Support Volunteering – Help us extend Surcharge ExemptionType: Call to action
Topic: Immigration | Volunteering
Camphill has become a global movement with an international outlook since it was established in Scotland over 80 years ago. Camphill values its strong international links, and international volunteers make an important contribution to the charitable work of the Camphill communities in Scotland.
Nationals from other countries who wish to live and work in the UK are, subject to certain exceptions, required to pay an immigration health surcharge in order to access services under the NHS. The UK Government has granted an exemption from paying the Immigration Health Surcharge to health and social care employees from other countries.
Camphill Scotland and its partners across the UK are very concerned, however, that this exemption does not include international volunteers who support charities in the UK.
Hefty surcharge risks deterring volunteers
We believe that the immigration health surcharge will have an adverse impact upon the ability of all charities, including Camphill, to recruit international volunteers.
Emma Walker, Director of Camphill Scotland said:
Camphill settings across Scotland 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.
We believe that this surcharge is grossly unfair. A health surcharge of over £600 is a significant amount of money to find, particularly for young people.
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.
Parents have voiced their concerns over the health surcharge for young overseas volunteers. Roger and Barbara Sykes, from Camphill Loch Arthur, told us:
As parents of an adult supported tenant who has lived at the Loch Arthur Camphill Community for 14 years we have experienced the involvement of young volunteer co-workers, particularly from overseas, as particularly valuable.
They provide energy, stimulation and peer contact particularly for younger supported tenants. Their enthusiasm, social engagement and a variety of personal and working experiences greatly add to the “mix” of care and support resources available.
Last opportunity to extend surcharge waiver
The UK Government have already granted an exemption from paying the Immigration Health Surcharge to health and social care employees from other countries.
Will you join our call and ask for this exemption to be extended to include international volunteers who are helping to support the work of charities across the UK?
Tim, from Germany, tells us that volunteering with Camphill in Scotland was
the best decision I have ever made
Let’s ensure other young volunteers get the same opportunity.
Will you support our call and send an email this week?
This issue is due to be debated in the House of Lords next week. To add your voice to those calling for an exemption please:
- Send an email to Baroness Williams of Trafford, The Minister of State, the Home Office (you might like to adapt this template email)
- Send an email to Lord Wolfson of Tredegar, The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Ministry of Justice (you might like to adapt this template email)
- Send us your logo if your organisation would like to join over 50 other organisations across the UK who have joined our call.
- Read stories from our international volunteers who describe how they benefit from volunteering in Scotland
- Around 215 international volunteers are working in Camphill communities in Scotland, which provide social care and education to people with learning disabilities and other support needs.
- Read the Amendment which will be debated this week.
- The Amendment has been tabled on behalf of Camphill Scotland, the Health and Social Care Alliance Scotland (the ALLIANCE), the Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations (SCVO), the National Council for Voluntary Organisations (NCVO), the Northern Ireland Council for Voluntary Action (NICVA), YMCA Ireland, Volunteer Now (Northern Ireland), the Welsh Centre for International Affairs (WCIA), the Wales Council for Voluntary Action (WCVA) and our other partners, totalling 52 organisations across the UK.
- The immigration health surcharge (IHS) was set up in 2015, and enables those who pay it to access the NHS. By way of further background, the UK Government has provided the following information about the Immigration Health Surcharge: “Most non-EEA nationals applying for temporary leave to enter or remain in the UK for longer than 6 months must pay an IHS to the Home Office at the point of visa application. Income raised from the IHS goes to general UK government funds and is then distributed to devolved health administrations (including England) under the Barnett formula. It has raised over £1.5 billion since it was introduced. The IHS will also apply to EEA nationals moving to the UK after the end of the transition period (subject to ongoing negotiations with the EU) under the UK’s new points-based immigration system” – UK Government, Immigration health surcharge: guidance for reimbursement, (1 October 2020)
- In May 2020 the UK Government announced an Immigration Health Surcharge exemption for health and care staff workers. This exemption, however, does not include international volunteers working in, or applying to work in, the UK as volunteers in health and social care, or in other settings for charities based in the UK. Camphill Scotland and our partners are campaigning to ensure the UK Government extends the exemption to international volunteers.