22 May 2012

UK visa applicants to be screened for TB

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The Home Office has confirmed that tuberculosis screening will become part of the UK visa application process for applicants from countries with high incidence rates.

UK visa

Immigration Minister Damian Green said cases of tuberculosis in the UK were at their highest for 30 years.

The test will be introduced for UK visa applicants who intend to stay in the UK for at least six months and is expected to save as much as £40 million over 10 years.

Immigration Minister Damian Green said the new tests were necessary as 9,000 new cases of tuberculosis in the UK reported last year meant that TB was now "at its highest level in the UK for 30 years".

"A third of the world's population is carrying tuberculosis and it is currently at its highest level in the UK for 30 years. It's essential that we take action to tackle its continued rise," said Mr Green.

"Pre-entry screening, followed by treatment where necessary, will help to prevent the risk of TB in the UK and will also save lives.

"Removing screening facilities at airports will save the taxpayer £25 million over 10 years and further NHS savings will be made by preventing the importation and spread of TB in the UK."

Mr Green said over three quarters of new TB cases in the UK were reportedly from people born outside the UK. The immigration minister said those found to have the potentially lethal and infectious disease will be prevented from entering the UK.

The new scheme has already been piloted in 15 countries and will be expanded in three stages over the next 18 months to include 67 countries, including China, India, Morocco and South Africa, deemed by the World Health Organisation to have high incidence rates.

The UK Visa Bureau is an independent UK immigration consultancy specialising in helping people prepare for their UK Ancestry Visa application.

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