From 4 April 2016, citizens of Australia and New Zealand planning to spend more than six months in the UK, or who are extending their stay from within the UK, will be required to pay an immigration health surcharge of £200 per year as a part of their application.
Previously, when the immigration health surcharge was introduced last year for all non-EU/EEA nationals, Australians and New Zealanders were exempt from this requirement. The £200 immigration health surchargeis designed to ensure the National Health Service (NHS) remains sustainable and receives a fair contribution to the cost of healthcare from temporary migrants.
Immigration health surcharge payers receive NHS care generally free of charge, but are charged for services a permanent resident would also pay for, such as dental treatment and prescription charges in England.
The surcharge does not apply to any non-EEA national coming to the UK for six months or less, or to those who apply for a visitor visa, who continue to be fully liable for the cost of any NHS treatment at the point they receive it. However, due to reciprocal healthcare agreements with both countries, residents of Australia and citizens of New Zealand who visit the UK will not be charged for treatment that cannot wait until they return home.
Those, aged between 18 and 30, applying to come to the UK on the Youth Mobility Scheme will benefit from a discounted rate of £150 per person per year – a reduction of £50, which will align the cost with the amount paid by students.
The changes were introduced 4 February, 2016, as a draft order and will come into force from 6 April, 2016, subject to Parliamentary approval.
Further guidance on the surcharge is available here.