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Immigration health surcharge should be scrapped, urges UCU

22 May 2020 | last updated: 27 May 2020

The Immigration Health Surcharge is a 'punitive double tax' which should be scrapped, UCU said today.

The call came after the government announced yesterday that health and care workers would be exempted from the charge, which currently stands at £400 per year but is due to rise to £624 per year from October. UCU said the move was welcome but called on the government to go further and scrap the surcharge for all migrants.

In a letter to the Home Secretary Priti Patel, UCU said the surcharge was 'symptomatic of the hostile environment policy' which sent a 'damaging message to the rest of the world about how migrants are valued within our society' and called for it to be scrapped entirely.

The letter also called for the automatic one-year visa extension for NHS workers to be applied to all migrants, providing additional security in the face of continued uncertainty linked to the Covid crisis.

UCU general secretary, Jo Grady, said: 'The Immigration Health Surcharge is a punitive double tax on migrants which is both unfair and unnecessary. It is symptomatic of the government's wider hostile environment policy and feeds into a damaging rhetoric around immigration in the UK. Reducing the excessive costs and practical barriers facing migrant staff and students in the UK must be a key priority for immigration reforms.'

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