MIDDLE MHK Howard Quayle believes he has exposed a ‘loophole’ in the law that allows people to come to the island, contribute nothing to the economy and take advantage of free healthcare and education.
In the House of Keys this week he said he had spoken to medical professionals in Noble’s Hospital and in GPs’ surgeries, who have said that as long as an island address was given to them, they will register anybody on the Isle of Man for their practice.
He asked Health Minister David Anderson MHK: ‘Would the minister support the introduction of an efficient residency act to block the abuse of our health service?’
While in terms of education, he said that ‘given the cost of £5,445 for a primary school place or £6,631 for a secondary place, does the (education) minister think that it is prudent that he should put in place a procedure that, when a school is enrolling a student, it should ascertain if the pupil and their family have the right to be on the island in the first place, in the form of either a work permit or the legal requirements needed, other than checking the address?’
And he asked whether a ‘right of residency’ certificate would help his department.
Mr Quayle said ‘all people who come to the Isle of Man to work and contribute to the island’s economy have the right to education facilities, but my questioning is of people who come to the Isle of Man who are contributing nothing and have come in under the radar, but there is a loophole that allows them to do this’.
He added: ‘For the record, there are 17 different first languages recognised at Ballakermeen School and it costs £630 a year to provide language help for a student who cannot speak English.’
Mr Anderson said the Department of Health was ‘not aware’ there were ‘many people abusing the system’, adding: ‘However, I am aware that there are slightly grey areas in people accessing NHS services.
‘However, they need more than just a work permit to show evidence that they are living here as a continued resident, to get onto a GP list.
‘There are several factors taken into consideration, before they are allowed to access a GP surgery and there have been and there is evidence of people that have been turned away from accessing GP surgeries, because they have not been able to give the evidence that we have required.
‘Our staff are very good at spotting cases where residence is not clear and flagging them up for investigation.’
Mr Anderson added: ‘I would agree it is an area that needs further investigation and my understanding is there are already meetings ongoing with External Relations to make sure the detail of this is clearer to all concerned.’
Education Minister Tim Crookall MHK said checks carried out on parents enrolling students included evidence of an address on the island with supporting documents and a review of the parents’ and child’s passport.
In the case of a non-EU parent’s children, the visa will be reviewed to ensure that it entitles them to be in the Isle of Man.
He said the department had to consider its duty under the 2001 Act, its responsibilities under the European Convention on Human Rights which provides the right not to be denied an education and the United Nations Convention on the Right of the Child which requires states’ parties to recognise the right of the children to education.
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Monday 20 May 2013
Temperature: 9 C to 14 C
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