Foreigners will have to prove that they are entitled to be in the country before they are given access to GPs and hospitals, while foreign students will have to make a “contribution” to the health service.
The measure will form the centrepiece of tough new legislation designed to reduce numbers entering the country and put pressure on illegal immigrants to leave.
A senior government source said it was an attempt to target people who have no right to be here.
Restricting access to the NHS is highly contentious politically.
GPs will be told they have to check that people seeking to register with them are here legally and issue only time-limited “NHS numbers” — the proof of entitlement to free care — to those who do not have a permanent right to be in the country.
Separately, students from outside Europe will have to pay a £200 levy before they can access the NHS.
Hospitals will be told to step up attempts to pursue “health tourists” for the cost of treatments they receive.
The measures will be outlined in the Immigration Bill, which is due to be put before Parliament within days.
It represents one of the most wide-ranging and ambitious pieces of legislation since the Coalition took office, spanning six Whitehall departments: health, local government, business, and transport, as well as the Home Office and the Ministry of Justice.
However, it will not affect migrants from inside the European Union, which is now the biggest single source of new arrivals.
Other elements of the Bill include:
• A ban n councils giving social housing to individuals with no connection to an area, with penalties” if the rules are not followed; • Fines of up to £3,000 if landlords do not conduct thorough background checks on their tenants to ensure they have a legal right to live in Britain, and fines of up to £20,000 for every illegal worker employed by unscrupulous businesses; • A victory for The Sunday Telegraph’s campaign to end the farce that sees foreign criminals dodging deportation by appealing using the Human Rights Act. Instead the law will allow immediate deportation and appeals from outside the country unless criminals can show they face “serious and irreversible harm” in their home countries.
The plans are intended to address what ministers see as public concern over the impact of the migration policies of the last Labour government.
The Bill is the Coalition’s flagship legislation for the year and Conservatives hope that the package of measures will allow them to win back voters who have been tempted to support the UK Independence Party.
“If you are not entitled to our free National Health Service you’ll have to pay for it,” a source said.
“If you are an illegal immigrant you won’t be able to rent a council flat and you won’t be able to rent a private sector flat.”
Many of the restrictions on free health treatment are likely to be opposed by some doctors, who have previously resisted attempts to make them “gatekeepers” to the NHS.
At present anyone registering for the first time at a GP is given an NHS number, which allows them to receive free treatment.
Under the reforms, they will have to prove they are entitled to be here to gain the number. By having no NHS number, they will be unable to receive anything except emergency treatment.
Jeremy Hunt, the Health Secretary, said: “We need to ensure that those residing or visiting the UK are contributing to the system, and that we do as much as possible to target illegal migration.
"We have a National Health Service not an international health service and I am determined to wipe out abuse in the system.”
The foreign students levy will end the current situation which allows free access to the NHS for all students here for more than six months.
Currently 300,000 students from outside Europe are studying at British universities.
This post was modified from its original form on 07 Oct, 2:54
Diane, yes the immigrants be them Legal or not, will have prove a number of points one main point is that they are Legal and they have been allowed to stay in the UK,
In additions they must be in work and contributing to the NHS, there is a number of Sevrices that the UK are cracking down on, Housing, Schools, Welfare Benefits,
Indeed, any appeals where the UK has turned down a Immigrant the right to stay in the UK, will heard after the Immgrant as been deported and not while the Immigrant is in the UK. there is many restricts the UK Government is making under the New Bill,
I am so glad to see that Ray and certainly hope the US will look at what the UK is doing and institute similar measures. It is surprising how many from South American come to the US for education, not to mention the Middle East.