The COVID-19 pandemic has had a significant impact on many industries all over the world and the education sector is one that is witnessing major changes.
For Indian students and their parents, health and well-being is a number one priority, particularly in light of the global health crisis. While pursuing UK Higher-Education opens up multiple opportunities for students, making a world of difference to their future careers, gaining access to emergency healthcare services overseas is also a crucial aspect that needs to be considered while living in the nation.
As such, the announcement about the Immigration Health Surcharge (IHS) by the UK government is a welcome relief for students from India that aspire to study in the UK to access world-class education programs.
The IHS exempts Indian students from paying additional fees to access the UK’s National Health Service (NHS).
Students would be able to access health facilities, including advice from a local doctor and any emergency services, free of charge if they properly comply with the health surcharge for the period of their immigration permission.
The IHS is a part of the UK visa application and adds £ 300 a year for student and youth mobility visas.
Students can access facilities like consultation from local doctors, emergency services and required hospital treatment under comprehensive health coverage by NHS, if they comply with Immigration Health Surcharge.
What does the NHS cover for indian students in the UK?
- The state-funded National Health System, the NHS, is highly valued by residents, including both British citizens and international students.
- For Indian students to access NHS services, they have to register with a General Practitioner (GP) Doctor when they arrive in the UK.
- Once registered, they would need to visit their GP Doctor for any health concern, to gain a referral to see a specialist or an appropriate hospital department if necessary.
- Along with doctor consultations, students can also take the benefits of a wide range of community health services covering vaccinations, women’s health clinics, medical treatment to parents of young children, family planning, contraception and sexual health. However, they will be required to pay for prescribed medicines and other GP services such as travel vaccinations, dental, and optical treatment.
With comprehensive medical facilities at the disposal of Indian students through the NHS, families can be reassured about their wellbeing and the decision of choosing the UK as a Higher Education destination for their children. After all, considering the ongoing impact of COVID-19, healthcare is going to be one of the key factors influencing the decision to study abroad.
How are UK universities, including Study Group Centers, gearing up for a safe return?
As UK universities start the new academic year in September 2020, with a blended approach to teaching and learning via online lectures, they are emphasizing the safe re-opening of university campuses in association with the nation’s public health officials.
Campuses are investing not just in providing high-quality online teaching but also in public health measures and virtual learning provision.
“Indian families can confidently choose to study in the UK as the country is also known for its excellent health service. Hassle-free access to it through the Immigration Health Surcharge can be a vital factor for the students who are gearing up to take the leap for their education and careers. ”
– The writer is Managing Director UK / EU for Study Group