Can you obtain the Australian PR if you have a serious health condition?

Can you obtain the Australian PR if you have a serious health condition?

For the majority of permanent Australian Visas, as well as some temporary visas, the health status of a visa applicant is a relevant factor and certain “Public Interest Criteria” (PIC), including PIC 4005 and PIC 4007, will apply as a criterion to the grant of the visa.

This basically means that an applicant and of course any dependants included in the application, such as wife, children etc., must pass a health test to be granted the visa they have applied for.

Public Interest Criteria

Schedule 4 of the Migration Regulations sets out three Public Interest Criteria (PIC) relating to health. They are:

PIC 4005, which applies to most visas and sets out the standard Health Requirement criteria including meeting the ‘significant cost’ and ‘prejudice to access’ requirements;
PIC 4007, which applies to a limited number of family stream, skilled and humanitarian visas.

Applicants who fail the Health Requirement under this criterion have access to a waiver consideration at the Minister’s discretion. This allows the Minister to consider compelling and compassionate circumstances as well as financial and other offsets to the costs. The applicant will be allowed to provide additional medical reports and other evidence of their circumstances to offset the costs identified.

As part of the visa application process, an applicant will have his/her health condition assessed by a Medical Officer of the Commonwealth (MOC).
The medical examination is usually automatically requested by the system and it is compulsory for certain type of visas. Generally speaking unless the applicant has declared a medical condition in a temporary visa application, such as a student visa, the medical examination won’t be requested. It will also depend on the country you come from and how long you plan to stay in Australia for.

Different story where an applicant applies for a Permanent visa. All the applicants in this case will need to undergo a medical examination.

To pass the health exam, the MOC who assess an applicant’s health must certify that the applicant(s) is free from:

  1. tuberculosis;
  2. a disease or medical condition that is a threat to public health in Australia; and
  3. a disease or medical condition which a person who has it would likely to:
    a. require health care or community services in Australia; or
    b. meet the medical criteria for the provision of a community service in Australia,
    and the provision of the health care or community services would be likely to:

a. result in a significant cost to the Australian community; or
b. prejudice the access of an Australian citizen or PR to health care or community services.

As mentioned earlier a visa applicant (or non-migrating family member) cannot be found to meet the health requirement for the grant of certain visas if they have a disease or condition that is likely to result in a “significant cost” to the Australian community in the areas of health care or community services. As of September 2021, the policy threshold for the level of costs to be regarded as significant is AUD 51,000 and MOC will assess an applicant as not meeting the health requirement if the potential costs over their proposed period of stay ( in this case 5 years) are above that figure.

Significant costs are assessed for permanent visa applicants ( for example 186 TRT), over a five year period, or three years for those aged 75 or older.

As outlined above, you will also not meet the health requirement if a MOC determines that your condition is likely to prejudice the access of Australian citizens or permanent residents to health care and community services in short supply. In other words, if your condition is likely to limit access of Australian
citizens or permanent residents to health care and community services in short supply, then you will not meet the health requirement. In particular under policy, services that are currently considered to be in short supply are:

organ transplants (including bone marrow and stem cell transplants), and dialysis

However, the five most common diseases that permanent visa applicants who have failed the health requirement have been identified with are:

  1. intellectual impairment;
  2. HIV infection;
  3. functional impairment;
  4. renal disease or failure; and
  5. cancer.

Applicant can apply for a visa even if they have medical condition, but they will need to obtain a health waiver before the visa is granted.

In particular when an applicant lodges a 186 TRT visa the following regulation applies

186.313 (4)  If the primary applicant holds a Subclass 186 visa in the Temporary Residence Transition stream, the applicant satisfies public interest criterion  4007.

You do not need to apply for a Health Waiver. If you are eligible to be considered for a Health Waiver, the DIBP will send you an “Invitation to Comment” advising that you (or your dependants) have failed to meet the health requirement and that a Health Waiver is going to be considered. The Invitation to Comment will invite you to put forward claims and information in support of a Health Waiver being exercised.

Once your response has been received, the DIBP will then assess:

  1. your ability and the ability of any of your supporters to mitigate the potential costs and
    use of health care and community services;
  2. any compassionate and compelling circumstances that apply to you; and
  3. any other mitigating factors would support a health waiver being exercised in your

It is also worth noting that the refusal of a visa application on health grounds can be appealed to the Administrative Appeals Tribunal (AAT).

Can you obtained Medicare after you have obtained the PR?

The good news is that an applicant does not need to obtain the PR to be eligible to apply for Medicare.
As soon as you apply for a Permanent visa you are eligible to request Medicare. You do not need the visa to be granted. This is crucial because usually the PR takes months up to 30 months to be granted. You can enrol in Medicare if you live in Australia and have applied for a permanent residency ( except parent visa).

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