Can I Get NHS Treatment On A Tier 2 Visa?
The Tier 2 General Visa offers the opportunity for migrants to come to the UK to live and work for a Tier 2 Sponsor Licence Holder. One of the other factors for coming to the UK is Britain's National Health Service. The NHS was set up in the 1940's and offers free at the point of use healthcare for citizens of the UK. In this article we look at the NHS itself and your eligibility. We also discuss costs and what is and is not covered by your rights. The founding principle of healthcare being free at the point of use still remains to this day - though the private sector is being brought more and more into the system. But it still remains that for those who are eligible, the system is still free to use. Though a world away from the system that was originally set-up, the UK still maintains a world leading healthcare system that means you do not have to worry about how much money you earn or have insurance to have your medical needs taken care of.
So, am I eligible?
If you are in the UK on a Tier 2 General Visa you will be eligible. You will need to pay an Immigration Health Surcharge and this would have been taken as part of your application. If this is not the case then you will need to contact HMRC. But as a general rule most people in the UK are eligible for free at the point of use healthcare - this includes GP's and hospital care (including emergencies).
When do I pay?
You pay at the time of application and the figure is added to your application fee. You will need to pay this before the visa is granted so that you can access the National Health Service once you arrive in the UK and do not have any issues in using the service. Due to how busy the system is, there is not the time nor the resources available for everyone's eligibility to be checked, it is much more efficient to ensure that anyone who is going to remain in the UK for any significant length of time has the appropriate health coverage and the Immigration Health Surcharge takes care of that problem.
How much is the Immigration Health Surcharge?
How much you pay for the Immigration Health Surcharge will depend upon the visa route that you choose. See below for the rates for the different groups that need to pay the Immigration Health Surcharge. You'll have to pay: £150 per year for a student or Tier 5 (Youth Mobility Scheme) £200 per year for all other visas The charge also applies to dependents and you will need to factor this into the overall cost of your visa application.
Can I see a doctor for free?
Yes, you will need to register with your local General Practitioner (GP) surgery and they will be able to book appointments and offer a referral service if you need specialist care. There is no charge for a standard appointment (though they may charge for some of their other services). GP surgeries are based all over the country and you should be able to find one locally to you.
Note that not all treatments are available under the NHS; generally, cosmetic treatments are usually not available on the NHS. Illness like prostate cancer and other non-cosmetic treatments may be treated under the NHS. Click here for the full list.
If you are struggling to find a surgery then you will need to check out the NHS website that can tell you where your local NHS services are and offer contact details so that you can make contact with them to register you and your family.
How is the system funded?
General taxation funds the National Health Service in the UK. This has caused a stir in some quarters and over the years many procedures have been removed from the NHS as it concentrates more on emergency medical care rather than a wider range of care. Unlike the US, the UK has no real taste for moving to an insurance based healthcare system. At this time the private sector is used to take the pressure off of the NHS by providing extended capacity for it. You can elect to take private insurance and there are several providers who operate in the UK. Many of these have their own hospitals and staff and are generally very good for those who can afford to use them. But please beware, private healthcare in the UK is very expensive.
What about dentists?
Dentistry is not included (for working adults) as part of the free at the point of use system - NHS dentistry is instead subsidised and is significantly cheaper than private dentistry. There are exceptions to those who need to pay and you can find out more by consulting your local dentist. Children and the unemployed rarely pay for dental care in the UK and you may find that if you or one of your dependents fall in to this bracket then you will most likely not be required to pay for their dental care.
What about Opticians?
Much like dentistry, optical care is not included in the free at the point of use healthcare system - instead it is subsidised and depending on your circumstances may even be free. For more information on your eligibility for free NHS optical care call your local optician. NHS eye tests are commonplace, they tend to be heavily subsidised and many opticians take advantage of this to offer completely free eye tests. This way the optician gets the customer through the door and can sell them glasses or contacts lenses if necessary.
How we can help
Our immigration solicitors are able to help people such as yourself to move to the UK and thrive. Our full suite of services for migrants means that we can help at any stage of the process - even including appeals. So for more information or to talk to us about using our service contact us today. We have a lot of experience in helping every type of client with their immigration query and there is no doubt that we can help you.