Visas, Permits and Immigration


UK’s new health surcharge for Australian and NZ visa applicants criticised

by Ray Clancy on February 10, 2016

The Prime Minister of New Zealand has hit out the UK over plans to make anyone from outside the European Union who wishes to stay in the country for more than six months pay towards their healthcare.

From April 2016 visa holders from New Zealand and Australia, both of whom have large expat populations in the UK, will be asked to pay a surcharge of £150 to £200 a year.

It will affect those who apply for a visa to stay for longer than six months and expats already in the UK who apply for an extension to an existing visa.

visa_application

John Key, the New Zealand prime minister, said the charge represented the “chipping away” of New Zealanders’ rights in the UK. He hinted that it upsets an historic relationship between the two countries based on New Zealand being a former British colony.

“I would have thought charging Kiwis £150 if they’re over there for a bit longer as a surcharge, over and above the national health system, is pretty cheap and not really in keeping with the history of the two countries,” he said but added that he would not seek to introduce anything similar for British people in New Zealand.

British people going to New Zealand and Australia do not face such a surcharge. Currently under the existing reciprocal agreement Britons travelling to Australia can stay in hospital free of charge and receive subsidised medicines and GP visits while those in New Zealand can receive free care even for existing medical conditions. In both countries, there is a part charge for GP visits for all patients, including locals.

The surcharge already applies to people from some countries outside of the EU but it is now being expanded to Australia and New Zealand as it is regarded as a good way to help the National Health Service meet the extra costs of healthcare for foreign nationals.

There has been a lot of concern in the UK that people arrive in the country as so called “health tourists” who take advantage of the free healthcare system. The new surcharge has raised more than £100 million in six months so it is being extended.

It does not apply to those coming to the UK for six months or less, or those visiting the UK with a visitor visa an d they will still be fully liable for the cost of any National Health Service treatment they receive during their stay in the UK.

Immigration minister James said that it is “only fair” that Australians and New Zealanders contribute to the NHS. “By keeping the surcharge at a competitive level, we are also recognising the contribution temporary migrants make to the wider economy,” he explained.

There is also disquiet among Australians and people from New Zealand that the UK has cut the cost of visas for Chinese citizens from £324 to £85, meaning they pay a lot less than those from down under.

{ 0 comments }

Thumbnail image for Visa exempt travellers need new electronic authorisation for Canada from March

Visa exempt travellers need new electronic authorisation for Canada from March

February 4, 2016 Canada

Officials in Canada have issued a reminder that from March 2016 visa-exempt foreign nationals who fly to or transit through Canada will need an Electronic Travel Authorization (eTA). There are exceptions including citizens of the United States and travellers with a valid visa, but those who will need an eTA are urged to make sure […]

Read the full article →
Thumbnail image for US officials warn people to be aware of immigration services scams

US officials warn people to be aware of immigration services scams

January 27, 2016 Visas, Permits and Immigration

Immigration officials in the United States are again warning about the danger of scams and reinforcing that not everyone who offers immigration services are authorised to do so. “While many of these unauthorized practitioners mean well, all too many of them are out to rip you off. This is against the law and may be […]

Read the full article →
Thumbnail image for New round of parent and grandparent visas opened in Canada

New round of parent and grandparent visas opened in Canada

January 6, 2016 Canada

A new round of visa applications to sponsor parents and grandparents has just started in Canada and is expected to be popular, immigration officials have announced. A limit of 5,000 new and complete applications has been put on the visa stream by Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC). A spokesman explained that all applications received […]

Read the full article →
Thumbnail image for New Zealand makes visas more flexible for Canterbury rebuild workers

New Zealand makes visas more flexible for Canterbury rebuild workers

May 18, 2015 New Zealand

New Zealand has announced changes to immigration policy which will make it easier to recruit and retain international workers for the Canterbury rebuild. The Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment estimates that an additional 5000 construction workers will be needed between December 2014 and the peak of the rebuild in December 2016. Immigration Minister Michael […]

Read the full article →
Thumbnail image for UK super priority visa service to be extended to more countries

UK super priority visa service to be extended to more countries

November 14, 2014 Britain

The UK government has unveiled plans to extend the popular 24 hour visa service to more business leaders, investors and wealthy tourists aimed at attracting more investment into the country. The Super Priority Visa Service, already on offer in China and India, ensures a decision on a visa application within 24 hours, removing lengthy bureaucratic […]

Read the full article →
Thumbnail image for Joint visa scheme for Ireland and the UK could be expanded

Joint visa scheme for Ireland and the UK could be expanded

November 6, 2014 Ireland

The authorisation to allow Chinese and Indian citizens to transit through the UK on route to the Republic of Ireland under the Transit Without Visa Concession (TWOV) has been ratified in the UK parliament. UK Minister of State for Immigration and Security James Brokenshire has also announced that this first phase of the scheme will […]

Read the full article →
Thumbnail image for New report calls for special mobility zones between Commonwealth countries

New report calls for special mobility zones between Commonwealth countries

November 5, 2014 Visas, Permits and Immigration

Citizens of the key Commonwealth countries should be granted special status to live and work in the UK without restriction, according to a new report. Bilateral mobility zones should be established between the UK, Australia, New Zealand and Canada says the report from the Commonwealth Exchange. The proposal is based on an idea first put […]

Read the full article →
Thumbnail image for New Zealand is breaking immigration records all over the place

New Zealand is breaking immigration records all over the place

October 21, 2014 New Zealand

A record number of people are arriving in New Zealand with net gains in September equalling the highest levels ever recorded, the latest figures show. There were more arrivals than departures, reaching 4,700 last month, equal to the highest net gains ever recorded in August 2014 and February 2003 with arrivals from India pushing up […]

Read the full article →
Thumbnail image for Immigration department warns of Australian visa scams

Immigration department warns of Australian visa scams

October 17, 2014 Australia

People seeking a visa to live and work in Australia are being warned about the pitfall of scams, especially connected to the popular 457 skilled worker visa. The Department of Immigration and Border Protection (DIBP) says that applicants should be aware of their responsibilities and obligations when applying for a visa and of visa scams […]

Read the full article →
Thumbnail image for US officials warn visa and citizenship applicants of immigration scams

US officials warn visa and citizenship applicants of immigration scams

October 10, 2014 America

US officials are warning that while many people offer help with immigration services, unfortunately, not all are authorized to do so and visa applicants need to be aware of scammers. ‘While many of these unauthorized practitioners mean well, all too many of them are out to rip you off. This is against the law and […]

Read the full article →
Thumbnail image for New Zealand sees highest ever annual influx of migrants

New Zealand sees highest ever annual influx of migrants

October 1, 2014 New Zealand

New Zealand reached its highest ever net gain of migrants in the August 2014 year, according to the latest data from New Zealand Statistics. The numbers reached reached 43,500, topping the previous high of 42,500 migrants in the May 2003 year. The new net migration record was driven by more arrivals and fewer departures of […]

Read the full article →
Thumbnail image for Support for Australian-style visa points system grows in UK

Support for Australian-style visa points system grows in UK

September 30, 2014 United Kingdom

Support for an Australian-style visa points system for people from outside the European Union is growing in the UK. One of the country’s newest political parties, UKIP, which could win its first seats in parliament in forthcoming by-elections, said it wants to limit immigration to 50,000 a year. Steven Woolfe, UKIP spokesman on migration and […]

Read the full article →