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Visa refusals on medical grounds

Understanding your options in Australia

The Australian government requires most applicants to meet the minimum health requirements as part of the eligibility criteria for a grant of a visa. This is to ensure the safety of the Australian community by mitigating public health risks, reducing public health expenses and preserving Australians' access to healthcare and community services.

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Reasons for a visa refusal on health grounds

A visa may be refused if an applicant does not meet the health requirement. Specifically because the applicant has:

  • Active tuberculosis 
  • A disease or medical condition that is, or may result in the applicant being, a threat to public health in Australia or a danger to Australia. 
  • A disease or medical condition that will cause a significant cost to the Australian community in the areas of health care and community services; or prejudice the access of an Australian citizen or permanent resident to healthcare or community services 

How to address a visa refusal on health grounds

Encountering a visa refusal can be a distressing experience for many. To effectively address such refusals, it is crucial for visa applicants to fully understand the specific circumstances surrounding their refusal to then take appropriate measures to resolve the underlying issues. Therefore, it is strongly recommended that individuals seek assistance from migration lawyers. 

Addressing visa refusals varies based on the individual's unique situation, the grounds for the refusal and the type of visa being sought for. In certain instances, a refusal can undergo a review process at the Administrative Appeals Tribunal (AAT) where a tribunal member evaluates the Department's decision. In limited circumstances, individuals may opt to further appeal an AAT decision to the Federal Court if they believe that the AAT has made a legal error. It is crucial to emphasise that appeals are subject to stringent time constraints as such, it is important to act immediately upon receiving a notice of refusal.

How to avoid a visa refusal on health grounds

If you suffer from a chronic disease or condition that requires medical treatment that would prevent you from meeting the health requirement, a health waiver is available in certain circumstances. A health waiver can only be applied for if the visa you applied for has what is known as a ‘PIC 4007’ attached which will allow you to waive the need to meet the health criterion. 

Consequences of a visa refusal on health grounds

Ordinarily, a visa refusal means that you will not be granted the visa you applied for resulting in the denial of your entry into the country. If you do not successfully address a refusal through a successful visa appeal or by submitting a new visa application, you will not be allowed in the country or be required to depart Australia as you do not hold a substantive visa. 

Outcomes of a refusal on health grounds

If a visa appeal is successful, the Department of Home Affairs will likely grant the applicant's visa. On the other hand, if an appeal at the AAT is unsuccessful, there is a potential avenue for appealing the decision in the Federal Circuit Court, albeit under restricted circumstances and under specific criteria. In situations where pursuing a Federal Court appeal is not a feasible option, visa applicants must make arrangements to depart Australia if they are within the country or abstain from entering if they are outside Australia. 

Benefits of using an immigration lawyer

Our experienced team at Australian Migration Lawyer are well-versed in immigration law, particularly in complex cases involving cancellation and refusals. Our primary objective is to facilitate access to justice, a commitment we uphold by providing assistance to individuals who entrust us with their visa refusal concerns.

  • Our team at Australian Migration Lawyers consists of Australian lawyers who possess a profound understanding of Australian migration law. This enables us to offer comprehensive support throughout the appeals process.
  • Furthermore, we offer guidance on various migration options and strategies available to you.
  • As legal professionals, we bear the responsibility of ensuring that your application fully aligns with all requirements, naturally increasing the likelihood of a favourable outcome.
  • From the initial stages to the culmination of your application, we are here to support you every step of the way of the appeal process. This includes working closely with you to address any additional requests made by the Tribunal or Court.

Health requirement refusal costs

Our professional fees will vary depending on the circumstances of your application. Some applications will be more complex than others and our fees will be quoted accordingly. We work on a fixed-fee basis rather than billing hourly to provide our clients with certainty about the total costs associated with their visa appeal. We offer payment plans based on different financial needs to provide flexibility for our clients. 

Visa refusal process

Navigating a visa refusal can be complex. With help from an Australian Migration Lawyer, we can untangle this complexity, and help you with the next steps.

1. Consultation and engagement

2. Preparation and support

3. Submission and communication

4. Representation and outcome

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Frequently asked questions

Read our most frequently asked questions about visa refusals on health grounds:

What happens if my visa does not have a PIC 4007 attached?

If a PIC 4007 is not attached to your visa, a PIC 4005 will be attached and this will not allow you to apply for a health waiver. This means that if you do not meet the health requirements, you will not be granted a visa.  

What is considered a significant cost?

The significant cost threshold is currently $51,000. Your health condition would be considered to cause a significant cost to the community if it is over this threshold. 

What is considered as prejudicing access to healthcare or community services?

A condition that would require access to services such as organ transplants or dialysis which are considered to be in short supply will be deemed as prejudicing access to healthcare or community. 

About the content author

Perry Q Wood
Partner - Principal Migration Lawyer

Perry Q Wood is National President of the Australian Institute of Administrative Law and one of Australia’s leading administrative and migration lawyers. To date, he has been involved in 1,000+ migration and refugee matters.

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