Posted by: Chasy | 28/11/2011

DIAC and its medical hurdles

My attention was drawn to this article today regarding health assessments for visas and applicants who are rejected on the basis of chronic illness or disability.

Just quickly, I wanted to note three things:

1. The cost over 5 years has dropped since 2005: It used to be $25000, now it is $21000. This would, presumably, exclude more applicants. I am unsure if this was a recent change by the Gillard Government, or something done by the Howard Government before they were ousted.

2. The way in which the ‘are told to ignore whether the applicant has insurance or scholarship that may pay for their treatment’, I believe, has been misrepresented. As far as I was aware, this was always the case. It is DIAC to whom the applicant has to submit this information. The medical assessment made by the Senior Medical Advisor is then taken as one part of a great sum of information that the applicant is to submit, including whether they have the funds or insurance to pay for their treatment.

3. There is a visa called a ‘Medical Treatment Visa’ (Long Stay Subclass 685 and Short Stay Subclass 675). These visas are temporary, not permanent – but technically, so is Permanent Residency (under various subclasses, is a 5 year visa which must be renewed on an infinite basis until the applicant applies for citizenship). The information states these visas can be renewed, if continued treatment is deemed necessary. One would assume, that, if the applicant suffers a chronic illness or disability, treatment would still be required. If not, they would be free to apply for Permanent Residency and not be rejected on medical grounds. Of course, this is where it becomes a matter of finances, which means applicants from developing countries may be excluded. However, it is my understanding that there are reciprocal medical programs in place with countries within the Asia-Pacific region and beyond.

So, in short, yes, someone with a chronic illness or disability would be rejected for a regular temporary or permanent visa, but there are ways around it. The fact that the application process is so discriminatory in the first place is appalling, but there is more than one pathway to obtaining a visa if you suffer a chronic illness or disability.

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