Sweden: Illegal immigrants to get low-cost emergency health care

'Refugees in hiding' is Swedish for illegal immigrants.

Refugees in hiding will not be required to pay full price for emergency or urgently needed healthcare in the Skåne region of southern Sweden.

The regional council announced a decision on Tuesday which would allow refugees in hiding to pay a subsidized patient fee, similar to that currently offered to asylum seekers.

According to the country's health and medical care laws, everyone staying in Sweden has the right to emergency and urgent care. But while others pay 140 kronor ($24) for an ordinary visit to the doctor, it can cost 1,400 kronor for those who don't have the correct documentation, according to a UN report which criticized Sweden for breaching the human rights of, and discriminating against, refugees in hiding.

The situation results in healthcare being inaccessible for the approximately 15,000 refugees in hiding living in Sweden, according to the report.

The Skåne region further decided to offer cost-free health examinations for children staying in Skåne when asylum seekers are waiting for their residence permits based on family ties; for children seeking asylum to guardians with residence permits; and for certain newly arrived children who have received residence permits due to family ties.

The far-right Sweden Democrats were quick to register their opposition to offering subsidized healthcare to refugees in hiding.

"This is the most foolish proposal the region has ever agreed to," said Sweden Democrat Party Secretary Björn Söder during a council meeting, according to the Sydsvenskan newspaper.

Source: The Local (English)

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