If you fail to meet the health requirement, a visa processing offer may consider exercising a health waiver, if it is available for your visa subclass, and contact you to advise you of this and seek further information from you. A health waiver is only available for some visa subclasses.

You do not need to apply for a health waiver. If a Medical Officer of the Commonwealth (MOC) finds you do not meet the health requirement, the DHA may exercise a health waiver for you if you meet all other eligibility criteria for the visa and they are satisfied that granting you the visa is unlikely to:

  • result in a significant health care and community service cost to the Australian community or
  • prevent Australian citizens or permanent residents from accessing health care or community services that are currently in short supply.

A. Significant healthcare and community service costs

A Medical Officer of the Commonwealth (MOC) considers whether your health condition will be a significant cost to the Australian community in terms of the health care or community services required to manage your condition.

Having a disease or health condition does not always mean you will not meet the health requirement due to significant costs. The likely costs will depend on what kind of disease or condition you have and how severe it is.

You will not be granted the visa if you do not meet the health requirement because your condition is likely to be a significant cost. The DHA regards costs of AUD 51,000 or more to be significant.

B. Access to health care and services

If your health condition is likely to prevent Australian citizens or permanent residents accessing health care or community services in short supply, the DHA considers it to be ‘prejudicing access’ to these services.

A couple of examples of services that are considered short in supply according to the Australian Department of Health include:

  • organ transplants
  • dialysis

A health waiver won’t be considered if:

  • You have tuberculosis or
  • your health condition may pose a danger to the Australian community or is a threat to public health.

Threat to Public Health

An applicant is considered to pose a risk to public health or endanger the Australian community if they show any signs of or test positive in their medical exams to:

1. Measles

The Australian Government does not currently require evidence of measles vaccination status to obtain a visa and travel to Australia. DHA can’t grant you a visa until you have received treatment, and a Medical Officer of the Commonwealth (MOC) has found you are free of it.

2. Tuberculosis

Active tuberculosis is the most infectious form of the disease and is the greatest threat to public health. DHA will most likely test you for active tuberculosis as part of the immigration process. Permanent visa applicants will be tested for tuberculosis as part of the visa application process.

Temporary visa applicants might be asked to take a test for tuberculosis if the DHA thinks there is a risk.

  • If you have active tuberculosis, DHA can’t grant you a visa until you have received treatment, and a Medical Officer of the Commonwealth (MOC) has found you are free of it.

Visit the DHA website for a list of countries considered to be low risk for tuberculosis as identified by the Minister of Home Affairs.

3. HIV and Hepatitis

Generally, the DHA doesn’t consider HIV or hepatitis to be a threat to public health unless you intend to work as (or study to become) a doctor, nurse, dentist, or paramedic in Australia.

If your health tests do show evidence of either of these, the MOC will determine whether your condition would:

  • result in significant healthcare or community service costs, or
  • prejudice the access of Australian citizens and permanent residents to services in short supply.

4. Yellow fever

It is strongly recommended that all travellers be vaccinated for yellow fever if travelling from a yellow fever risk country. Australia’s list of yellow fever risk countries and areas is guided by the WHO list of yellow fever endemic countries and takes into account recent international surveillance data.

International yellow fever vaccination certificates presented at Australia’s border will be accepted even if the vaccination was given more than ten years ago. Individuals who cannot provide a yellow fever vaccination certificate at the border will still be required to go through border control processes when entering Australia.

5. Polio

You may be required to provide a valid polio vaccination certificate if you are travelling from, or spent time in, a country considered at risk under the Global Polio Eradication Initiative. You will be advised by a visa officer if you are required to provide a polio vaccination certificate.

6. Ebola Virus Disease (EVD)

All travellers who arrive in Australia with clinical and epidemiological evidence that suggests the possibility of having contracted EVD should be immediately notified to the Public Health Unit (PHU) in that state or territory.

If a suspected case is notified from an international border, decisions concerning case and contact management, including assessment, transport and isolation will be made by the jurisdictional Chief Human Biosecurity Officer (CHBO) or delegated by the CHBO to the Human Biosecurity Officer (HBO).

The DHA will consider each health waiver on a case-by-case basis. They will consider many factors before deciding to exercise a health waiver, including:

  • whether you or any of your family members can lessen the potential cost of your health condition and your reliance on our health care and community services and
  • any compassionate and compelling circumstances that support exercising a health waiver for you.