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Author Topic: Registering with a GP on an EEA Family Permit  (Read 2156 times)
siviusx
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« on: February 17, 2009, 10:39:32 PM »

Dear all,

I've read most of the "registering with a..." threads but have come across nothing quite like my situation, as I will not have a 'visa leading to settlement' according to my GP.

I am myself entitled to care on the NHS, as I am a:

a) full-time student on a course of 3 years;
b) part-time worker for the past year and a half;
c) legal UK resident for much, much longer than 12 months.

However: I'm Dutch, and the EU equivalent of the "spousal visa" is the 6 month EEA family permit.  Once in the UK, we have the option of applying for a 5 year residency card, but these take approximately 6-9 months to be processed at the moment, meaning that it will take between 6 months and a year for her to have 'proof' in her passport that she's here for longer than six months.

In preparation for my partner's move here, I went and asked my GP some questions about what they needed to see for her to register (so that we could be sure to not accidentally send that to the Home Office for EEA2 purposes) and the first thing they flagged up was permission to be here for over 6 months, so a valid visa of some kind.  I said she wouldn't get one of those.  So, then she must just be a visitor.  No, she's coming to live here.  And so the circular argument starts!

They don't seem particularly amenable to any sort of discussion centering on the fact that we will be MARRIED, and I'm not leaving until at least October 2010, so CLEARLY she's not leaving before then either; I've pointed out to them that I can ask for an extension on this 6 month visa once she's in country that will be valid for 5 years; I've even valiantly tried to talk sense into them re: the exercise of EU Treaty Rights and that what her passport says is totally irrelevant since her right to the NHS is basically an extension on MY right to the NHS, through our marriage.

Short of yelling, or sending them a copy of my EU law textbook with the NHS Overseas Visitor's regulations appended (which won't help), I don't really know what to do.

Does anyone have any suggestions on where I can take this?  And, would it be really peculiar for my partner to register with a different GP than I myself was registered with--I worry that it's like asking for trouble because if they find out I'm not a registered patient, they'll ask her why not and be told that my GP refused to register her.  Cue EEA law circus again.

Any experience with this would be appreciated!
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julia_atlanta
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« Reply #1 on: February 17, 2009, 10:40:56 PM »

I registered with a GP on an EEA family permit and they could have cared less. You have the right to live and work there and receive healthcare. I'm not sure what they're on about!

Editing to qualify this statement after some research -- your right to receive healthcare depends on if you're working (and possibly studying but not sure) in the host county (UK in this case). This is to avoid overtaxing any one system by people fleeing a perceived "lesser" healthcare system.
« Last Edit: February 17, 2009, 11:00:35 PM by julia_atlanta » Logged

julia_atlanta
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« Reply #2 on: February 17, 2009, 10:41:58 PM »

Prefacing this with, I didn't get this from UKBA but http://static.advicenow.org.uk/files/eea-2009-final-59.pdf -- look at page 6 under getting medical treatment.

"If you are living here as a worker or
you’re self employed or in business
then you are entitled to the full range
of NHS treatment, without the need
for an EHIC. "

As I'm understanding it, your family have the same rights as you... Now, if you're not working then you have to have your own insurance it seems... The whole not being a burden on the system instead of your own countries system. If she's working in the UK then its a no-brainer... the only thing to clarify is that she is supposed to get NHS treatment if *you're* working.

Page 7 gives a phone number to call to ask advice from ukba as well as a url for eea nationals: http://www.ukba.homeoffice.gov.uk/eucitizens/

Hope some of this info is useful.
« Last Edit: February 17, 2009, 10:54:18 PM by julia_atlanta » Logged

siviusx
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« Reply #3 on: February 17, 2009, 10:57:20 PM »

Julia,

Good to hear that some people have been successful, which at least means that this is once again just localized bad luck with people not knowing about EU law.

I'll print out some materials on the UKBA website that illustrate that the EEA rights are based on our marriage and not on what her passport says, but might have to get the PCT involved.  My biggest fear, however, is that they also know sod-all about the interaction between NHS law and EU law, and that they'll basically turn me around.  This is rather specific paranoia; the last time I called them, asking a question about my medical card, they asked me if I had an EHIC.

