The Guardian recently reported that a German PhD student was told she would be at risk of removal if she could not produce medical insurance documentation at the airport.
This is part of a larger issue, namely that EEA nationals have been living in the UK without appreciating that there may be additional requirements that they need to comply with in order to be lawfully resident. One of the main groups affected by this has been students who have not realised that they require comprehensive medical insurance.
A Home Office spokesman has stated that ‘“EU citizens will not be removed from the UK or refused entry solely because they do not have comprehensive sickness insurance.”’ This suggests that medical insurance is merely a technicality. However, it is important to note that this has not been written in any official policy.
Barrister Colin Yeo warns that the Home Office ‘are categorically NOT saying that they will recognise a right of permanent residence for a self sufficient person or student who did not have comprehensive sickness insurance, only that they will not be refused entry or removed.’
A failure to fully comply with the requirements of being lawfully resident in the UK may also have implications for any future immigration applications. We therefore advise EEA nationals to seek legal advice to ensure they are fully compliant with immigration laws. Additionally, in the light of the current political climate we advise EEA nationals residing in the UK to apply for registration certificates or permanent residence cards (as appropriate) at the earliest opportunity.
If you require legal advice and assistance please do not hesitate to contact us.