London: From Thursday onwards, Indian citizens seeking to enter Britain for more than six months will need to be screened for tuberculosis before they are granted a visa, official sources said.
The costs of screening and subsequent treatment will be met by those people applying to come into the UK, the Home Office said, and added that the screening is specifically targeted at migrants from India and 66 other 'high risk' countries.
The tuberculosis screening programme is being rolled out in the countries over the next 18 months. Currently, there are screening facilities at British airports, which will be removed under the programme.
The measure is expected to save 40 million pounds. The screening requirement will be extended to applications for work visas (Tiers 1, 2 and 5 of the points-based system) from September 10, 2012 and student visas (Tier 4) from November 1, 2012.
Official sources said that pre-entry TB screening is only required if Indians are travelling to the UK for more than six months.
If the travel is for six months or less, the screening is not required.
They added that TB testing will cost Rs 1,500 (17 pounds) for the diagnostic tests and the certificate will be valid for six months.
However, if a visa applicant tests positive for TB, the person will be referred for treatment and will not be permitted to travel to the UK until then person is tested as being free of TB.
Recent figures indicate that there were over 9,000 new cases of tuberculosis in the UK in 2011, a five per cent increase on 2010.