Closed petition Reduce Indefinite leave to remain fees from £2389 to £243 for Health workers

The Home office is charging almost ten times the actual processing cost of indefinite leave to remain application fee from overseas health care workers. The Government should stop making profit from foreign health workers and instead seek to retain those foreign doctors and nurses in our NHS.

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The Government introduced the Health and Care Worker visa in August 2020 with a reduced visa application fee compared to that paid by other skilled workers including exemption from the immigration health surcharge, with a view to make it cheaper and easier for the best health and care professionals around the globe to work in our brilliant NHS. But the Home Office still charge exorbitant fee for ILR . The Government should reduce the ILR fee to retain health workers in our NHS.

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Government responded

This response was given on 1 February 2022

We recognise the significant contribution of overseas NHS workers, but must be fair to all who use the immigration system. Those who directly benefit from the system should contribute to its funding.

Read the response in full

The Government recognises the significant contribution which health and care workers from overseas have made in tackling the ongoing Coronavirus pandemic.

The Home Office introduced the Health and Care visa on 4 August 2020. This delivers and builds upon the Government’s commitment to introduce a route which makes it quicker, easier and significantly cheaper for eligible people working in health and social care to come to the UK with their families. It will also benefit eligible workers in the UK, if they are extending their visa.

Applicants pay either £232 or £464 for a Health and Care Visa and are exempt from paying the Immigration Health Surcharge. The benefits of the Health and Care Visa apply to main applicants and their dependants.

The Health and Care Visa was updated in January 2021 to include other occupations, such as nursing auxiliaries and assistants and senior care workers in line with the expanded skills threshold for the skilled worker route. On 24 December 2021, the Government announced care workers would also be added to the list of eligible occupations for the Health and Care Visa. This will allow individuals to come to the UK to work as care workers and benefit from the reduced fees and fast track processing which the visa offers, subject to meeting the necessary requirements including salary and English language.

The Home Office believes the right to stay indefinitely in the UK is one of the most valuable entitlements of any product we offer providing full access to public benefits, healthcare (without the need to pay the Immigration Health Surcharge) and employment; hence the fee for this application is higher than those paid by a person seeking to remain temporarily in the UK.

All income generated above the estimated unit cost is used to fund the wider Migration and Borders system. Income from fees charged for immigration and nationality applications plays a vital role in the Home Office’s ability to run a sustainable immigration and nationality system.

The Home Office does not make a profit from fees. In line with the charging principles set out in the 2014 Act, fees for immigration and nationality services are set in consideration of the cost of processing the application, the wider cost of running the Migration and Borders system and the benefits enjoyed by successful applicants and any income from fees set above the cost of processing are utilised for this purpose.

We deeply value all the NHS workers, but the Home Office must be fair to everyone in the immigration system. The offers we have made are generous and reflect the outstanding contribution of those working in our NHS, but we will not be reducing the fee for indefinite leave to remain.

Home Office