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Immigrants (Medical Examination)

Volume 13: debated on Friday 27 November 1981

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asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department what are the results of his further consideration of the report of Sir Henry Yellowlees on the medical examination of immigrants.

On 13 November 1980 I announced my conclusions on those matters which immediately gave rise to the review.In my statement of 15 December 1980 I indicated that I did not propose, as a result of the report, to make the entry to this country of the spouses and dependent children of those already settled here dependent on the passing of a medical examination. For the same reason, I have now decided that the entry of the spouses and dependent children of those who settle here in the future should not, as a result of the report, be made dependent on the passing of a medical examination either.I have also come to the conclusion that a system of deferment on medical grounds for spouses and dependent children, as suggested in paragraph 5ยท8 of the report, is not a practical proposition. Instead I propose to introduce, subject to consultation with those interested, a system of medical examination overseas of all those who come here for settlement, together with improved arrangements for follow-up in this country of those found to be suffering from disease. Such a system would relieve the pressure on the medical facilities at the ports in this country and would allow for more thorough medical examination in a more relaxed environment in the country of origin. A compulsory system of examination overseas for spouses and dependent children will require changes in the immigration rules.When the new systen is introduced, the medical referee system overseas will be strengthened as necessary, and the instructions to medical inspectors and referees redrafted. Further consideration will be given to the other recommendations of the report in the light of the new arrangements.