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Comprehensive Sickness Insurance now required for Bulgarian and Romanian study work yellow cards | Immigration Matters

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The UK Border Agency has started compelling Bulgarians and Romanians to take out Comprehensive Sickness Insurance cover when applying for yellow card registration as a working student.

The insurance, a form of private medical cover, is a new requirement introduced as part of changes to the BR1 Yellow Card form in June.

The revised BR1 form does not make it clear that a student will need Comprehensive Sickness Insurance, as the actual question relates to those applying as ‘self sufficient’ EU applicants.

The requirement is being challenged by at least one migrant organisation which says that Bulgarian and Romanian citizens, as part of the European Union, should have access to the NHS.

No other students, for instance non-EU Tier 4 students, need Comprehensive Sickness Insurance to study in the UK.

Jo, a student administrator from Majestic College, a leading provider in NVQ vocational courses for Bulgarian and Romanian students, has seen a number of their recent BR1 yellow card applicants being asked to provide Comprehensive Sickness Insurance. Jo said:

‘Until recently insurance cover was not needed and our student’s yellow cards were being issued quickly.

‘But now the UK Border Agency caseworkers are insisting on sickness insurance as well as full employer details before issuing the yellow card.’

Romanian and Bulgarian citizens who exercise their Treaty Rights (under Article 39) and apply for an accession card as students taking vocational or sandwich courses (e.g. NVQ/QCF in Health and Social Care), are allowed to work full time, as stated on their Yellow Card registration certificates.

Bulgarian and Romanian students cannot work until their yellow card has been issued, but must have started the course and arranged employment if they are taking a vocational course which effectively supports them through their studies.

There are hundreds of jobs available in the UK especially in the care industry. One employer, who owns a chain of over 60 care homes and sheltered housing units for people with learning disabilities, said that he would ‘like to employ more Romanians and Bulgarians if he can find those with Yellow Cards (as students) who don’t mind working outside of London’.

What is Comprehensive Sickness Insurance? 

The UKBA help desk, Bulgarian and Romanian section, was not specific but said that comprehensive cover means you are covered against most eventualities including in and out patient treatment.  In other words a budget policy is probably not going to be sufficient, although many applicants have no doubt managed to obtain a yellow card using such a policy. 

The Home Office Guidance for Bulgarian and Romanian section caseworkers (ANNEX A) states:

‘Assessing whether an EEA national who claims to be a student or self sufficient person holds Comprehensive Sickness Insurance  

A. Acceptable evidence of CSI  

  • From 20th June 2011 applications from EEA nationals applying for documentation confirming their right to reside in the UK as a student or self-sufficient person must show that they have one of the following forms of evidence in order to demonstrate comprehensive sickness insurance:  
  • A comprehensive insurance policy document confirming that the applicant has private medical insurance. A proportionate approach should be taken when considering what is ‘comprehensive’. For example, a policy may contain certain exemptions but if the applicant is covered by the policy for medical treatment in the majority of circumstances then this will be sufficient.’

So where can you find Comprehensive Sickness Insurance?

Immigration Matters has been contacted by specialist online medical insurance provider, Active Quote, which appears to understand this market and the reasons why cover is needed.

Business Development Manager Tom Parker said they have been receiving a lot of enquiries from Bulgarians and Romanians. 

 Tom has spent ‘quite a lot time’ trying to find someone to clarify exactly what the UK Border Agency wants covered and has come up with a suitable plan which should be acceptable for Yellow Card applications.

The company, however, has since announced that it will no longer be offering sickness policies to Bulgarians and Romanians due to high cancellation rates.

To obtain a quotation for Comprehensive Sickness Insurance visit websites of leading insurers such as Aviva and AXA.

See also:

Health care workers needed in UK now

Immigration Rules for Bulgarian and Romanian nationals

See article:

UK Border Agency launch new website

The newly revised UK Border Agency website has a better look and feel and navigation seems faster, but previously published links to specific pages of the site may no longer exist.

For instance, the link for European Workers is now:

http://www.ukba.homeoffice.gov.uk/eucitizens/bulgaria-romania/work-permits/applying/

The link for ‘Bulgarian and Romanian nationals‘ is:

http://www.ukba.homeoffice.gov.uk/eucitizens/bulgaria-romania/work-permits/

The UK Border Agency and Home Office website contains a vast amount of information which can be difficult to wade your way through the guidance and Immigration Rules.

The navigation section for European workers from Bulgaria and Romania also appears to have been simplified although finding specific information is still a challenge.

Confusion remains over the need for Bulgarians and Romanians applying for BR1 Yellow Cards as students to take out Comprehensive Sickness Insurance cover. 

The BR1 Form in Section 9 states:

‘If sections 4 (Students) and 5 (Self-sufficient) have been completed: evidence of ‘Comprehensive Sickness Insurance’ cover in the UK and funds to show you are economically self-sufficient, e.g. a bank statement.’

In other words, the paragraph means you need comprehensive sickness insurance only if you are applying under both ‘student’ and ‘self sufficient’ sections.

