Future uncertain for new volunteer health surchargeType: News
Topic: Brexit | Immigration | Volunteering
Published on: 25th November 2020
Camphill is a worldwide organisation with an international outlook, which regularly attracts volunteers from around the world to live and work in Camphill communities across Scotland. Camphill communities in Scotland look after around 600 people with learning disabilities and other support needs. There are currently around 250 international volunteers in Scotland living in Camphill communities, many of whom are young students who will volunteer within their host Camphill community for about a year.
UK Government proposes steep volunteer health surcharge
The UK Government is considering applying a health surcharge of over £600 which would affect international volunteers. There are many other organisations across the UK who also attract volunteers from overseas, and over 50 organisations across the UK joined our call for the health surcharge for overseas volunteers to be dropped.
An Amendment to the Immigration and Social Security Co-ordination (EU Withdrawal) Bill was tabled on behalf of Camphill Scotland and our partners by Baroness Jolly, a Liberal Democrat Peer in the House of Lords.
Emma Walker, Camphill Scotland’s Director said:
Volunteers are highly valued and appreciated in Camphill settings across Scotland, and we currently attract over 200 overseas volunteers every year. Most of these volunteers are young people who wish to experience life in Camphill in Scotland for a year.
There are many other countries who are eager to welcome their skills and dedication, and being asked to pay an immigration health surcharge of over £600 is likely to deter many young people from volunteering in the UK.
Minister considers volunteer exemption
In response to the tabled Amendment, a Ministerial meeting took place in November between the UK Government and Baroness Jolly to discuss her proposed extension of the immigration health surcharge exemption to include international volunteers. An exemption has already been approved for health care workers.
After the Ministerial meeting Baroness Jolly informed us that the UK Government did not reach a final decision, but has agreed that another Ministerial meeting should take place in the New Year.
Join our call to protect volunteering in Scotland
We welcome future talks between the UK Government and Baroness Jolly on our behalf. We will continue to make it clear that exempting international volunteers from paying a health surcharge of over £600 would help to maintain the UK as an attractive destination for volunteers.
Join our call and help ensure that young overseas volunteers can continue to experience and contribute to life in Camphill in Scotland.