Indian Doctors Association Reacts on Raise in UK Health Surcharge

Indian Doctors Association Reacts on Raise in UK Health Surcharge

A top organization representing Indian doctors and the host of their colleagues from all over the world is not pleased with the immigration health surcharge which has been raised from £200 to £400. This surcharge is paid when applying for a UK visa. For this reason, the organization has termed the raise as “unfair and discriminatory.”

The surcharge came into effect in April 2015 and was mandatory for all persons from non-EU member states who seek a UK visa with a minimum validity of 6 months. This surcharge is compulsory for everyone; professionals, students, etc. as well as every one of their family members for each year they stay in the UK. This amount is separate from all the other fees that come with a UK visa application.

The hike in the surcharge was announced in October 2018, when the UK Home Office made it public that the £200 surcharge paid per person for each year will be raised to £400. According to the announcement, students and persons on a youth mobility scheme will be getting a £100 discount and therefore will be paying £300. This raise will become effective from January 8, 2019.

The British Association of Physicians of Indian Origin — BAPIO for short — wrote a letter to the UK Home Secretary, Sajid Javid calling the surcharge “unfair and discriminatory” and further calling for its removal.

The surcharge could make the UK less attractive to foreign doctors

In the letter, they reminded the Home Secretary of the risk the UK health sector stands as the surcharge is capable of discouraging doctors from India as well as other non-EU countries from coming to the UK at this critical time when the country’s National Health Service is battling with a severe shortage of staff.

Bapio’s National Secretary, Parag Singhal, expressed his displeasure with the fact that the surcharge is not just unfair, but discriminatory as it does not apply to citizens of EU countries. He didn’t understand why doctors and other professionals who pay all taxes in the country should be subjected to this additional tax.

The home office, in its own defense, said it was proper for immigrants who have come to the UK to contribute to the running of the National Health Service.

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