Nevertheless, student applicants are being asked to take out private medical insurance policies and are being refused if they fail to supply the correct cover.

What is the correct insurance cover?

One insurance company manager told Immigration Matters that he has been trying to get clarification on the exact requirements from the UK Border Agency for several weeks.

There is no standard wording for comprehensive sickness cover in the insurance world and you cannot simply ask for a comprehensive sickness policy.

Insurance companies are reluctant to claim that a particular policy is comprehensive as there are dozens of variations of cover, options, exclusions and plans on offer.

Many students have already been refused yellow card on the grounds that they have not provided ‘evidence’ that they have comprehensive sickness insurance in place.

In some cases the student had not provided original documents or the documentation from the insurance company did not specify the schedule of benefits in the 12 page letters sent to applicants. For example, AXA, does not issue a letter containing a schedule of benefits and told a Romanian student that the UK Border Agency caseworker should ‘refer to the attached booklet’.

Another Romanian student was refused because her top of the range Aviva policy contained a number of ‘exclusions’ or exemptions including ‘pre-existing conditions’ and ‘alcohol abuse’.

See article: 

UK Border Agency launch new website

The newly revised UK Border Agency website has a better look and feel and navigation seems faster, but previously published links to specific pages of the site may no longer exist.

For instance, the link for European Workers is now:

http://www.ukba.homeoffice.gov.uk/eucitizens/bulgaria-romania/work-permits/applying/

The link for ‘Bulgarian and Romanian nationals‘ is:

http://www.ukba.homeoffice.gov.uk/eucitizens/bulgaria-romania/work-permits/

The UK Border Agency and Home Office website contains a vast amount of information which can be difficult to wade your way through the guidance and Immigration Rules.

The navigation section for European workers from Bulgaria and Romania also appears to have been simplified although finding specific information is still a challenge.

Confusion remains over the need for Bulgarians and Romanians applying for BR1 Yellow Cards as students to take out Comprehensive Sickness Insurance cover. 

The BR1 Form in Section 9 states:

‘If sections 4 (Students) and 5 (Self-sufficient) have been completed: evidence of ‘Comprehensive Sickness Insurance’ cover in the UK and funds to show you are economically self-sufficient, e.g. a bank statement.’

In other words, the paragraph means you need comprehensive sickness insurance only if you are applying under both ‘student’ and ‘self sufficient’ sections.

Nevertheless, student applicants are being asked to take out private medical insurance policies and are being refused if they fail to supply the correct cover.

What is the correct insurance cover?

One insurance company manager told Immigration Matters that he has been trying to get clarification on the exact requirements from the UK Border Agency for several weeks.

See also:

What is ‘Comprehensive Sickness Insurance’ and why do Bulgarian and Romanian student yellow card applicants need it to work in the UK?

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34 Responses to “Comprehensive Sickness Insurance now required for Bulgarian and Romanian study work yellow cards”
Read them below or add one

  1. As long as the private medical insurance covers you whilst in the UK for the duration of your studies I cannot see why the UKBA would refuse you for a yellow card.

  2. Can private comprehensive ins made outside UK be used as a proof of comprehensive health insurance.It includes the following risks:

    Information on getting medical help;
    Medical expenses for inpatient treatment;
    Medical expenses for outpatient treatment;
    Medical expenses for emergency assistance;
    Emergency dental care;
    Costs of repatriation of the Insured;
    Costs for transporting the remains of the Insured;
    Transmission of urgent messages;
    Supply of necessary medicines;
    Legal assistance;
    Tourist information.

    Coverage B includes Coverage A, extended to cover the following additional risks:

    Costs for a visit by a relative of the Insured in case of hospitalization of the Insured for more than 10 consecutive days;
    Early repatriation in case of death of a close relative of the Insured;
    Repatriation of minor children of the Insured in case of his hospitalization for more than 10 consecutive days;
    Please if someone can help me asap with an answer.
    Thanks

  3. EHIC is only valid for short courses. Since most Romanians and Bulgarians want to apply for a yellow card leading to a blue card, they need at least 12 months on a yellow card to qualify. In other words a short course will not help them obtain the blue card, which is the ultimate goal.
    Comprehensive Sickness Insurance is required and BR1 Yellow Cards applications will be refused without it. You could wait 2 or 3 months to be refused and then have to start all over again.

  4. As someone who has been tryingto apply for quite some time – as far as I undestand, EHIC is not valid because it actually turns you to the NHS, and the point of the whole thing is that they don’t want our bills paid by hte NHS. Thats the short of it

  5. Hi can any one help me please, I am in maternity leave at the moment, before going in maternity I work 9 months for one company,now I receive maternity pay, I have yellow card but I want to apply for the blue card, do anybody knows if this months of maternity is including in that 12 months to be able to apply for blue card? Or I nead to go back to work to finish 12months of work and study? It is a bit confused for me wtith this maternity time. Many thanks!!!

  6. Peter Elliott says :

    Is a EHIC considered to be comprehensive insurance cover? If not, why not?

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