Scrap the NHS surcharge for migrants

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“Pressure is mounting on the government from doctors, nurses and carers to scrap the surcharge that many migrant healthcare workers must pay to access the NHS, in recognition of the many risking their lives on the coronavirus frontline”

Article by Amelia Gentleman in The Guardian (

  • “Overseas staff recruited to work in healthcare jobs have expressed anger at the rising cost of the NHS surcharge, set to increase to £625 per year later this year, which they must pay for themselves and each family member alongside the cost of their UK visas.”

“It feels unfair that we are risking out lives on the frontline, and we are being penalised by having to pay this large sum out of our own pockets. We’re already paying for the NHS through our national insurance and tax… It doesn’t leave much left for accommodation and living costs.”

– Carl Perez, 27, a nurse who was recruited two years ago from the Philippines, became ill with Covid-19 at the end of last month while working at a care home in the West Midlands where several residents have died from the illness. He is currently in isolation at home.


“We know BAME doctors are disproportionately getting ill. To have to pay for the same service that they are putting their lives at risk for doesn’t seem fair. This charge needs to be scrapped completely for NHS overseas workers.” – Dr Chandra Kanneganti, the national chair of the British International Doctors Association

On the 12th March – the day after Rishi Sunak announced that the Immigration Health Surcharge (IHS) – paid at point of visa application/renewal would rise from £400/year currently to £624/year (bizarrely, alongside Coronavirus initiatives), campaign group Docs Not Cops published a piece ( saying they:

“continue to believe that the Immigration Health Surcharge should be scrapped in its entirety. The NHS should be a universal system – treating patients on the basis of need, not ‘contributions’ – as it was designed to be. Charging for NHS access isn’t about economics – it’s about the govt finding excuses to tear up the principle of universal health care. It’s about adding an additional tax on migrants – deterring people from moving to the UK or forcing people into undocumented status/out of the country when they cannot afford visa renewal” – Docs Not Cops

There are several campaigns you can support related to this issue:

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