Britain to impose healthcare fee on long-term visitors

July 3, 2013 at 12:53 AM

LONDON, July 3 (UPI) -- The British government plans to charge people from outside the European Union who plan to stay for at least six months a hefty healthcare fee, officials say.

Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt is to lay out the details of the plan Wednesday, the Financial Times reported. Officials said the 200 pound ($303) fee will be levied on top of visa fees.

Visitors who are in the country for shorter stays would be required to pay for visits to primary care doctors.

"We need to ensure that those residing or visiting the UK are contributing to the system in the same way as British taxpayers, and ensure we do as much as possible to target illegal migration," Hunt said. "We have been clear that we are a National Health Service, not an international health service and I am determined to wipe out abuse."

Hunt has also begun an audit to determine how much treating immigrants costs the National Health Service. The Nuffield Trust, an independent health research institute, says immigrants are less likely to use hospitals than other British residents because they tend to be young and healthy.

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