UK visa: Indian applicants too will be screened for TB

Vidya Ram London | Updated on March 12, 2018 Published on May 22, 2012

Indian citizens, along those from 66 other countries, will soon be required to be screened for tuberculosis before seeking a long-term visa to the UK. It is part of a British government drive to reduce the incidence of the disease, and cut costs.

Britain had previously required pre-screening by citizens of just 15 nations, including Bangladesh, Pakistan, Kenya, and Thailand under a pilot scheme since 2005, which had shown the screening to be an effective system for cutting the incidence of TB.

This system would be extended to applicants from a total of 67 nations, the UK Border Agency said on Monday. The disease had reached its highest level in Britain in 30 years, with non-UK born people accounting for three quarters of new cases, and proving 20 times more likely to have the disease than UK-born people. In 2011 alone there were 9,000 new cases of the disease in the UK, a 5 per cent rise on the previous year.

The pre-screening requirement will extend to all those seeking a visa of six months or longer, with the costs of the screening at a designated clinic in their country borne by the applicant. The other nations cover range from China to Afghanistan, Morocco, the Russian Federation and South Africa. The government expects to role out the system on a phased basis to all the 67 countries by 2013.

“It's essential that we take action to tackle its continued rise,” said Immigration Minister Mr Damien 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.”

According to the most recent World Health Organisation estimates, India has an estimated 3.1 million cases of TB as of 2010.

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Published on May 22, 2012
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