The second phase of the Home Office’s life-saving pre-entry tuberculosis (TB) screening programme has been introduced as part of the new immigration rules laid today (Monday 10 June).
The programme means that migrants who want to enter the UK for more than six months, from 67 countries with a high incidence of TB, have to be screened before they are granted a visa for the UK.
The first phase of pre-entry screening was rolled out to eight countries, including India, Malaysia and the Philippines, in May 2012, and will now be introduced to a further 11 countries from Monday 1 July.
Immigration Minister Mark Harper said:
It’s essential that we take action to tackle the rise of tuberculosis cases in the UK. Pre-entry screening, followed by treatment where necessary, will help to prevent the risk of TB in the UK and will also save lives.
The further expansion of our pre-entry screening process will help prevent the importation and spread of TB in the UK and save money for the tax payer in the process.
The introduction of pre-screening comes as recent figures showed that there were over 9,000 new cases of TB in the UK in 2011, a five per cent increase on 2010. The programme is targeted at migrants after research showed non-UK born people accounted for three quarters of all new TB cases diagnosed – 20 times higher than in the UK born population.
Pre-entry screening will be rolled out to the following 11 countries from Monday 1 July: China (settlement cases only), Ethiopia, Gambia, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Malawi, Morocco, Sierra Leone, Uganda, Vietnam and Zambia.
The immigration rules changes were introduced in an explanatory memorandum.