BRUSSELS, 6 April 2017 – Ahead of World Health Day, PICUM highlights in a new report how cities across Europe help provide access to health care for all migrants in their communities who are shut out of the public health system.
Irregular migrants often have limited or no access to health care and fear going to the doctor because they might be reported to authorities. An increasing number of city governments recognise that denying migrants access to health care and other services if they have irregular migration status is detrimental to social policy goals, including social cohesion. Restricting health care access can have negative impacts on public health, and may counteract any progress made in reducing inequalities in health. It also results in higher costs, since migrants are forced to resort to emergency care rather than accessing more preventative care.
Michele LeVoy, PICUM Director, said:
“In a political climate that increasingly looks for ways to shut migrants out, cities have chosen to find ways to make services more inclusive. Those providing essential services such as health care, shelter and education should never be obliged by law to report irregular migrants. There needs to be a clear separation of service provision and immigration law enforcement.”
Jaume Asens, Barcelona Deputy Mayor on Citizenship, Participation and Transparency said:
“Barcelona is very committed to grant access to public health services to all citizens, especially those residents with an irregular status. Contrary to recent recommendations from the European Union to substantially increase the deportations of undocumented migrants, Barcelona will not collaborate in any expulsion process. Barcelona will protect all our neighbours including those that happen to be in an irregular situation, because above all, they are our citizens and neighbours, and deserve protection as human beings. Our aim is to facilitate regularization as the right path to integration.”
Notes to editors:
- The brief is available in English and German.
- See also: European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights (FRA): “Cost of exclusion from healthcare – The case of migrants in an irregular situation”.
- Watch here a web documentary about access to health care of undocumented migrants in Europe.
- Click here to sign a pledge to ensure access to services and justice for undocumented women.