UK Doubles Health Surcharge for Non-EU Nationals
The UK government made an announcement that it was planning to double the health surcharge that students and long-term visitors not belonging to the European Union need to pay. It would now be hiked from £200 to £400 per year.
Introduced in April 2015, the discounted surcharge for students has been raised to £300 from £150 per year.
All visitors who are not nationals of the EU need to pay this surcharge if they intend to stay in the UK for six months or more.
The Department of Health and Social Care of the UK is planning to make the hike effective from late 2018 to raise more funds for the NHS (National Health Service), which has been grappling with funding issues.
Caroline Nokes, the UK Immigration Minister, was quoted Press Trust of India as saying that it was only proper for people entering the UK to pay for the functioning of the NHS. She said that with the surcharge, more comprehensive health care services can be availed at a much lower cost when compared to many other countries.
Nokes said the income earned would directly go into the coffers of the NHS services, aiding in protecting and sustaining world-class healthcare system of Britain for all people who access it.
The NHS incurs £470 on an average per individual per year on treating payers of the surcharge, the department estimated. It estimated that by increasing the charges it could gain an additional £ 220 million pounds per year, which will be rerouted into the NHS services.
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