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On 1st October 2020, the UK government introduced a scheme enabling NHS and social care sector workers to claim a refund on the Immigration Health Surcharge (IHS). While migrants will still have to pay the surcharge upfront, they will be able to claim refunds retrospectively for six-month periods.

This scheme fulfils a promise made by the Prime Minister in May to reward the migrants who have played a particularly invaluable role this year in keeping the NHS running.

In August, a Tier 2 Health and Care visa was announced, allowing migrants looking to work in a select few roles to obtain a visa and remain exempt from the IHS. This IHS refund scheme is much more inclusive, as, unlike the health and care visa, it is not limited to people who apply for a visa with the intention of working with the NHS.

The scheme enables migrants who work across the sector, including those working as hospital support staff and care workers, to claim a refund on the surcharge they have paid. A more exhaustive list of eligible roles and employers can be found here(Annex A).

While migrants working in this sector are still required to pay the IHS upfront, this scheme allows them to claim refunds for themselves and their dependants every six months, on a rolling basis as long as they meet the eligibility criteria.

To be eligible, applicants must be on a visa that gives them the generic “right to work”, must work in the health and social care sector, have been doing so for a continuous period of at least six months (starting on or after 31st March 2020) and must have worked at least 16 hours each week for the duration of the six-month period. This refund can then be claimed for each six-month period where you meet these criteria.

You can apply for this refund online and find more guidance on the government website.

This article was written by Eloise Evans, legal assistant.

If you think you might be eligible for an IHS refund or would like assistance to apply for a Health and Care visa, do not hesitate to contact our offices.

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