Monday

22nd May 2017

UK moots blocking health access for EU migrants

EU migrants could be prevented from using Britain's National Health Service (NHS) under government measures to dissuade Romanian and Bulgarian citizens moving to the UK.

Mark Harper MP, immigration minister, indicated on Monday (28 January) that migrants without a job could be blocked from using NHS services and forced to have private health insurance.

Dear EUobserver reader

Subscribe now for unrestricted access to EUobserver.

Sign up for 30 days' free trial, no obligation. Full subscription only 15 € / month or 150 € / year.

  1. Unlimited access on desktop and mobile
  2. All premium articles, analysis, commentary and investigations
  3. EUobserver archives

EUobserver is the only independent news media covering EU affairs in Brussels and all 28 member states.

♡ We value your support.

If you already have an account click here to login.

  • Harper: 'We have a National Health Service, not an international health service' (Photo: surroundsound500)

The government is also considering whether to deport migrants who do not find a job within three months.

"EU students and those that are self-sufficient should not be a burden on the host member state, which means they should have things like health insurance. We have a National Health Service, not an international health service," Harper said.

Hsrper spoke in the context of a British debate on what to do about Bulgaria and Romania.

The two countries joined the EU in 2007, with a number of EU countries, including Britain, putting in place transitional rules limiting their right to live and work elsewhere in the EU.

But the rules expire at the end of 2013 and it is impossible under EU law to continue them.

Speaking with reporters during a daily government press briefing on Tuesday (29 January), David Cameron's spokesman admitted that the government is looking at ways to curb economic migration.

"The issue here is around dealing with potential damage to the UK's labour market and potential scope for curbing immigration to that end," he said.

He added that "we're in the process of considering what we may be able to do. Clearly there is a European legal framework within which we have to operate. Clearly there may be some areas where we may want to co-operate with other member states."

A study released earlier this month by MigrationWatch, an influential group that lobbies in favour of tighter control of immigration, estimated that 250,000 Romanian and Bulgarian citizens could arrive in the UK over the next five years.

MigrationWatch claims that Britain has seen net migration of 3 million since 1997.

It also issued a statement that the coalition was "very conscious of the previous government’s catastrophic under estimate of immigration from Poland and other east European countries in 2004."

The group's chairman, Sir Anthony Green, warned that migration levels were "likely to be on a scale that will have significant consequences for housing and public services."

The Conservative-led coalition is anxious to keep to its ambitious target to limit net migration under 100,000 per year.

According to the UK's Office of National Statistics, net migration between March 2011 and 2012 stood at 183,000, well down on 242,000 from the previous year.

UK drafts plans to limit Bulgaria and Romania migrants

The UK government is drafting a work permit scheme aimed at limiting the number of Bulgarian and Romanian jobseekers coming to Britain after the two countries join the EU, with both interior and finance ministries in favour of a regime similar to one already in place for other third country nationals.

Europeans say they are tolerant, but oppose immigration

Europeans like to think of themselves as being liberal and tolerant, but at the same time oppose immigration, particularly from countries outside the EU, a poll carried out in Britain, France, Germany, Poland and Spain shows.

EU and US discuss in-flight laptop ban

A meeting between US and EU officials in Brussels on possibly imposing a laptop ban on commercial flights was described by one senior Trump administration official as "robust".

Portugal held up as symbol of EU recovery

Portugal to sail out of troubled waters after eight years of financial crisis, EU commission predicted, amid broad but "fragile" recovery in European economy.

EU wary over Ukrainian weapons in South Sudan

Ukraine, which had signed an EU arms embargo on South Sudan, has since sold attack helicopters used by the government forces in Juba against civilians and hospitals.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Dialogue Platform"The West Must Help Turkey Return to a Democratic Path" a Call by Fethullah Gulen
  2. ILGA-EuropeRainbow Europe 2017 Is Live - Which Countries Are Leading on LGBTI Equality?
  3. Centre Maurits CoppietersWhen You Invest in a Refugee Woman You Help the Whole Community
  4. Eurogroup for AnimalsECJ Ruling: Member States Given No Say on Wildlife Protection In Trade
  5. European Heart NetworkCall for Urgent Adoption of EU-Wide Nutrient Profiles for Nutrition & Health Claims
  6. Counter BalanceInvestment Plan for Europe More Climate Friendly but European Parliament Shows Little Ambition
  7. Mission of China to the EUPresident Xi: China's Belt and Road Initiative Benefits People Around the World
  8. Malta EU 2017EU Strengthens Control of the Acquisition and Possession of Firearms
  9. International Partnership for Human RightsThe Cost of Speaking Out: Human Rights Violations Committed in Belarus
  10. ACCABanishing Bias? Audit, Objectivity and the Value of Professional Scepticism
  11. Nordic Council of MinistersNew Oslo Climate Declaration Focuses on Rising Temperatures in the Arctic
  12. European Healthy Lifestyle AllianceAbdominal Obesity: A Causal Risk Factor for Cardiometabolic Diseases