Sweden to give illegal immigrants healthcare
Published: 28 Jun 2012 12:52 GMT+02:00
Updated: 28 Jun 2012 12:52 GMT+02:00
The Swedish government, together with the Green Party, on Thursday presented a framework agreement that will allow undocumented immigrants in Sweden to access state subsidized healthcare.
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“So-called undocumented immigrants have a legal right to subsidized healthcare,” Christian Democrat head and social affairs minister Göran Hägglund said at a Thursday morning press conference unveiling the migration policy agreement.
The healthcare agreement will give undocumented immigrants who entered Sweden illegally the same rights currently offered to legal asylum seekers.
Children up to 18 years of age will have the right to health coverage. Adults will also receive subsidized care for conditions that require urgent medical attention.
Maria Ferm of the Greens thanked the government for the cooperation on the issue, which her party says was key to a previous pledge to work with the centre-right Alliance parties on a common immigration policy.
“Children and adults are getting an extended right to healthcare and I want to say thank you that we are able to ensure an important step in human rights. The right to healthcare is a human right,” she said.
The original goal of the Green party was to provide the same healthcare rights for undocumented immigrants as those with permanent residence permits in Sweden.
Although this goal won't be achieved, Green Party spokesperson Åsa Romson sees the proposal as a step in the right direction.
“This has been a really important reform for the undocumented immigrants to have confidence in Swedish healthcare and to be able to get care when they need it, and to be able to turn to the hospital and health clinics,” she said.
The biggest success, according to her, is that children under 18 will have the same rights as Swedish children.
This means that they will not only have the right to emergency care, but also to dentistry and preventive care.
However, there still remain details that the Green Party are working on improving.
“There is, for example, undocumented immigrants’ right to education, which will be resolved shortly. But there will also be related to labour migration and the reunion of families,” Romson told TT.