Politicians have intensified the public debate over restricting
asylum seekers’ access to health services.
Former transport secretary Stephen Byers told the Social Market
Foundation that anyone requiring access to Britain’s schools or
hospitals should show proof of entitlement. This would prevent
illegal immigrants taking advantage of public services, he
Byers added that anyone applying for asylum without documents, such
as a passport or application registration card, should be presumed
to be making an unfounded application.
Meanwhile, the Conservative Party proposed that incoming asylum
seekers should be screened for infections to ensure they could not
spread diseases or drain NHS resources. The Conservatives intend to
follow the Australian example where, in order to qualify for
residency, applicants should satisfy health requirements, such as
being free of tuberculosis.
Under the party’s plans, applicants should not pose a risk of
transmitting infectious disease to the public, must not create
undue demand on health resources and must not create a long-term
drain on the “public purse” before they can be given permission to
remain in the UK.
The Conservatives also suggest asylum seekers should be detained
until it was clear the criteria had been met.