Letter to the Home Secretary on the Immigration Health Surcharge

18 May 2020

Dear Home Secretary,

I am writing to you following your Department’s confirmation this weekend (17 May 2020) that it is not actively reviewing the Immigration Health Surcharge (IHS) for health and care workers. I am alarmed to hear that your Department now denies that such a review was ever considered, having indicated that this was the case. I am writing to you again to urge you to reconsider and waive this charge as a matter of urgency.

Currently there are 77,065 non-EEA internationally educated nurses working in health and care across the UK. Their value and skills, though brought to the fore through the current pandemic, have always been essential.

The IHS represents an unfair and unjust additional financial burden on our international workforce. Not only do healthcare professionals make a significant contribution towards our health and care system by virtue of their work, but they also already pay taxes and national insurance that pay toward our services. The proposed increases will serve to exacerbate hardships and will act as a significant barrier to individuals considering working in the UK at precisely the time that they are needed most.

We have made repeated calls for the fee to be waived completely for health and care staff and were therefore extremely disappointed by Government’s proposals to increase the charge to £624 and £470 per year for adults and children respectively. This represents a 56% increase since its inception in 2015 and we are yet to see any evidence or cost modelling that supports these revised figures.

The current pandemic has served to highlight and reaffirm the importance of our internationally educated staff. Without them here, patient care would be at risk. This fee undermines the incredible and lifesaving work health and care staff provide to us all. As the Immigration and Social Security Bill receives its second reading by Parliament, this is the opportune moment to reflect on the experiences of our international workforce and explore ways to strengthen and maintain their extraordinary and vital contribution.

Yours sincerely,

Dame Donna Kinnair
Chief Executive and General Secretary 

Page last updated - 10/07/2020