Australia is known as ‘the lucky country’ for many reasons, one being that the standard of health is one of the highest in the world. Everyone benefits from this, but it also means that most applicants must satisfy a minimum health standard to be granted a visa.
Why is there a health requirement?
Australia has Medicare, which funds many health and medical services for Australian citizens and residents.
The health requirement is part of the federal government’s strategy to protect Australia from certain diseases that pose a risk to public health, such as tuberculosis (TB). The health requirement is also designed to help contain public health expenditure and ensure that certain health services that are in short supply are not further strained.
The health requirement is one way that the Australian Government seeks to preserve high health standards.
If you are applying for a permanent residency visa, you must meet the health requirement. If you are applying for a temporary visa, you may be required to meet the health requirement depending on a number of factors, including:
- The length of time you intend to stay in Australia.
- What you plan to do in Australia.
- The health risks in your home country.
Adults applying for permanent residency must have a chest x-ray, HIV test and submit to a medical examination. There are varying requirements for children, depending on age and country of origin.
Temporary visa applicants may need to have a medical examination and HIV test, depending on circumstances.
Immigrant health and pre-existing illnesses and conditions
The Australian Government is particularly careful about TB, which is considered a global epidemic. Visas are denied to any applicant diagnosed with active TB. However, there may be a reconsideration of the application after treatment and further testing. If your visa application has been denied because of active TB, contact a migration agent to determine your next steps.
Once tests have been conducted, a Medical Officer of the Commonwealth (MOC) will review the results and recommend whether to grant the visa.
If you or a family member have tested positive for HIV or AIDS, the MOC will treat it as a pre-existing medical condition and make a recommendation based on the likely cost to the Australian public if you were to migrate to Australia.
Despite its infectious nature, a positive test result does not necessarily mean that the visa application will fail.
The MOC will assess other pre-existing conditions on a case-by-case basis.
Family members and other dependents
If you wish to migrate to Australia with dependents, for example a spouse or children, they must all meet the health requirement.
The role of private health insurance
While all visa applicants are encouraged to hold health insurance to adequately cover their health needs, for some visas it is a mandatory requirement.
Temporary work 457 visa applicants and student visa applicants are required to hold health insurance. Anyone aged 75 years or older should have their own insurance as well, as they will not be covered for any medical expenses unless their home country has reciprocal arrangements with Australia.
But while reciprocal arrangements provide a safety net for medical emergencies, Medicare will still only cover essential healthcare. There are many significant costs and procedures that you might be at risk of funding. For this reason, it’s recommended that all migrants to Australia have their own private health insurance.
Everyone on Australian shores benefits from high health standards. That is why the government applies a health requirement to visa applicants and their dependents. An experienced migration agent in Australia can help you lodge a successful visa application.