I replied, "of course I do...  Courtesy of the NHS, because I LIVE HERE and after 3 years am probably not a 'visitor' from another EEA member state."  I did win that argument, though I'll admit that it was a bit of an unfair one because I'm getting a PhD in European Law and teach this stuff to 19 year olds 2 times a year.

Edit: thanks for those links, but I don't think that the first one actually represents a correct interpretation of the law, and the EU Signpost service has my back on this.  Basically, what that guidance is trying to argue is that it would be unfair if EEA students were entitled to the NHS.  That may be, but if the UK has a problem with that, it needs to change its 'access to NHS' laws.  Otherwise, the law says that 'students' have this right without qualifications other than length of course; to suddenly start denying the right to European students would be discrimination on the basis of nationality.  Universities, in any event, basically don't seem to agree on this point either: EEA and course shorter than 6 months, entitled on the basis of EHIC; EEA and course longer than 6 months, entitled period + family.  So I should be fine!
« Last Edit: February 17, 2009, 11:10:43 PM by siviusx » Logged
JohnL
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« Reply #4 on: February 18, 2009, 09:25:50 AM »

Quote from: siviusx
Does anyone have any suggestions on where I can take this?  And, would it be really peculiar for my partner to register with a different GP than I myself was registered with--I worry that it's like asking for trouble because if they find out I'm not a registered patient, they'll ask her why not and be told that my GP refused to register her.  Cue EEA law circus again.

Anyone faced with a refusal to register as an NHS patient, at a GPs surgery ..... because of immigration status ..... needs to do the following. Say that you wish to make a complaint, and could they kindly give you the contact details of the local PCT ... Primary Care Trust. At this stage, given the GPs surgery really doesn't wish to get involved in having to deal with a formal complaint, they usually back down and the person gets registered. However if the GPs surgery does persist, do indeed complain to the PCT. And invariably that will have the desired effect, and not only that, lead to better staff training at the GPs surgery involved in the initial refusal.

However do be aware that GPs surgeries, and this is nothing to do with immigration status, are only permitted to take so many patients per doctor, and if their lists are full, they can decline to register any more patients. So if the refusal to register is because of full lists, then that is an entirely different matter.
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John
siviusx
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« Reply #5 on: February 18, 2009, 10:39:37 AM »

Hi John,

Thanks for that tip.  And while I know they could say no because they're full, they're a university health centre and thus probably couldn't hold up that argument to students (and wives) in their catchment area!

You thus agree that there's no immigration-based reason as to why my partner shouldn't be allowed to register on an EEA family permit if we indicate it'll lead to settlement?
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JohnL
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« Reply #6 on: February 18, 2009, 10:59:32 AM »

I shall merely confirm that the holder of an EEA Family Permit is entitled to use the NHS.
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John
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« Reply #7 on: February 19, 2009, 07:18:08 PM »

Just wanted to add that I registered with a GP on my EEA Family Permit with no problems at all.  They didn't even take a look at my passport.   

Undecided
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springhaze
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« Reply #8 on: February 19, 2009, 07:30:13 PM »

Just wanted to add that I registered with a GP on my EEA Family Permit with no problems at all.  They didn't even take a look at my passport.  

Undecided

I'm on a spouse visa, but my GP surgery didn't look at my passport either, once I showed them my water bill I was in!  These things vary so much from surgery to surgery...it seems to be luck of the draw whether you get one that will give you a hard time!
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Now a triple citizen!

Student visa 9/06-->Int'l Grad Scheme 1/08-->FLR(M) 7/08-->ILR 6/10-->British citizenship 12/12
kate_mate
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« Reply #9 on: February 19, 2009, 07:57:26 PM »

These things vary so much from surgery to surgery

Very true! Not only was I asked to show my visa in order to register, they also asked me to bring in my ILR to show them the last time I was there, since their records showed that my FLR was about to expire.
« Last Edit: February 19, 2009, 08:02:28 PM by kate_mate » Logged
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