Visas, Health Requirements and Migration Health Waivers
When applying for a visa to enter or remain in Australia, individuals are generally required to meet certain health requirements. These requirements are in place to protect the health and well-being of the Australian community and ensure that applicants do not pose a risk to public health. However, there are provisions for those who may fail the health requirement due to medical conditions or disabilities, including the possibility of obtaining a migration health waiver.
Health Requirement for Visas
The health requirement is a key component of the visa application process in Australia. It is designed to assess whether an applicant’s health condition could pose a threat to public health and safety, or could result in significant healthcare and community service costs. By implementing this requirement, the Australian government aims to protect the country’s healthcare system and prevent the transmission of communicable diseases.
When lodging a visa application, applicants are generally required to undergo a medical examination conducted by a panel physician approved by the Department of Home Affairs. The panel physician assesses the applicant’s overall health and, if necessary, may request additional tests or specialist consultations. The results of the medical examination are then assessed against the health criteria set by the Australian government.
Health assessments can be undertaken while the applicant is in Australia or while overseas. Within Australia, health assessments are conducted through Bupa Medical Visa Services. Outside Australia, an applicant must be examined by one of the doctors or radiologists appointed by the department to conduct health examinations outside Australia at an approved clinic.
Most applicants are responsible for paying the costs associated with their health examinations, including the consultation with the examining physician or radiologist and any special tests, investigations or treatments. However, accepted Refugee or Special Humanitarian Program applicants are not required to pay for their health assessment.
Failing the Health Requirement and Family with Health Issues
In some cases, applicants may fail to meet the health requirement due to medical conditions or disabilities. This would be the case where the doctors have assessed that the potential cost of treating someone’s condition would exceed AUD51,000. This can be a challenging situation, particularly for families where one member has a health issue. However, it is important to note that failing the health requirement does not automatically mean a visa application will be rejected. The Department of Home Affairs considers several factors when assessing health conditions, including the potential cost of healthcare services and the impact on the Australian community.
Migration Health Waiver
In certain situations, it is possible to obtain a migration health waiver, which allows individuals who fail the health requirement to still obtain a visa. A migration health waiver can be requested on the basis that there are compelling and compassionate circumstances that warrant granting the visa, despite the health condition.
To apply for a migration health waiver, applicants must provide comprehensive medical information and supporting documentation that clearly outlines the impact of the health condition on themselves and their family members. This information should demonstrate the availability of appropriate support and healthcare arrangements in Australia. These circumstances could include the availability of support networks, access to medical treatment, and the impact on the well-being of the family members involved. Each case is assessed individually, and the decision ultimately rests with the department.
The waiver request is then considered by a Health Waiver Unit within the Department of Home Affairs, which assesses the circumstances and decides whether to grant the waiver.
It is important to note that not all visas allow for the health waiver, and so if the cost of treatment is assessed as being above AUD51,000, and a waiver cannot be obtained, the visa will be refused.
Meeting the health requirement is a key component of the Australian visa application process. However, in some circumstances, failing to meet the health requirement may not mean a visa application is rejected. Obtaining a migration health waiver is not guaranteed, and each case is assessed on its individual merits. An immigration lawyer can provide valuable advice and guidance during this challenging time.
This information is for general purposes only and you should obtain professional advice relevant to your circumstances. If you or someone you know wants more information or needs help or advice, please contact us on (02) 9955 6692 or email [email protected].