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Mon, 19 October 2020

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Boris Johnson vows refunds for all NHS migrant workers who have had to pay health surcharge since it was scrapped

Boris Johnson vows refunds for all NHS migrant workers who have had to pay health surcharge since it was scrapped

The NHS migrant surcharge was subject to a major government u-turn last month.

2 min read

Boris Johnson has promised that all migrant workers in the NHS and social care who have paid a surcharge even after it was scrapped by the Government will have their money handed back.

The Prime Minister said those who had paid the health surcharge “since the 21st of May will be refunded”, amid warnings from doctors' groups that some staff are still being charged the levy despite a move to exempt them from it.

The policy sees workers coming to the UK from outside the European Economic Area asked to pay £400 towards the NHS.

It was the subject of a major government u-turn last month, when Mr Johnson bowed to Conservative backbench pressure and excluded overseas workers in health and social care from having to pay it.

But a poll by the Doctors Association, published by The Guardian earlier this week, said scores of NHS workers had had to pay the levy since the change of tack.

And the Royal College of Nursing demanded assurances that it “will apply to all health and care workers and their families“.

Pointing to the “recent u-turn” at Prime Minister’s Questions on Wednesday, Labour leader sir Keir Starmer claimed that despite the shift, “nothing” had been done to “drop this deeply unfair charge”.

And he said: “The Prime Minister minister said he would act. When's he going to do so?”

Hitting back, Mr Johnson said the Government had taken action to eliminate the charge, as he confirmed refunds would be forthcoming for those who had continued to contribute.

The PM told MPs: “I'm genuinely grateful for an important question because it is vital that people who are working on the front line, and NHS workers in particular, get the support that they need. And that's why I said what I said a few weeks ago.

“And what I can tell him is that NHS or care workers who have paid the the surcharge since the 21st of May will be refunded, and we are getting on with instituting, the new arrangements, as fast as we possibly can.”

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