TB screenings to be implemented for UK visa applicants

21 May 2012 | Posted by Carl Thomas

UK visa applicants will soon be required to have a screening for tuberculosis before they are granted access to this country.

The changes will apply to people who want to spend six months or longer in the country and who have come from a region deemed to have a high incidence of TB.UK immigration minister Damian Green explained the motivation behind the change, stating that TB is at "its highest level in the UK for 30 years".

The move is also a financial one with screening applicants expected to cut expenses. Speaking to MPs, Mr Green added: "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 ten years and further NHS savings will be made by preventing the importation and spread of TB in the UK."

A number of other countries are already piloting the scheme but it is expected to be introduced in the UK in three phases over an 18 month period and will include a total of 67 high incidence countries, among which are China, Nepal, South Africa and Morocco.

According to research seen by the Home Office, the plan to monitor immigrants for TB should have a noticeable impact as those born outside of the UK account for three-quarters of all new cases of the disease diagnosed in this country.