General Grounds for Refusal: Owing a Debt to the NHS

Ever since 2013, the government has had a Visitor and Migrant NHS Cost Recovery Programme. “The programme’s overarching objective“, according to the Department of Health, “is to improve cost recovery and ensure that the NHS receives a fair contribution for the cost of the healthcare it provides to non-UK residents”. The Immigration Act 2014 and the National Health Service (Charges to Overseas Visitors) Regulations 2015 introduced the Immigration Health Surcharge and allowed NHS trusts in England to charge overseas visitors up to 150% for treatments in secondary care. The charging regulations were expanded in October 2017, forcing community services to also charge migrants and making provision for NHS trusts to request advance payments for non-urgent care. The objective of the plan, though, is not limited to increasing the income of the NHS. It is part of a broader plan to create a “hostile environment” for those without the right to stay in the UK, and thereby supposedly to reduce the number of migrants coming or staying in the UK. Unsurprisingly, therefore, owing a debt to the NHS is a ground for refusing applications for leave to enter or remain in the UK.
Read more: Freemovement,

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