Visa Restrictions Planned For Those With NHS Debt
Partners of migrants from non-EU countries may be stopped from entering the UK if they have an NHS debt, according to media reports.
The UK government is expected to announce a tightening of rules that restrict visas from being granted to certain family members of migrants who have such debts.
A report from the National Audit Office (NAO) found that the Department of Health would not achieve its goal of recovering up to £500 million of overseas visitor NHS costs if charging rules were not changed.
The government is considering refusing entry to partners of non-EU migrants to the UK if they have outstanding debts of £500 or more with the NHS, according to a report in The Telegraph.
Citing other media reports the Telegraph said: “The Home office is expected to announce the new measures…and the new rules will become law within months.
According to the Telegraph, a source told the Sun newspaper: “This is a tightening of the rules. If someone has come to Britain previously, run up a debt of £500 or more, gone home, then apply for a family visa, they could be refused.”
A report released by the NAO at the end of last month said Hospital Trusts faced a big challenge in recouping these costs from visitors who had treatment from the NHS and then returned home, without paying.
Head of the NAO Amyas Morse said it was estimated that trusts recover around half the amounts they charged directly to patients, mainly visitors from outside the EEA.
He added: “If current trends continue and the charging rules remain the same, the Department will not achieve its ambition of recovering up to £500 million of overseas visitors’ income a year by 2017-18 and faces a potential shortfall in the region of £150 million.”