The UK government has announced that health workers and caregivers from non-European Economic Area (EEA) countries will no longer have to pay a controversial fee for their medical care.
Immigration Health Surcharge is a tax paid by most non-EEA citizens who require temporary leave to stay in Britain. The government said there was a surcharge to “ensure that migrants make an adequate financial contribution to their cost [National Health Service (NHS)] care.”
Priti Patel, secretary of the United Kingdom, said that the accusation will be canceled for SSN workers and support staff, in a tweet released Thursday.
The government’s sharp change in policy came after opposition leader Keir Starmer called on British Prime Minister Boris Johnson to withdraw the accusation for non-EEA workers during an exchange in parliament on Wednesday.
Johnson initially defended the commission during the session, saying the surcharge was “the right way forward.”
“I challenged the Prime Minister about it yesterday, to the Prime Minister’s Questions [and] asked him to reconsider, “Starmer said Thursday in a video posted on Twitter.
“He has now made a turnaround. This is a good thing, a victory for common decency.”
The British government has also extended its mourning program to NHS support staff and social workers.
The scheme allows members of the non-EEA family of NHS staff who died of coronavirus to obtain immediate indefinite leave to remain in the UK.