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By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

10/7/2013 (9 months ago)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

New bill designed to cut down on illegal immigration and health tourism.

A bill presented in British Parliament would end free medical care for illegal immigrants by charging foreigners to access health services and turning away anyone who is in the country illegally.

A new bill before Parliament would end free access to the National Health System for illegal immigrants.

A new bill before Parliament would end free access to the National Health System for illegal immigrants.

Highlights

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

10/7/2013 (9 months ago)

Published in Europe

Keywords: National Health System, England, UK, illegal, immigration



LONDON, UK (Catholic Online) - If you are a foreigner visiting England, be prepared to show proof of citizenship before being given a NHS number, the item you need to receive free health services in the country.

A bill designed to cut down on health tourists and illegal immigration has been presented to Parliament as part of a package designed to crack down on people who are residing in the country illegally.

According to the bill, doctors will first have to check the immigration status of a patient who does not have a NHS number before they are authorized to provide treatment. Naturally, the proposal has doctors, among others upset. Doctors resent that they could be forced to participate in immigration enforcement.

Others say that healthcare should be provided no matter what. Defenders of the bill say that emergency care is still ensured.

England has become a destination for health tourists, foreigners who travel to the country to have procedures done for various reasons. These health tourists then receive the benefits of the national healthcare system but without having to pay any of the costs. To break down this practice, Parliament would pass a law that would ensure they must pay to access the system.

Right now, the levy is set at £200 for students from outside Europe. Immigrants from within the European Union would not have to pay.

Meanwhile, other restrictions have been proposed including tougher fines on employers who hire illegal immigrants as workers and fines for landlords who rent to them.

The bill is a step taken to close a common exploit of the free National Health Service.

Estimates do not suggest the bill will generate much in revenues, but it will discourage use of the system from people who are not entitled to it, this saving anywhere from £100 to £300 million per year. It will also discourage illegal immigration and health tourism to England while encouraging those in the country illegally to depart because they will lose most access to healthcare.

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