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  1. ITV Report

No plans to exempt care workers from £400 NHS surcharge, Dominic Raab confirms

Dominic Raab has said there are no current plans to change the rules. Credit: 10 Downing Street

There are "no current plans" to exempt care workers from the £400 NHS surcharge which is compulsory for the majority of foreign workers in the UK, Dominic Raab has said.

Under current immigration rules, most people wanting to work in the UK must pay £400 per year - which entitles them to use the NHS - as part of their visa application.

Amid the coronavirus crisis, the Home Office exempt NHS workers from paying the charge for one year if their visas were due to expire before October - it also said such workers would not need to apply for a new visa for a year.

Home Secretary Priti Patel was criticised for not scrapping the charge entirely for NHS staff, with many claiming foreign health workers are forced to pay twice to use the service; once in their visa and again when they are taxed before being paid their wages.

With the government bowing to pressure over the surcharge for NHS staff, many foreign social carers had been hoping they too would soon be exempt from the charge.

However it does not look like this will happen anytime soon, with the foreign secretary saying "there’s no current plans to make the change" people have been calling for.

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He insisted however that there would be a “sensitive immigration system for all those exceptional frontline workers”.

The NHS surcharge - otherwise known as the Immigration Health Surcharge - was introduced in 2015 to directly increase the contribution to the NHS by immigrants and now brings in around £200 million per year for the government.