United Kingdom

Updated 31.03.21

Healthcare rights of migrants

Asylum seekers: Asylum seekers are entitled to register with a general doctor. 

Free hospital treatment is not generally available to asylum seekers who are not on Section 95 or Section 4 support. Hospital doctors should not refuse treatment that is urgently needed for refused asylum seekers, but the hospital is required to charge for it.

In Scotland all asylum seekers are entitled to free comprehensive health care, including those refused asylum seekers not on Section 4 support and including the spouse/civil partner and any dependent children.


Refugees: All refugees with an active application or appeal are fully entitled to free NHS care. This includes primary care, secondary care, and emergency care.  

Refused refugees are not entitled to secondary care, unless it is considered necessary or urgent


Undocumented migrants: GP and primary care services are free of charge for anyone in England. 

Through the NHS, undocumented migrants can benefit from emergency care as well as care for certain infectious diseases with public health hazards. However, they have to prove their ability to pay. 

The cost can either be covered by the patient or taken out of the hospital’s budget. Can obtain free diagnosis and treatment of certain contagious diseases, such as TB and HIV, as well as sexually transmitted infections

Undocumented migrants with HIV or AIDS may be admitted if critically ill and in immediate danger, but they will not be eligible for further services after discharge

Free treatment of any physical or mental condition that is a direct result of torture, female genital mutilation (FGM), domestic violence or sexual violence (as long as you have not travelled to the UK for the purpose of seeking this treatment). This includes all ongoing treatment and psychological help that is needed as a direct result of the violence, FGM or torture.

HIV testing and treatment

Testing: Free and confidential for all, although in practice testing tends to be limited for those in prison.

Use the aidsmap European test finder to see where you can get tested for HIV. 

Treatment: Free for all, although access is limited for migrants and those in prison.

Country Statistics

Total Population: 68,131,084


Estimated migrant population: 8,543,120


Estimated refugee population (2019): 133,083


Estimated number of undocumented migrants (2019): N/A 


Main migrant populations (2020): India, Poland, Pakistan