To avail Australian Visa meeting specified health requirements is mandatory. The immigration department needs the health requirement met by every visa applicant to ensure no transmittable disease creates an epidemic threat to the public health in Australia.
However, in some cases, health waiver is applicable where a health condition does not particularly cause a danger to the public health.
Do note that the health waiver does not get extended to those who have active TB and any other health condition that can pose a public health threat.
Which of the visa subclasses are eligible to get a health waiver?
Health waiver can be granted to visa applicants on humanitarian grounds after assessing their medical condition will not result in a substantial cost to Australia and will not burden the Australian health care and community services.
The health waiver is applicable only after verification from the Medical Officer of the Commonwealth (MOC) that the applicant does not satisfy the health criteria.
Waivers for the below visas are referred as PIC (Public Interest Criteria) 4007 Health Waiver.
- Partner Visa – Subclass 100
- This waiver applies to the partners or spouses, on or before 1st July 2009.
- Prospective Marriage – Subclass 300
- Partner Visa – Subclass 309 & 801 Partner visa (with extended eligibility) – Subclass 820
- Child Visa – Subclass 101 and Child Adoption Visa – Subclass 102 and Child Residence Visa – Subclass 802
- Dependent Child Visa – Subclass 445
- Employer Nomination Scheme (available for Temporary Transition Stream only) – Subclass 186
- Regional Sponsored Migration Scheme (available for Temporary Transition Stream only) – Subclass 187
- Skilled Independent Visa (available for New Zealand stream only) – Subclass 189
- Skilled Regional visa – Subclass 887
- Business Innovation and Investment (available for Business Innovation Extension stream or Significant Investor Extension stream only) (Provisional) – Subclass 188
- Business Innovation and Investment Visa (Permanent) – Subclass 888
- Refugee – Subclass 200
- In-country special humanitarian – Subclass 201
- Global special humanitarian – Subclass 202
- Emergency Rescue – Subclass 203
- Woman at risk – Subclass 204
- Humanitarian Stay – Subclass 449
- New Zealand citizen family relationship – Subclass 461
- Foreign Affairs/ defence sector – Subclass 500 & 576
- Resolution of Status – Subclass 850
- Permanent Referred stay – Subclass 852
- Temporary Skilled Visa – Subclass 457
The employer sponsoring the applicant should sign a ‘nominator undertaking record’ to agree to cover the medical expenditure of you or the dependent, whoever is not meeting the health requirement.
This document is referred as PIC4006A health waiver.
Circumstantial visa subclasses where health waiver is applicable
The circumstances are:
- The applicant holds a visa through Ministerial intervention (substitutes – 600 or 676)
- The applicant is a visa holder of a particular provisional visa
- The applicant is a primary applicant and has applied as a defence service applicant
- The applicant is a primary applicant and has applied as a long resident applicant
The visa subclasses that qualify for health waiver under the above circumstances are:
- Contributory Parent Visa – Subclass 143 and Contributory aged parent visa (T) – Subclass 884
- Former Resident Visa – Subclass 151
- Business Owner (residence) visa – Subclass 890
- Investor Visa – Subclass 891
- State or Territory Sponsored Business Owner (Residence) Visa – Subclass 892
- State or Territory Sponsored Investor (Residence) Visa – Subclass 893
Health Waiver Process
On failing to meet the health requirement, the authorities consider the visa application for health waiver, if eligible and communicate the same to the applicant or the dependent (whoever is not meeting the requirement). The applicant does not have to apply for a health waiver separately.
The applicant will receive a letter from the immigration department to furnish additional information and explain why a health waiver must be granted to the applicant.
A skilled visa applicant must fill out the details in a formal submission document claiming the waiver on equitable grounds.
The department scrutinises the claim on below-mentioned factors
- Whether the applicant can handle the resultant expenses
- Or whether the applicant’s sponsor can cover the expenses
- Whether and how much the applicant may utilize the country’s health care system and community services if granted the visa
- Whether there are any compelling or compassionate reasons to consider the waiver
- The advantages the applicant or the sponsor may bring to the Australian economy and the community
- The disadvantages of visa refusal to the applicant or the sponsor, the Australian economy and the community
Based on the above parameters the waiver is allowed or denied.
Every health waiver case gets scrutinised on a case-to-case basis. The process takes considerable time before the authorities decide after weighing pros and cons of granting a health waiver to the applicant.
If the authorities deny the health waiver, the visa application gets rejected automatically and communicated to the applicant accordingly.
However, if the cost of treating or taking care of the health condition amounts to AUD 500,000 or more or the case demonstrates to burden the health care and community services, the case officer must recommend the case to the National office in Canberra.
If an older skilled visa applicant is seeking to reside in a particular state or territory of Australia, the case is referred to the concerned state/ territory government to assess the case and suggest their opinion whether they find it reasonable to extend the waiver to the applicant.
Most common health conditions that deter the health waiver on the grounds of significant costs
- HIV infection
- Renal disease or failure
- Intellectual impairment
- Functional impairment
Services that are in short supply and may burden the Australian healthcare and community services by extra demand
- Organ transplant
The above health conditions are most common diseases that fail the health requirement criteria for the permanent visa applicants. And the health services are currently facing a shortage of supply.
The lists may change from time to time.
Partner visa for HIV positive partner
An HIV positive applicant may not necessarily face visa rejection prima facie. Although HIV infection figures in the list of significant cost bearing diseases for permanent visa applicants, the severity and other circumstances play a vital role in granting a health waiver.
As such the treatment for HIV, antiretroviral therapy is expensive and may add significantly to the cost of healthcare and services if the applicant is to live in Australia permanently. This consideration forms a significant factor in allowing or denying a health waiver.
If the applicant’s visa subclass allows a waiver, the department of immigration must consider the allowance and carefully examine the case to check whether a health waiver is appropriate or not. The applicant can appeal the case if not satisfied with the decision.
For a partner visa along with the criteria of the cost of utilising the public health services, these below-mentioned factors are considered as significant too:
- The closeness and affection in the relationship and the hardship the partners may face if not granted the visa
- The possibility of why the Australian partner cannot join the foreign partner because visa rejection
- If the decision may affect the children adversely (if any)
- The location and other circumstances of the partners
What should an applicant do to strengthen his/her case for a waiver?
- Provide as many details as possible to see the case on a compassionate ground
- Assure the agency that he/she will not be burdening the Australian community and the public health system
- Provide evidence that they can take care of their medical costs either individually or through the sponsor (who is a partner)
The health waiver can be tricky and confuse the applicants and result in a missed opportunity. Call our migration experts to know your options and chances of getting a health waiver for you or your dependent.