Thousands of migrants have died while trying to reach Europe. AFP

Spain’s parliament on Thursday approved a draft law which restores free healthcare for undocumented migrants, a right removed in 2012 by the former conservative administration.

While the Socialists have a minority of just 84 seats in the 350-seat assembly, the measure introduced by Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez shortly after he came to power in June passed with 177 votes in favour and 133 against.

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It grants undocumented migrants access to public health “under the same conditions as people who have Spanish nationality.”

Sanchez’s conservative predecessor Mariano Rajoy withdrew the right to public healthcare for undocumented migrants in 2012 as part of a programme of spending cuts as Spain grappled with a financial crisis.

Several regional governments responded by giving undocumented migrants access to healthcare and Rajoy’s government in 2015 reinstated access to emergency healthcare.

“Health does not know borders, identity papers, or work permits,” Health Minister Carmen Monton told lawmakers before the measure was voted on.