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Immigration: Health Screening

Volume 687: debated on Tuesday 21 November 2006

My honourable friend the Minister for Immigration, Citizenship and Nationality (Liam Byrne) has made the following Written Ministerial Statement.

My honourable friend the then Minister for Immigration announced on 21 July 2005 (Official Report, col. 155 WS) that we would begin last summer the initial phase of our programme of targeted screening for infectious tuberculosis (TB) of people seeking to enter the United Kingdom for longer than six months at the entry clearance stage in Bangladesh, Sudan, Tanzania and Thailand (which also processes entry clearance applications from Cambodia and Laos). We now intend to implement the main phase of the scheme in China, Ethiopia, Ghana, Kenya, Nigeria, Pakistan, Philippines, South Africa and Zimbabwe. We are also considering the feasibility of introducing the scheme in a small number of further countries. A further Written Ministerial Statement will be made prior to any rollout of the scheme in countries additional to those listed above.

Pre-entry screening of travellers should be seen as an integral part of our wider effort to combat TB in the UK. The UK also provides significant support for global TB control through a number of different channels, including support to the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, TB and Malaria and the STOPTB partnership as well as support for research on the development of new effective and affordable drugs. Her Majesty's Government also provide support to countries to build capacity in their health services to diagnose and treat all major causes of illness including TB.