Bruneians living in UK longer than 6 months to pay annual fee for national health services

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BRUNEIANS coming to live, work or study in the United Kingdom for longer than six months from April 6 will need to pay an annual “health surcharge” to access UK's National Health Service (NHS).

Students will have an annually discounted rate of 150 pounds, while all others will have to pay 200 pounds.

The surcharge - which applies to all non-European nationals - has to be paid up front during the visa application process, and will need to cover the total period the visa is being applied for.

The British High Commissioner to Brunei David Campbell, in a press statement issued on the surcharge yesterday said “it is only fair that those coming to live or study in the UK make a financial contribution to the public services they are entitled to access, which is why this change has been introduced.”

He added that the surcharge has been kept lower than most private health insurance policies, and is also lower than medical insurance in the UK's “competitor nations”.

For overseas students, the surcharge represents “only a percentage of the total cost” of studying in the UK for a three year undergraduate course.

At the moment non-European nationals coming to work, study or join family members receive the same free medical treatment UK permanent residents do under the NHS. UK Visas and Immigration also informed that visas will not be issued to relevant applicants who do not pay the health surcharge.

When applications are refused, rejected or withdrawn the charge will be refunded.

The new changes will not affect any short term visitors travelling for less than six months, who would have to continue to pay at the point of receiving treatment from the NHS.

Further guidance and details of payment will be published on the from April 6.

The Brunei Times