A little about Gibraltar…
Gibraltar is actually an overseas territory of the United Kingdom, meaning it shares the monarchy and is under the protection of the British forces. It has a long history as a military base, on account of the fact that it lies at the point where the Mediterranean narrows to 14 km in joining the Atlantic. Strategically, this has always been sought after, as from it one can control any and all boats that enter the sea. It has belonged to the British officially since 1713, but in 2006 a new constitution was signed giving the population full self-governance. It has a population of just under 35,000 (as of 2019) and covers an area of 6.7 square kilometers.
So, now that you know a bit more about this tiny country, let us talk you through how the healthcare works there.
World War IIYou may not have been told in history lessons that Gibraltar played a big part in World War II, but it was actually the most heavily defended naval port in Europe. As we described above, from it you could control all ships entering the Mediterranean.
You’ve heard of a zebra crossingThe main road into Gibraltar actually crosses the runway of the International Airport. It is closed down for people and cars alike every time a plane takes off and lands.
ConspiracyThe Great Rock of Gibraltar is certainly a place of mystery. Locals may have you believe that a secret, natural tunnel exists from St Michael’s cave to the edge of North Africa in Morocco. Others believe that it is protected from radiation and a nuclear bomb blast, a place for British VIPs to seek refuge in the case of a nuclear attack.
The Healthcare System
The healthcare system is not unlike the healthcare system in the UK, in that it offers high quality medical services and its public insurance scheme is similar to the NHS. In Gibraltar, the government-run scheme is led by the Gibraltar Health Authority (GHA) and it provides free healthcare to all Gibraltar citizens and permanent residents. It covers primary, secondary and mental health costs and UK citizens and holders of the European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) are entitled to immediate healthcare free of charge for the duration of a “temporary residency”.
Other people who are eligible for this health coverage include: those that live in Spain for example and work in Gibraltar and retirees who move to Gibraltar (if they have preceding health arrangements with the UK). Otherwise, these services are limited to contributors to the Group Practice Medical Scheme (GPMS).
If you don’t qualify for the public insurance, or would like to access the advantages of the private facilities on offer, health costs can be very expensive. That is why private insurance is very important, it enables you to: choose the facility where you are treated; skip the queues in the public system; have the option of medical evacuation, either back to your country of origin or Spain on account of its proximity. In the case of Gibraltar, many people live nearby in Spain, so in order to cater for this, many private insurance schemes enable you to receive care in both countries - whichever is more convenient for you. That was a whistle-stop tour of how the healthcare system works in Gibraltar, now let us take you through the most common types of VISA, to find the best one that suits you.
Work Visa / Permit
If you are from the EEA or EU, then you do not need any kind of work permit to get a job in Gibraltar. If not, then you must apply for a work permit from the Employment Training Board (ETB). You must have received a valid job offer before you apply, then the ETB will decide whether to grant you this VISA - normally taking into account whether there is a Gibraltarian citizen alternative that would be able to do the job in question. The VISA lasts for 12 months, after which it needs to be renewed.
If you are from the EEA or Switzerland and wish to study in Gibraltar, then you do not need a VISA in order to do so. The reason why this does not stretch to the EU, is that Gibraltar plans to leave the EU alongside the UK. It is recommended that non-EEA nationals apply for a multiple entry Schengen VISA. For more information on this VISA, go to the following link: https://www.schengenvisainfo.com/schengen-visa-types/