A number of MPs have put their name to a suggested amendment to the Immigration Bill that would see new restrictions on people with HIV visiting the UK.
The amendment, which has been proposed by Phillip Lee MP (con), would place new restrictions on people with HIV and Hepatitis moving to or working in the UK.
A number of other MPs have supported the ammendment, including: Stephen Phillips, Stephen Barclay, Tracey Crouch, Dominic Raab, Graham Brady, Charlotte Leslie, Mark Field, Nigel Mills, Jonathan Djanogly, Chris Kelly, Bob Blackman, Jonathan Lord, Craig Whittaker, Conor Burns, Karl McCartney, Sir Gerald Howarth and Sarah Wollaston.
It is worth noting that two of the MPs involved are former doctors, but no longer practise. Perhaps a good thing in our opinion.
The proposed amendment is as follows:
- The Secretary of State may by order provide that persons who apply for immigration permission must demonstrate that they are not carriers of any of the prescribed pathogens listed in subsection (2).
- The prescribed pathogens are—
(a) Hepatitis B;
(b) HIV (Human Immunodeficiency Virus);
(c) such other pathogens as the Secretary of State may prescribe by order under this section.’.
The UK has signed the June 2011 Declaration on HIV and AIDS under which member states are encouraged to “eliminate HIV-related restrictions on entry, stay and residence.”
Daisy Ellis, Head of Parliamentary & Public Affairs at Terrence Higgins Trust (THT), said:
“It’s outrageous that a group of MPs are even proposing such an un-evidenced amendment. If implemented, it would represent the most draconian policy enforced on people with HIV by this country to date.”
“It is to the UK’s credit that its Government, whatever its political stamp, has consistently refused throughout the past 30 years to put in place HIV-related border controls. Such a poorly thought through about-face would take UK HIV policy into a new Dark Age.”
Deborah Jack, Chief Executive of the National AIDS Trust (NAT), says:
“This amendment shows that there remains a shameful lack of understanding about HIV among some of our elected representatives.
“UNAIDS has shown conclusively that entry restrictions on people living with HIV do not protect public health and are a wasteful diversion in the fight against HIV. And far from being ‘drains’ on the public purse – as this amendment seems to suggest – people living with HIV contribute hugely to the UK’s society and economy.
“The UK has for 30 years resisted entry restrictions and to introduce them at this stage would set us squarely against the international trend to overturn such rules. This is HIV prejudice in its purest form.
“If these MPs are really interested in protecting public health through immigration policy, they would oppose the current Department of Health plans to limit migrant access to primary care services, which are vital for disease prevention and early treatment. They would support efforts to reduce the unacceptable high rates of late and undiagnosed HIV in our community.”
Michel Sidibé, Executive Director of UNAIDS, has previously said on the issue:
“One of the most long-standing and disturbing indicators of discrimination against people living with HIV has been restrictions on entry, stay and residence based on positive HIV status. We must eliminate such restrictions as well as other punitive laws that demean people living with HIV and block effective responses to AIDS.“
beyondpositive urges each of you to write your MP and object in the strongest terms to this amendment to the Immigration Bill. You can find contact details for your MP at http://www.theyworkforyou.com/