National Union of Students (NUS) has launched a petition opposing the Government's proposal to introduce a charge for all non-EEA international students coming to the UK to use the NHS.
NUS believes that the introduction of healthcare charges of up to £200 per person per year of study is discriminatory, counter-intuitive and impractical. In particular, for postgraduate research students with families this could mean an additional visa fee of £3000 before even stepping foot into the UK.
According to the consultations, the Government spent £33 million treating foreign nationals in 2011, £21 of which were recovered. This represents a net cost of £12 million, and 0.01% of the NHS’ annual budget of £106 billion.
However, international students contribute a net benefit to the UK far greater- BIS estimated that international students contribute £7.9 billion to the UK economy each year.
The proposal to introduce a charge for all non-EEA international students coming to the UK to use the NHS “gives a message that international students are not welcome in the UK and will mean more students will choose to study elsewhere where Government policies and rhetoric increasingly favour international students,” the petition says.