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PLANS to charge migrants double to access the NHS are “outrageous and cynical,” human rights campaigners blasted today,
The Joint Council for the Welfare of Immigrants (JCWI) said plans to double the immigration health surcharge — rising from £200 to £400 a year or £150 to £300 for international students — were “a shameful attempt to stir up division and hatred.”
The charity accused the government of attempting to shift the blame for its failure in the health service onto migrants.
The new fees, which will come into force later this year, apply to those outside the European Economic Area (EEA) seeking to live in Britain for six months or more to work, study or join family.
JCWI head Satbir Singh said: “This is an outrageous and cynical attempt by the government to shift the blame for its own failure to deal with the crisis in the NHS.”
The Department of Health estimates the NHS spends £470 on average per person per year on treating surcharge payers.
It estimates that the increased charges may provide around an extra £220 million every year, with this money going back to NHS services.
Health Minister James O'Shaughnessy said: “Our NHS is always there when you need it, paid for by British taxpayers.
“We welcome long-term migrants using the NHS, but it is only right that they make a fair contribution to its long-term sustainability.”
But Mr Singh said he was ignoring the enormous net contribution of migrant taxpayers and workforce within the NHS.
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