Applications for Immigration Health Surcharge refunds open


Health Secretary Matt Hancock Covid-19 press conference 22 June 2020

Andrew Parsons / No 10 Downing Street

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Comments by Sanwar Ali:

Finally, the immigration health surcharge refund scheme is available as of 1 October 2020.  Please note that the immigration health surcharge increases from £400 per year to £624 per year, for most people, from 27 October 2020.  Fortunately, the start date for the increase has been delayed.  For many people the charge represents a signification proportion of their total income.   For those eligible, obtaining a refund may be very important to them.  Due to the economic situation caused by attempts to contain the coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic, the financial situation for many families may be worse than normal, with many having lost a second income source from a partner. 

Foreign healthcare workers who have paid the controversial UK Immigration Health Surcharge (IHS) can now apply for refunds; a government press release has confirmed. The announcement comes just a week after the Labour Party accused the Tories of breaking its promise over the surcharge.

Back in May, UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson, vowed to scrap the controversial IHS for NHS health and care workers to use the health service. However, it has since taken the government four months to set up a refund scheme to reimburse those who had already paid the fee.

The new Tier 2 health and care visa, launched in August, now exempts eligible overseas staff from the IHS. However, anyone who has paid the fee prior to the launch of the new visa and holds a valid UK visa and has worked in health and social care continuously for six months, is entitled to a refund.

Tories attacked on immigration health surcharge

Recently, the UK’s shadow immigration minister, Holly Lynch, launched a scathing attack on the government, accusing them of a ‘shameful broken promise’ having not refunded eligible health workers.

Lynch said: “It’s completely unacceptable to level up-front charges on low-paid care workers that can amount to thousands of pounds for a family. The government is effectively borrowing money from families without ever saying when they will get it back.”

Matt Hancock, the UK’s health secretary, said: “I am incredibly proud of all the fantastic health and care workers from all over the world we have working in our NHS who provide such an invaluable service, from cleaners to care workers to porters.”

“We can now deliver on our promise as the reimbursement scheme will benefit those who have given so much this year to protect us all from COVID-19,” Hancock added.

Attempts to attract overseas health and care workers

Hancock believes that the reimbursement scheme and the introduction of the new health and care visa will ‘encourage overseas health and care workers to continue to come and work in the UK and help those already living in Britain to provide first-class support and care for patients.’

Managing director of NHS employers, Rebecca Smith, said: “Employers and recent overseas recruits will welcome detail on how the Immigration Health Surcharge reimbursement service will work in practice.”

“The government’s decision in May to exempt health and social care staff from the fee and reimburse those who have paid it after 31 March this year demonstrated some recognition of the incredible contribution overseas staff make to the NHS,” Smith added.

Smith went on to urge the government and the nation to continue showing their appreciation and gratitude to overseas health and care staff who, with ‘great dedication, fortitude and selflessness have served British communities in one of the most challenging times in the country’s history.’

Six-monthly basis refunds

Guidance on the reimbursement scheme states that applicants will need to apply for refunds on a six-monthly basis when they have worked at least 16 hours per week over the full six-month duration. The government press release, published on its official website, says: “These reimbursements will be processed in six-month instalments in arrears.”

Anyone who paid the IHS before 31 March, 2020 is not entitled to a refund. can help with Tier 2 Visa Sponsor Licence and Tier 2 Visa

If you need help with a Tier 2 visa, or a Tier 2 Sponsor Licence, including help with complying with your Tier 2 Sponsor Licence obligations, can help.

For more information and advice on Tier 2 Sponsor Licences, UK immigration law and UK visa applications please contact us on 0344 991 9222 or at