Persons entering the British Virgin Islands to work and reside will no longer have to do a tuberculosis test nor will it be mandatory for them to provide a medical certificate at local ports of entry. Persons can now provide a medical certificate after entering the BVI.
The policy change will take effect on January 1.
A media release from the Ministry of Health today said the changes are aimed at reforming Immigration and Labour to facilitate an easier process for expats moving to the BVI.
Chief Immigration Officer, Geraldine Ritter-Freeman commended the move and noted the importance of making immigration processes seamless and burdenless.
“The Department of Immigration is committed to operational improvements that not only increase departmental efficiency but also provide better service to our customers.”
Meanwhile, Medical Officer Dr Ronald Georges said persons can get tests done locally or in their home country and provide the results to a licensed local physician when they arrive in the territory.
“The examining physician at the Immigration Medical Clinic or in his/her private practice will retain the test results and issue a medical certificate, indicating whether or not the individual is deemed fit and clear of any contagion or infectious disease,” he noted.
The release said a review of the Immigration medical requirements determined that it was no longer necessary to test for latent tuberculosis, parasitic infestations, or other gastrointestinal infections.
Mantoux and stool tests are, therefore, no longer required.
Because of the feedback received, it was determined that some tests were ‘outdated’ and persons had difficulty finding physicians to administer them.
Local authorities also found that screening for some diseases was not cost-effective for disease prevention.
The release further said that the immigrant medical examination is now only intended to screen for certain medical conditions and should not be considered as a complete physical examination.
However, mandatory tests will include examinations of the eyes, ears, nose, throat, extremities, heart, lungs, abdomen, lymph nodes and skin.
As part of the public awareness plan to spread the word of the changes, two brochures have been produced. One is targeted at prospective immigrants and the other, towards examining physicians.
The brochures provide information on the medical examination requirements including a person’s medical history and conditions such as immunisation, tuberculosis, mental health issues, and chronic conditions.
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