U.K. to require TB screening as visa requirement

The United Kingdom Home Office recently announced that people from 67 "high risk" countries will have to be screened for tuberculosis before being granted a visa for a stay more than six months.

The cost of the screening and subsequent treatment is to be met by those seeking to enter the U.K. The Home Office said that the screening is meant to specifically target migrants from "high risk" countries, according to

The program is to be rolled out in the target countries over the next 18 months. As part of the plan, screening facilities are to be removed from British airports.

Recent figures show that there were more than 9,000 new TB cases in the U.K. in 2011, a five percent increase from 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", the Home Office said, reports.

Immigration Minister Damian Green supports the measure.

"Tuberculosis is currently at its highest level in the UK for 30 years," Green said, reports. "Pre-entry screening, followed by treatment where necessary, will help to prevent the risk of TB in the UK and will also save lives."