In a written ministerial statement dated 21st May 2012, the Immigration Minister, Damian Green, has announced that the government intends to formally implement their reformed strategy for detecting incidents of TB in migrants coming to the United Kingdom for a stay of over 6 months.

Inspired by the model employed by the USA, Australia and Canada, and having conducted a review supported by the Department of Health and the Health Protection Agency (HPA), the government now plan to extend their pre-migration TB screening programme.

Currently, 15 countries are covered by the pre-migration screening pilot. Migrants from these countries are screened for TB before applying for a UK visa to stay in the UK over 6 months. From summer 2012, the United Kingdom will make it necessary for applicants from an additional 67 countries where there is a high incidence of TB to be screened pre-entry. Implementation will be made on a country-by-country basis and each introduction of the procedure will be announced locally and on the UKBA website. The cost of screening and any subsequent treatment is to be met by the applicant. Currently, applicants from these 67 countries who intend to stay for over 6 months are screened on entry to the United Kingdom at Gatwick and Heathrow airports.

Entry checks at Heathrow and Gatwick airports will be phased out altogether as it has been found that the current procedure of screening migrants on entry to the UK is inadequate for the successful detection of TB and overall is not cost effective. The on-entry screening procedure will remain in place until further notice.

Countries currently covered by pre-screening pilot:

Bangladesh, Burkina Faso, Cambodia, Cote D’Ivoire, Eritrea, Ghana, Kenya, Laos, Niger, Pakistan, Somalia, Sudan, Tanzania, Thailand, Togo

Tuberculosis High incidence Countries:

Afghanistan

Angola

Bhutan

Bolivia

Botswana

Burma

Burundi

Cameroon

Cape Verdi

Central African Rep

Chad

China

China, Hong Kong SAR

China, Macau

Congo

Congo Dem Rep Zaire

Djibouti

Ecuador

Equatorial Guinea

Ethiopia

Gabon

Gambia

Guinea

Guinea-Bissau

Guyana

Haiti

India

Indonesia

Kazakhstan

Kiribati

Korea Dem People

Korea Rep of

Kyrgyzstan

Lesotho

Liberia

Madagascar

Malawi

Malaysia

Mali

Mauritania

Micronesia

Moldova

Mongolia

Morocco

Mozambique

Namibia

Nepal

Nigeria

Papua New Guinea

Peru

Philippines

Russian Fed

Rwanda

Sao Tome & Prince

Senegal

Sierra Leone

Solomon Islands

South Africa

Suriname

Swaziland

Tajikistan

Timorleste

Tuvalu

Uganda

Ukraine

Uzbekistan

Vietnam

Zambia

Zimbabwe

2011 saw 9,000 new cases of TB in the UK, which was a 5% increase from 2010 figures. According to the government, a major reason for the robust implementation of the pre-migration TB screening programme is that statistically non-UK born people accounted for three-quarters of all the new TB cases diagnosed.