15 May 2009
Permanent Australian visa application health requirements to have terms redefined
The Australian Immigration Minister, Senator Evans, is looking to redefine the Australian visa application health requirements for permanent Australian visa applications, after a controversial case of a German family's application for permanent residency was initially rejected on account of a disability.
All permanent Australian visa applicants must meet certain visa health requirements before they can have their Australian visa application granted. This is to ensure that those who are granted permanent residence in the country do not put strain on the rights they have to the public health care system. Any person that is deemed to put undue strain on the health profession because of their health condition will not be granted a permanent Australian visa.
The Joint Standing Committee on Migration will investigate the assessment of health costs associated with a disability as part of the Australian visa application process.
The Minister has said the following terms will be used as reference:
- Report on the options to properly assess the economic and social contribution of people with a disability and their families seeking to migrate to Australia.
- Report on the impact on funding for, and availability of, community services for people with a disability moving to Australia either temporarily or permanently.
- Report on whether the balance between the economic and social benefits of the entry and stay of an individual with a disability, and the costs and use of services by that individual, should be a factor in a visa decision.
- Report on how the balance between costs and benefits might be determined and the appropriate criteria for making a decision based on that assessment.
- Report on a comparative analysis of similar migrant receiving countries.
The Committee's objective in evaluating the terms of reference has been spearheaded by Senator Evans and the Parliamentary Secretary for Disabilities and Children's Services, Bill Shorten, after Senator Evans was asked to intervene in a permanent Australian visa application case for Dr Bernhard Moeller and his family last year.
Dr Moeller had been working in the Australian healthcare system in a specialised field for two years in country Victoria, and had become an invaluable member of the community. His family's permanent Australian visa application was denied in the first instance because of his son's Down syndrome. Senator Evans overturned the ruling, saying that their contribution to the Australian community far outweighed the medical costs Dr Moeller's son would pose on the health system.
The case of the family made it clear that the current methods for assessing the health costs of a person for an Australian visa application do not take into account the contributions that person can make to the Australian community in other ways.
"People with disability are capable of making important contributions to the Australian workforce and general community," Mr Shorten said.
"I welcome this inquiry as a chance to highlight this contribution and the need for an immigration policy that recognises the rights of people with a disability and their carers to be treated fairly."
The Australian Visa Bureau is an independent consulting company specialising in helping people with their Australian visa application.