Charges paid to the UK towards the cost of the NHS are to double to £400 a year the government has announced.
The increase to the immigration health surcharge, payable by people from outside the European Economic Area staying in the UK for six months or longer, means that the main rate will rise from £200 to £400 a year. This is regardless of any actual use of the NHS by those who have to pay. This policy is discriminatory and doctors fear that it can result in racial profiling.
Many people will not be able to afford the increase along with high Home Office application fees and therefore would not be able to apply for further leave to remain. Even those living with their British spouses or other family members will be caught by this increase. Some people will lose employment as a result of not being able to apply for an extension. There should be no further barriers in the way of people remaining legally in the UK.
The Health Secretary should not lay the blame for the underfunding of the NHS on migrants. The charge should not be increased at all.