The Home Office has announced that the Immigration Health Surcharge will be extended to Australia and New Zealand nationals.
From 6 April 2015 most non-EEA nationals coming to the UK for over 6 months (or extending their stay in the UK) were required to pay the “health surcharge” or face refusal of applications, however until now, nationals of New Zealand and Australia have been exempt.
The fee was designed to provide a contribution from temporary migrants to support the National Health Service (NHS) and within 6 months the charge had generated more than £100 million.
The surcharge is £200 per year for each applicant (£150 for students), payable in full at the time of application. This means, for example, that a Tier 2 (General) migrant sponsored for 5 years, accompanied by a spouse and two children must pay £4,000, in addition to application filing fees. Although Australians and New Zealanders will generally receive all NHS treatment under the scheme, the fee does not cover dental treatment or prescription charges.
Businesses intending to employ (or continue employment of) Australian and New Zealand nationals, including under Tier 2, may wish to ensure that initial (or extension) applications are submitted before 6 April 2016 to avoid additional costs.