What has changed?
The UK Border Agency (UKBA) has announced a timetable and arrangements for the rollout of the new pre-entry tuberculosis (TB) screening programme in India. All Indian nationals who wish to enter the UK for more than six months will need to be tested before they can be granted a visa.
In May 2012 the UK Government announced that India was among 67 countries to which pre-entry TB screening would be extended on the basis of World Health Organisation figures of high TB incidence.
The Home Office has said that tuberculosis is currently at its highest level in the UK for thirty years and that recent research showed non-UK nationals accounted for three quarters of all new TB cases diagnosed.
We are advised that pre-entry testing will be more thorough and effective in allowing earlier detection and treatment of TB. The measure is also expected to save millions of pounds, because screening facilities at British airports can be removed.
How will this affect you?
There will be a gradual rollout of pre-entry TB screening requirements in India, beginning with UK settlement visa applications from 16 August 2012 (this Thursday).
The screening requirement will be extended to applications for work visas (Tiers 1, 2 and 5 of the points-based system) from 10 September 2012 and student visas (Tier 4) from 1 November 2012.
Indian nationals who wish to travel to the UK for longer than 6 months must be screened and obtain a certificate from an approved clinic to show they are free of TB before making a UK visa application in the categories listed above.
The UKBA has set up a network of approved clinicians in India and you can view the full list here. There will be a fee of Rs 1500 for the diagnostic tests and the certificate will usually be valid for 6 months.
If you are tested positive for TB you will be referred for treatment. You will not be permitted to travel to the UK until you have been tested as being free of TB, including following successful treatment.
For further information, please visit the UKBA”s website here.
Assignees and HR managers should ensure that they take this information into account when planning longer-term assignments. They will need to factor in enough time before the anticipated work start date so that the Indian national can complete TB screening.