Health requirements for migrants to Australia
by The FindLaw Team
In order to protect the wider Australian population from potential health and safety risks, migrants wishing to reside here must meet the necessary health requirements. Prospective migrants with tuberculosis (TB) are particularly noteworthy to the Department of Immigration and Border Protection. Any person who is found to have an active case of tuberculosis will be unable to obtain a visa to enter Australia until such time that a Medical Officer of the Commonwealth declares a person free from the disease. In the instance of a potential migrant with an inactive case of the disease, they may still be mandated to meet the health requirements. Alternatively, the migrant in question may have to sign a health undertaking.
What is a health undertaking?
Given the seriousness of tuberculosis, a person who is found to have an inactive case of the disease, but is assessed to have a greater risk of developing an active case of the disease, may need to make a health undertaking. This is an agreement with the Australian Government, which mandates the person to attend a health authority clinic for a follow-up on a medical assessment. In addition to tuberculosis, a health undertaking can also be issued to a person found to have other health conditions, such as hepatitis B, C or leprosy.
Upon arrival in Australia, the person must contact the Health Undertaking Service (the HUS) within a four week timeframe. Alternatively, if a visa was granted while the person was in the country, contact must be made to the HUS within four weeks of the granting of the visa – unless a case officer advises otherwise.
If a person chooses to abide with the health undertaking, they must sign the ‘Form 815 – Health undertaking form’ and return the completed document to the Department. If the form relates to a minor, it is up to either the parent or guardian to sign and complete the form on the child’s behalf.
What are the health undertaking requirements for a person who was granted a visa overseas?
Initially, the Australian Government provides visa applicants free health checks to the visa holder to ensure that the threat of TB spreading amongst family, friends and the wider community is minimised. Either the Government or the HUS will make the necessary arrangements for the visa holder to attend an appointment in Australia, and once contact is established with the HUS, the medical records of the visa holder will be passed along to the appropriate State or Territory health authority.
The overarching objective of requiring a person to adhere to a health undertaking is the successful treatment of the condition of the visa holder. There is no threat to the person’s visa status if the condition of their health has changed.