(Petition ends midnight on March 30th)
Starting in April, migrants and foreign students will have to pay extra for the NHS. £200 for migrants and £150 for students will be added to the cost of already prohibitively expensive UK visas.
This charge will apply across the board, including for the huge number of migrant workers in the NHS itself.
This is clearly the wrong way to deal with the NHS's funding problems.
Hurting the UK's reputation
"The new fee is bound to hit the already dipping market of Indian students visiting Britain for higher education."
(The Times of India: For 6-month stay in UK, pay health surcharge)
We live in an international world, where the long-term success of any country lies in its ability to cooperate with and support the international community. This is a complex web of relationships, but it undoubtedly begins at home.
Quite apart from the clear damage this policy will deal to the UK education sector, the many many first- or second-generation migrants living in the UK (and their friends and relatives) will be effected. Every time one of their friends or family members from overseas wants to come for an extended visit, they will have to pay more.
And the symbolic barrier is even more important than the financial one. The fact that the official position of the UK is now that migrants don't get the same level of such a basic need as healthcare looks incredibly racist, and will definitely make people think twice before deciding to visit the UK, or recommend it to their friends, or choose it as a place to do business.
To say nothing of the hugely damaging message the UK is sending to the international community, and the resulting effect on international business, this policy will almost certainly hurt the NHS financially. Fewer migrant doctors will want to visit the UK if they have to pay for the very service they are providing to others for free, which will leave our NHS even more unable to find decent doctors to hire.
Doing something about it
If you agree that this is a terrible policy, you can sign this petition until March 30th. After that, I guess there may be another petition.
Or, on May 7th, vote for a party that doesn't hate immigrants.