Meeting Australian visa health requirements
Australia enjoys some of the best health standards in the world. To maintain these standards, most visa applicants must meet minimum health standards before we will grant them a visa. This is called ‘meeting the health requirement’. DHA might assess your health as part of the visa application process.
Why you must meet the health requirement
Most visa applicants must meet the health requirement.
Your family members might also have to meet the health requirement even if they are not migrating to Australia. This will depend on what visa you apply for.
You might have to have health examinations to prove you meet the health requirement. The results of your examinations will be assessed by a Medical Officer of the Commonwealth (MOC). If you have a significant medical condition, the MOC will advise DHA whether the condition is likely to:
- threaten public health
- result in significant healthcare and community service costs (see below)
- place a demand on healthcare or community services that are in short supply
The MOC will consider what kind of services a hypothetical person with the same kind and severity of condition would need and advise us on that basis.
When the MOC gives DHA advice they can only consider your medical situation, not your other personal circumstances. For example, the MOC cannot take into account whether you will use available public services because you have private health insurance or enough money to pay for treatment.
The MOC might also recommend DHA ask you to sign a health undertaking.
Significant healthcare and community service costs
When determining if you meet the health requirement, a Medical Officer of the Commonwealth (MOC) considers whether you have a health condition that will be a significant cost to the Australian community in terms of the health care or community services required to manage your condition.
DHA use per capita data about health and community service costs to work out what your condition is likely to cost over a period of time:
- for temporary visa applicants, this is your period of stay
- for permanent visa applicants this is generally 5 years, or 3 years if you are aged 75 or older
If you have a permanent or ongoing condition with a reasonably predictable course, the MOC will estimate what your condition will cost the community over your remaining life expectancy up to a maximum of 10 years.
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.
DHA will not grant you a visa if you do not meet the health requirement because your condition is likely to be a significant cost, unless a health waiver is available and exercised.
DHA regard costs of AUD 51,000 or more to be significant.
Safeguarding access to health care and services
When the MOC determines whether you meet the health requirement, they will consider whether your condition is likely to prevent Australian citizens or permanent residents accessing health care or community services in short supply. DHA call this ‘prejudicing access’ to these services.
DHA take advice from the Australian Department of Health on health care and community services that are considered short in supply. Examples include:
- organ transplants
The Department can consider exercising a health waiver for some visas where DHA are satisfied that granting the visa would be unlikely to:
- result in significant cost to the Australian community, or
- prejudice the access of Australian citizens or permanent residents to health care or community services in short supply