MOFA stresses UK’s lat­est health sur­charge

The China Post - - LOCAL - BY JOSEPH YEH

The Min­istry of For­eign Af­fairs (MOFA) yes­ter­day re­minded Tai­wanese na­tion­als of a re­cently launched pol­icy in the UK that asked all in­di­vid­u­als from out­side of Europe to pay an ex­tra health sur­charge if they are vis­it­ing the UK for longer than six months.

Speak­ing dur­ing a regular news brief­ing, Zhang Ming-zhong (

) , MOFA’s direc­tor- gen­eral of Euro­pean af­fairs, said the UK gov­ern­ment pre­vi­ously an­nounced that from April 6, all na­tion­als from out­side the Euro­pean Eco­nomic Area (EEA) go­ing to the UK for longer than six months will be re­quired to pay a “health sur­charge” as part of their visa ap­pli­ca­tion.

The health sur­charge will be 200 pounds per year, or 150 pounds per year for stu­dents, and can be paid on­line for the to­tal pe­riod of the UK visa, he noted.

Zhang said the lat­est pol­icy will af­fect Tai­wanese na­tion­als who visit the UK un­der the work­ing hol­i­day pro­gram, or study or work in the coun­try for more than six months.

R.O.C. na­tion­als who visit the UK un­der the visa-waiver pro­gram, how­ever, will not need to pay the health sur­charge, he noted.

Zhang noted



lat­est pol­icy also means that from April non-EEA vis­i­tors who use the Na­tional Health Ser­vice (NHS) in the UK will be charged 150 per­cent of the cost of their treat­ment.

This means that for a 100 pound pro­ce­dure, they could be billed 150 pounds, he noted.

The MOFA of­fi­cial, there­fore, re­it­er­ated the min­istry’s urge Tai­wanese trav­el­ers to the UK to take out proper med­i­cal in­sur­ance when vis­it­ing the coun­try be­cause med­i­cal ex­penses for for­eign­ers in the UK are be­com­ing even higher with the launch of the lat­est pol­icy.

The Bri­tish gov­ern­ment in­cluded Tai­wan in its visa-waiver pro­gram in March 2009.

The visa-waiver pro­vi­sion al­lows Tai­wanese trav­el­ers to en­ter the UK for busi­ness and plea­sure for up to 90 days with­out a visa.

Ac­cord­ing to a UK gov­ern­ment state­ment, the health sur­charge is part of the Im­mi­gra­tion Act, which be­came law last year, and will en­sure that mi­grants make a proper fi­nan­cial con­tri­bu­tion to the cost of their NHS care.

In Eng­land alone, use of the NHS by over­seas vis­i­tors is es­ti­mated to cost up to two bil­lion pounds a year — with 950 mil­lion pounds of this be­ing spent on tem­po­rary, non- EEA work­ers and stu­dents, the state­ment said.

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