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Immigration Health Surcharge refunds for NHS and social care workers


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When the government announced on 21 May 2020 that NHS and social care workers would be made exempt from the Immigration Health Surcharge, some immigration lawyers pointed out that a political announcement is one thing, legal implementation quite another. Nichola reminded us that “history has shown that the pressure needs to be applied even more once the grand gesture has been made”. To take one recent example, an immigration concession for people from Northern Ireland was promised in January 2020 but the actual amendments to the Immigration Rules making it happen will not come into force until late August.

It was therefore no surprise that the IHS announcement was not immediately followed by change on the ground. As newspapers have been reporting over the past week or so, NHS and social care workers are still paying the surcharge.

But there is good news on that score. At Prime Minister’s Questions on 17 June, Boris Johnson said:

NHS or care workers who have paid the surcharge since 21 May will be refunded, and we are getting on with instituting the new arrangements as fast as we possibly can.

Thanks to Twitter user Uzma for highlighting that. So there you have it: it may yet be a while before this exemption comes into force, but there should be retrospective refunds for those who ultimately qualify. Keep your receipts.

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CJ McKinney

CJ McKinney is a specialist on immigration law and policy. Formerly the editor of Free Movement, you will find a lot of articles by CJ here on this website! Twitter: @mckinneytweets.