A pre-entry tuberculosis (TB) screening programme will help save lives and save taxpayers more than £40 million over 10 years and, announced Immigration Minister Damian Green today.
The new measures mean migrants wanting to enter the UK for more than 6 months, from 67 countries with a high incidence of TB, will need to be screened before they are granted a visa for the UK.
Immigration Minister Damian Green said:
'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. 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.'
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 5 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.
The UK Border Agency will build on existing pre-screening undertaken by international partners including the USA, Canada and Australia. The costs of screening and subsequent treatment will be met by those people applying to come into the UK.
Please monitor this website for further information. The countries that are currently covered by the pre-screening pilot are:
The additional countries that will be covered by the pre-screening pilot are:
News Source: ukba.homeoffice.gov.uk