News

Campaign to extend the immigration health surcharge exemption

Section: Policy into PracticeType: News Item Date Published: 16th September 2021

An amendment seeks to ensure the immigration health surcharge exemption is extended to all international volunteers working for charities.

The Immigration Health Surcharge

Nationals from other countries who wish to live and work in the UK are, subject to certain exceptions, required to pay the immigration health surcharge in order to access services under the NHS. We welcomed the UK Government’s decision to exempt health and social care staff from other countries from paying the immigration health surcharge. The ALLIANCE, alongside SCVO, Camphill Scotland, and our partners across the UK are, however, disappointed that this exemption does not include international volunteers working in health and social care, and in other settings, for charities in the UK.

We are concerned that the UK Government’s decision to exclude international volunteers from the immigration health surcharge exemption will, in the future, deter international volunteers from working as volunteers for charities in the UK in health and social care, and in other settings. This is an UK-wide issue, and will impact upon the capacity of charities across the UK in health and social care and in other settings including youth work and other services supporting young people.

Amendment to the Nationality and Borders Bill

Against this background, the ALLIANCE, SCVO, Camphill Scotland, and our partners, totalling over 50 charities across the UK, had previously been working with Baroness Jolly, a Liberal Democrat Peer in the House of Lords, to try and persuade the UK Government to extend the immigration health surcharge exemption for health and social care staff to all international volunteers. Negotiations with UK Government Ministers in the House of Lords, however, during the passage of Immigration and Social Security Co-ordination (EU Withdrawal) legislation proved inconclusive.

We are, therefore, seeking to extend the immigration health surcharge exemption to international volunteers through an Amendment to the Nationality and Borders Bill, which will soon commence its Committee Stage in the House of Commons. This Amendment (linked below) would extend the immigration health surcharge exemption to all international volunteers. It would ensure that international volunteers volunteering for charities in the UK, and international volunteers wishing to volunteer in the UK, will not have to pay the immigration health surcharge to access services provided by the NHS when they make their visa applications.

If your organisation would like to support the campaign please e-mail Robert McGeachy, Policy and Engagement Manager at Camphill Scotland (robert@camphillscotland.org.uk) to confirm your support, and please also send Robert your organisation’s logo.

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