Saturday 3 October 2020 7:11 AM UTC
By A Staff Reporter
LONDON Oct 3: Overseas NHS and care workers can claim their reimbursement from the surcharge from 1st October 2020, said a government press release issued on 1st October 2020 said.
The IHS (Immigration Health Surcharge) allows non-European Economic Area nationals to access the NHS on broadly the same basis as UK residents if they are seeking to work, study, or join family members for more than 6 months.
The government’s Tier 2 health and care visa, launched in August, exempted eligible staff from paying the IHS. The new reimbursement scheme goes further to ensure that staff not covered by the visa, but who have worked in the NHS or care sector since 31 March, are able to claim reimbursement for themselves and their dependants, even if they paid the surcharge before this date.
Secretary of State for Health and Social Care Matt Hancock 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.
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 for patients.
The IHS reimbursement scheme will work alongside the health and care visa announced in July and launched in August this year. Reimbursements for the IHS will be paid in 6-month instalments.
The visa offers a fast-track visa route for eligible health and care professionals and includes an exemption to the surcharge, making it cheaper, quicker and easier for people with the right skills from around the world to come to the UK.
This will help grow the workforce to deliver 50,000 more nurses, 6,000 more doctors in general practice, as well as thousands more physiotherapists, pharmacists and other highly skilled practitioners over the next 5 years, said the press note.
Anyone holding a relevant visa, who has worked in health and social care continuously for at least 6 months and paid the IHS will be eligible for a reimbursement.
Applications will be processed by the NHSBSA and UK Visas and Immigration.
Anyone holding a relevant visa, who has worked in health and social care continuously for at least 6 months commencing on or after 31 March 2020 and has paid the IHS may be eligible for a reimbursement. Their dependants may also be eligible for a reimbursement if the IHS has been paid for them. Applicants may only claim a reimbursement if they have paid the IHS in conjunction with a current visa.
Applicants will need to apply for reimbursements on a 6-monthly basis, when they have worked for at least 16 hours per week over the full 6 months. These reimbursements will be processed in 6-month instalments in arrears.
This means, for example, if a claimant paid for the IHS in 2019, for a period of 3 years, they will be able to claim 6 months’ worth of IHS reimbursement on 1 October 2020. This can be repeated on 31 March 2021 and for any additional 6-month periods, as long as they have met the eligibility criteria for this period.
IHS in respect of any period of time or work before 31 March 2020 cannot be reclaimed. The reimbursement scheme is designed for claimants who are in the UK on visas that give them a generic right to work. Examples of this may include:
a dependant of a UK national or another migrant
someone on a Tier 4 student visa who can undertake up to 20 hours of work a week during term time
someone on the Tier 5 youth mobility scheme
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