Whether based on a visa applicant’s health declaration or formal health check results, an assessment of health is an important part of the visa application process.
Where standard health requirements are not met, and a waiver provision exists, the Medical Officer of the Commonwealth (‘MOC’) assesses the cost to the Australian community for the provision of health care or community services. If deemed to be a “significant cost”, the health requirement is considered not met, resulting in a visa being refused to an applicant, and in some cases, all applicants included in the same application.
There has recently been a change in the policy threshold for “significant cost”, from $40,000 to $49,000, with the time period over which these significant costs are calculated now up to 10 years, or proposed period of stay.
Applicants for permanent residence with ongoing health conditions are likely to receive most benefit from these changes, with the MOC now assessing the costs of services to these applicants over 10 years, rather than for life expectancy.
There appears to be strong public support for such changes, given the number of recent cases where communities have become involved in advocating for the Immigration Minister to intervene to enable a family to remain in their community, where one family member has been unable to meet the health requirement due to the significant cost calculation.
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