The Government announced yesterday evening that the Immigration Health Surcharge (IHS) for all NHS and care workers who have come to the UK from overseas would be scrapped as soon as possible. Doctors, nurses and paramedics had already been granted a one-year exemption from the charge.
The IHS is an additional fee paid by all non-European Economic Area (EEA) nationals coming to the UK for more than six months. It will also encompass EEA migrants arriving from January 2021.
The current charge is £400 per year, which is due to increase to £624 on 1 October 2020. As a result of the policy change, all NHS staff, health workers, porters and cleaners, of whom many are earning the minimum wage, will no longer be subject to this annual fee.
Working migrants already pay tax and national insurance like British or settled persons do; so, they are effectively charged twice for NHS treatment. Scrapping the IHS for overseas NHS staff is a positive policy change for our hard-working medical staff who are risking their lives on the frontline of Covid-19.