Changes have occurred to the Schedule 4 Conditions 4005 and 4007 calculation of significant cost to the Australian community for the provision of health care or community services. The policy threshold for significant cost has been increased from $40,000 to $49,000
WHO DOES IT APPLY TO?
Nearly everyone applying for a visa to visit or live in Australia will need to meet the health requirement, with many needing to undergo a physical health assessment depending on the purpose of the visit, visa type and length of stay.
Those applying for a permanent visa must undergo a medical examination prior to being approved for a visa. Temporary visa applications may have to undergo an examination, depending on their intended length of stay, country of origin and whether they will undertake activities in Australia where health is particularly important.
If one member of a family unit applying for a visa fails to meet the health requirement, all other family members will also have their visa rejected. People suffering from tuberculosis are explicitly barred in immigration law from obtaining an Australian visa and there are no exceptions to this
HOW DOES IT WORK?
The immigration health requirement is set out in the Migration Regulations 1994, under Schedule 4’s Public Interest Criteria.
According to the government, the requirement has three main objectives:
- To protect Australians from “public health and safety risks” such as infectious diseases, particularly tuberculosis;
- To safeguard access for Australians to medical services that are in short supply, such as organ transplants;
- Limit the amount of money the government has to spend on health and community services.
Everyone who apply for a visa need to meet the health requirement. You must be free from any disease or condition that is:
- a significant healthcare and community service cost to the Australian community
- likely to limit the access of Australian citizens and permanent residents to healthcare and community services that are in short supply by placing demand on those services.
Health Public Interest Criteria (PIC’s) – PIC 4005 – Non-Waivable Health; or PIC 4007 – Waivable Health – may be applied to visa regulations.
Current guidelines for the administration of the regulation state it is “important for Australia and the continuation of visa programs that public health risks and health costs are not unduly increased by travellers and migrants”.
It’s this cost requirement that has come under fire from advocates, with many claiming it unfairly targets those living with a permanent disability – a position they say is at odds with Australia’s international human rights obligations under the UN’s Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.
If the cost of a disability or medical condition is judged by a Medical Officer of the Commonwealth (MOC) to be higher than this threshold, then the applicant with the disability or medical condition will not pass the requirement.
The policy threshold for significant cost has been increased from $40,000 to $49,000.
Department of Home Affairs will no longer require applicant’s medical costs to be assessed across their projected lifetime.
Applicants with permanent conditions are likely to receive most benefit from these changes, with the Medical Officer of the Commonwealth now assessing the costs of services to these applicants over 10 years, rather than for life expectancy.