FRA presents the report “Migrants in an irregular situation: access to healthcare in 10 EU Member States” to MEPs

On 17 October 2011, FRA presented the newly-published report "Migrants in an irregular situation: access to healthcare in 10 EU Member States"  in the European Parliament's Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs (LIBE), in Brussels. The report explores access to healthcare both in law and practice for irregular migrants in 10 EU Member States.

FRA presented the main findings of the report to the MEPs: among the 10 countries reviewed, only 5 provide free of charge emergency care to migrants in an irregular situation. In the 5 remaining countries, migrants are required to pay for medical care that is available cost free to nationals.

Four Member States are particularly inclusive and entitle migrants in an irregular situation to access primary and secondary healthcare at similar conditions as nationals. Nevertheless, in some Member States reporting duties or practices prevent migrants from seeking necessary healthcare.

FRA underlined that the healthcare needs of specific groups of irregular migrants, such as pregnant women and children. " We focused on these groups because they are entitled to special protection, as enshrined in International human rights law. But the reality of how this is applied on the ground varies a lot from country to country across the EU" FRA explained in the European Parliament.

The FRA report generated significant interest by MEPs. The presentation was followed by a lively debate, which amongst other things highlighted the important role played by local and regional authorities.