MOFA stresses UK’s latest health surcharge
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.
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.