International health and care staff will not have to pay the Immigration Health Surcharge (IHS) from today due to a reimbursement scheme announced by Government.
Overseas NHS and care workers are now able to claim their reimbursement from the surcharge, fulfilling a pledge made by the Prime Minister in May.
The Government’s Tier 2 Health and Care visa, launched in August, exempted eligible staff from paying the IHS. The new IHS reimbursement scheme ensures that staff who are not covered by the visa, but who have worked in the NHS or care sector since 31st March 2020, are able to claim reimbursement for themselves and their dependents, even if they paid the surcharge before this date.
Those eligible can now apply online on gov.uk and access guidance on claiming the reimbursement which will be paid in six-month instalments.
Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, Matt Hancock said, '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.
'This will encourage overseas health and care workers to continue to come and work in the UK and help those already living here to provide first-class care and support.'
Applications will be processed by the NHS Business Services Authority (BSA) and UK Visa and Immigration.
The IHS Reimbursement Scheme will work alongside the Health and Care Visa and will be paid in six-month instalments.
Rebecca Smith, Managing Director of NHS Employers, part of the NHS confederation, said, 'Employers and recent overseas recruits will welcome detail on how the immigration health surcharge reimbursement service will work in practice.
'...Now more than ever, we must show our gratitude for all our staff, including those from overseas, who have worked with dedication, fortitude and selflessness to care for our communities in one of the most challenging periods in our history.'
Anyone holding a relevant visa, who has worked in health and social care continuously for at least six months and paid the Immigration Health Surcharge will be eligible for the reimbursement scheme.
This comes after news earlier this week that recommendations from the Migration Advisory Committee (MAC) state senior care workers and nursing assistants should be added to the Shortage Occupation List .