AUSTRALIA – Changes to Immigration Health Policy

Effective November 20, 2015, a new health policy will apply to applicants for Australian visas.

What has changed?

  • Under the new policy, an individual’s country of origin will have one of only two risk levels (requiring health examinations or not) rather than one of the three categories (high, medium and low risk) in use until now.
  • For nationals and recent residents of higher-risk countries, the duration of stay from which a medical assessment is required has been raised from three months to six months.
  • Under the new policy, applicants for Subclass 457 visas will be treated the same as other temporary visa applicants. Previously they only had to undergo a chest x-ray examination, and were exempted from the general medical examination requirement for stays of over 12 months.

Countries that do not generally require Immigration Health Examinations:

Applicants from countries of lower risk who are applying for temporary visas will generally not be required to undertake health examinations. Permanent stay applications will, however, require various health examinations.

Countries that do require Immigration Health Examinations:

Stays of under six months

  • No medical assessments will be required for individuals who are applying for a temporary visa and intend to remain in Australia for less than six months, even if they are a national of a higher risk country, or have spent three or more consecutive months during the last five years in a higher risk country.

Stays of six months or over

  • Nationals or recent residents of higher risk countries will be required to undergo a medical examination and a chest x-ray if they are applying for a temporary visa but intending to remain in Australia for six months or longer.

Other requirements:

TB testing for children

  • Under the new policy, children under 11 years of age who are applying for a temporary visa and declare close family contact with TB in their visa application or My Health Declarations form will have to undergo TB testing (TST or IGRA).
  • Previously children under 11 had to undergo a medical examination (rather than a chest x-ray examination) where required.

Additional health examinations

  • Additional health examinations will be required in instances where the “special significance” rule applies. This rule applies to individuals from any country who are intending to work as a doctor, dentist, nurse or paramedic, likely to work at an Australian Childcare centre, likely to enter a health care or hospital environment, are pregnant and intending to have their baby in Australia, or are aged 75 years and older.
  • From November 20, special significance no longer applies to individuals who have applied for a student visa and/or are likely to be in a “classroom situation” for more than three months.

Provisional or permanent visas

  • The current health requirements will continue to apply to all individuals who are applying for provisional and permanent visas with the exception of the introduction of a new TB screening test (TST or IGRA) requirement for children aged between 2 and 10 years from countries of higher risk.

Please note that this is general information only and not intended as advice on a specific matter. Please feel free to contact Fakhoury Global Immigration directly with questions exclusive to your situation. This news alert may have been prepared using information from Peregrine Immigration Management, which is licensed to Fakhoury Global Immigration.