UK to screen Filipino visa applicants for TBBy Fatima Reyes
MANILA, Philippines – The United Kingdom (UK) Border Agency on Thursday announced that it would be implementing an additional requirement of pre-entry tuberculosis (TB) screening for UK visa applicants in the Philippines.
In a statement, the British embassy in Manila said that the pre-entry screening requirement would only apply to individuals who would apply for UK visa which is longer than six months, and that the requirement would be effective starting February 28.
“The process will require individuals to be screened and obtain a certificate from an approved International Organization for Migration (IOM) Health Center in the Philippines to show that they are free of TB before they make a UK visa application,” the statement said
“They will need to include the TB certificate with their visa application,” it added.
The embassy noted that the UK government had announced in May 2012 that it would be extending the requirement to 67 countries, including the Philippines, based on the figures for high TB incidence provided by the World Health Organization.
It said that UK Border Agency decided to implement the procedure as figures showed that there were over 9,000 new cases of TB in the UK in 2011, a five percent increase on 2010.
“The program is targeted at migrants after research showed non-UK born people accounted for three quarters of all new TB cases diagnosed – 20 times higher than in the UK born population,” said the UK Border Agency.
The British embassy noted that the measure brought the UK into line with the practice of its international partners, US, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand.
It added that applicants may log on to http://www.ukba.homeoffice.gov.uk/countries/philippines/ for more details.