EU immigrants will have to register before accessing the NHS
Britain may be set to implement a “mandatory register” for its public services to European nationals in order to curb free riders in the system,says Immigration Minister Mark Harper.
The fear of free rider syndrome stems from EU restriction quotas that lift next year and might send the number of Romanian and Bulgarian immigrants arriving in the UK increasing up to 250,000 per annum.
“It’s not right people should come from overseas and have easy access to our welfare system. The problem is there are rules within the European Union and we have to abide by the rules,” said Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills, Vince Cable.
Under current EU rules, countries have a duty to treat emergency cases to protect human rights, with the ability to claim back the cost from the country of origin at a later date.
Immigration from countries with poor cancer survival rates and corrupt systems lacking investment have led to the political fear that immigrants will increasingly look to the UK for what looks like a tax-free meal.
Many residents, however, don’t share the same fears. Alina Costache, a PR in London, said: “I know there are concerns about EU citizens taking advantage of the NHS system here – but it seems when they do seek treatment they have to pay for it anyway.”
“And treatment in the UK would be a huge amount of money that most people couldn’t afford. I honestly don’t think it’s possible to take the system for a ride. Going abroad for treatment is too expensive, so people seek treatment at home but have the drugs sent from abroad,” she added.