Delivering on a pledge made by the Prime Minister in May, overseas NHS and care workers are now able to claim their reimbursement from the immigration health surcharge (IHS).
The reimbursement scheme was brought in to ensure tens of thousands of international health and care staff who worked tirelessly throughout the coronavirus pandemic in UK health and care settings are exempt from paying the IHS to use the NHS themselves.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson made the pledge to introduce the exemption in May, with the reimbursement process now coming into effect.
The IHS allows non-European Economic Area nationals to access the NHS on broadly the same basis as UK residents if they are seeking to work, study or join family members for more than six months.
The new Tier 2 health and care visa launched by the Government in August exempted eligible staff from paying the IHS.
The new reimbursement scheme goes further to ensure that staff not covered by the visa, but who have worked in the NHS or care sector since March 31, are able to claim reimbursement for themselves and their dependants, even if they paid the surcharge before this date.
Those eligible can now apply online and access guidance on claiming the reimbursement, which will be paid in 6-month instalments.
Secretary of State for Health and Social Care Matt Hancock said: “I am incredibly proud of all the fantastic health and care workers from all over the world we have working in our NHS who provide such an invaluable service, from cleaners to care workers to porters.
“We can now deliver on our promise as the reimbursement scheme will benefit those who have given so much this year to protect us all from Covid-19.
“This will encourage overseas health and care workers to continue to come and work in the UK and help those already living here to provide first-class care and support for patients.”
Applications will be processed by the NHS Business Services Authority (NHSBSA) and UK Visas and Immigration.