Will my Visa application fail if I have a health condition?

Moving to another country is a big change in your life. Sometimes, the process can be complicated, and applying for permission to enter that country can be stressful and take a lot of time. If you have a health problem, things can get even more confusing. You might wonder what counts as a health problem and how the Department of Home Affairs (DOHA) decides if it’s okay for you to move there.

This article will explain some important words and talk about how health checks work when you’re applying to move to another country. It will also talk about how having a health problem might affect your visa application.

Do You Need to Get a Health Check?

If you’re trying to move to Australia, in most cases, DOHA will ask you to get a health check to make sure you’re healthy enough to move there. The rules about health checks are written in the Migration Regulations 1994, under something called Schedule 4’s Public Interest Criteria (PIC).

The type of medical examinations DOHA will request depends on a series of factors. These include, but are not limited to:

  • How old you are
  • If you’re from a country where tuberculosis (TB) is common
  • If you have a serious health problem
  • What you plan to do when you get to Australia

Your examiners will forward your health check results to DOHA. They’ll also give their opinion on whether you meet the health rules.

What are the health requirements that Visa Applicant must meet?

If you have a serious medical problem, your case may be reviewed by a Medical Officer of the Commonwealth (MOC) for their opinion and more checking. The MOC will then tell DOHA if:

  • You meet the health rules
  • You will only meet the health rules if you agree to follow some health promises
  • You don’t meet the health rules, but DOHA lets you through with something called a health waiver (if it’s available and they decide to use it)
  • You don’t meet the health rules, and there’s no way around it.

You won’t meet the health rules if the MOC finds that you have a serious medical problem, like:

  • Active Tuberculosis (TB)
  • A condition that might make you a danger to public health or the community.
  • A condition that would cost a lot for the Australian community’s healthcare and services.
  • A condition that would make it harder for Australian citizens or permanent residents to get healthcare and services that are hard to find. This includes things like organ transplants and dialysis.

Calculating the significant healthcare and community service cost threshold

The MOC looks at what services someone with a similar condition would need and tells DOHA about it. But they can only think about your medical situation, not other things about you.

Right now, if the costs for healthcare and services because of your condition are more than AUD$50,000, it’s seen as significant. For people applying for temporary visas, the MOC figures out this cost based on how long you’ll be staying. For those applying for permanent visas, the MOC usually calculates it for five years, or three years if you’re 75 years old or more.

What is a health undertaking?

A health undertaking is when you promise the Australian Government that you’ll go to a health centre in Australia. This means you’ll keep up with your medical condition that made you agree to the health undertaking.

When you agree to this undertaking, you promise to:

  • Get in touch with the Health Undertaking Service within 28 days after arriving in Australia and give them the information they need
  • Get in touch with your state or territory’s health authority or let them get in touch with you, using the contact details provided by the Migration Medical Services Provider
  • Follow the instructions of that state or territory’s health authority
  • Do any treatment or tests the state or territory’s health authority tells you to do
  • Keep the state or territory’s health authority updated with your current contact details while you’re under their supervision.

Can I lodge a successful Visa application with a health condition?

Each application is looked at one by one, but it mostly depends on:

  • What medical condition you have
  • The type of visa you’re applying for
  • What you plan to do while you’re in Australia.

What is a Health waiver?

If you don’t meet the health requirement, your visa application won’t go through unless there’s something called a health waiver available, and your request for a health waiver is accepted.

You can get a health waiver if your visa follows the rules of something called PIC 4007. But if your visa follows the rules of PIC 4005, you can’t get a health waiver, and your visa won’t be approved because of health reasons.

DOHA and the MOC decide about health waivers for each person’s situation. To have a chance at getting a health waiver approved, you need to give very strong and compassionate reasons.

My Visa was refused on health grounds. What should I do?

If DOHA has rejected your visa application because of health reasons, you can ask the Administrative Appeals Tribunal (AAT) to look at the decision again.

The letter you get about your visa decision will tell you if the AAT can check the decision and how long you must ask for this review. If the AAT can’t review the decision, your next choice might be to appeal to the Federal Court of Australia.

Written by Ross Ahmadzai

7 Mar, 2024

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