Changes to the TB test requirements to affect UK family immigration
There were 9000 new cases of tuberculosis (TB) in the United Kingdom in 2011. 75% of those cases were believed to be from people entering the United Kingdom, a rate that is said to be 20 times higher than the UK born population. In order to reduce the amount of new cases and to save money on treatment the UK government is extending TB screening tests and treatment to more countries. In this article we will look at how these changes will affect the UK settlement visa application process and UK family immigration in general.
The pre-entry TB screening program serves a couple of key functions. The first is that it helps to detect TB and means that anyone who is suffering from this condition can get treatment. Ideally this should be detected at an early stage so that it can be more easily treated. Early detection can help to save lives.
Furthermore it can help to reduce costs for the UK taxpayer. It is estimated that over £40m will be saved over the course of the next ten years. £25m of these savings will come from the removal of screening facilities at airports with the added bonus of reducing queues as less people need to be screened when arriving in the country.
How this will affect a UK settlement fiancée visa, partner visa, spouse visa or any other kind of visa application will depend on the country you are applying from. It has been estimated that there are 67 countries with high rates of TB and the pilot screening program that is being brought into place means that more people will need to be screened before they can be granted a UK settlement visa.
At present the countries that are covered by the pre entry TB screening program are:
- Burkina Faso
- Cote D’Ivoire
With the new pre screening pilot scheme, additional countries will also be affected. This means that if you are applying for a UK settlement visa from these countries then you will need to get a screening and if necessary you will have to get treatment before you are granted a settlement visa to join your partner in the UK. You will be affected if you are applying for a UK fiancée visa, UK marriage visa or UK unmarried partner visa.
The new countries that will also be part of the TB pre screening pilot are listed below:
- Cape Verdi;
- Central African Rep;
- China, Hong Kong SAR;
- China, Macau;
- Congo Dem Rep Zaire;
- Equatorial Guinea;
- Korea Dem People;
- Korea Rep of;
- Papua New Guinea;
- Russian Federation;
- Sao Tome and Prince;
- Sierra Leone;
- Solomon Islands;
- South Africa;
- Zambia; and
It should be noted that applicants will need to cover the cost of screening and treatment before they can be granted a UK settlement visa.
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