UK visa applicants that intend to stay in the UK for longer than six months and who reside in a high TB incidence country will notice that they are required to take part in the UK pre-entry TB screening.
The power to require passengers to submit to examination is contained within paragraph 2(2) to Schedule 2 of the Immigration Act 1971 which allows that:
“Any such person, if he is seeking to enter the United Kingdom, maybe examined also by a medical inspector or by any qualified person carrying out a test or examination required by a medical inspector”.
TB tests usually cost $50-100 depending on the age of the visa applicant and are from a clinic approved by the Home Office.
This month the UK government releases a screening report. This report reveals that the number of cases of TB detected among those entering the UK from screening countries within one year of entry into the UK compared with the number of cases detected by pre-entry screening shows that as the numbers detected abroad increased, the number detected in the UK fell.
Thereport further reveals that during 2018, where the place of birth was known, seven UK TB cases of every 10 were among non-UK born persons, a rate 14-times higher than UK born cases. 318 cases of TB were detected by the program which is a slight decrease from 2017, alongside an increased number of applicants which is probably due to improved data returns in 2018.
In screening visa applicants the UK is not only protecting the public from imported infectious disease as this helps reduce the number of cases of active TB disease and the risk of transmission but it is also helping in reducing the cost of treatment to the NHS as low TB cases brings financial benefits to the NHS and public health benefits to the population.
Thomas Ddumba is a UK lawyer.