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Today, the Home Office unexpectedly announced that the Immigration Health Surcharge (IHS), a mandatory payment for most non-EEA applicants entering the UK for more than 6 months, will also be extended to citizens of Australia and New Zealand as of April 6th 2016.

Nationals from Australia and New Zealand will be required to pay a surcharge of £200 per annum regardless of whether they are fresh applicants or extending their stay from within the UK.

With the introduction of the IHS in April 2015, the government declared that citizens of both Australia and New Zealand would be exempt from paying towards the NHS but in a turn of tides, this will no longer be the case.

The IHS has already raked in over £100 million, which the UK government says will contribute to public services.

Managing Director, Jonathan Beech says that “The government’s recent announcement hasn’t stated whether Tier 2 (ICT) applicants will be exempt from paying the IHS. This points towards the fact that the Migration Advisory Committee’s recommendations to introduce the IHS for Tier 2 (ICT) applicants seems to be likely.”

Applicants under the Tier 5 Youth Mobility Scheme, will face a £50 reduction in IHS payments, bringing their contribution down to the same total paid by students.