permanent UK residents. This means that most of the healthcare provided by the NHS will be free of charge. Patients will still be required to pay for certain excluded procedures, such as dental treatment, eye tests and prescription medications.

    How much is it?

    The surcharge is set at £200 and must be paid annually. Any dependants will also be liable to pay this fee. Those individuals applying as students on the Tier 5 (Youth Mobility Scheme) visa will only be required to pay £150.

    Who has to pay?

    Australian and New Zealand nationals who plan to spend more than six months living and working in the UK will be required to pay the surcharge. In addition to this, those who intend to extend their stay from within the UK will also be required to pay the £200 fee.

    Who is exempt?

    Certain individuals will be exempt from paying this surcharge. They are:

    1. Travellers on visitor visas
    2. Visitors staying in the UK for less than six months
    3. Tier 2 visa intra-company transfer applicants
    4. Returning residents
    5. Those applying for a Certificate of Entitlement to the Right of Abode
    The NHS surcharge does not affect any of the reciprocal healthcare agreements between Australia, New Zealand and the UK. Residents of both countries will not be charged for urgent treatment received in the UK.

    More information will be released by the Home Office closer to 6 April 2016. Until then, feel free to contact us on +44 (0) 20 7759 7583 or send us an email if you have any queries about this surcharge.

    We are a professional services company that specialises in cross-border financial and immigration advice and solutions.

    Our teams in the UK, South Africa and Australia can ensure that when you decide to move overseas, invest offshore or expand your business internationally, you’ll do so with the backing of experienced local experts.


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