Health and medical requirements for Australian visas

There are no set rules, only guidelines and history when it comes to the assessment of health conditions and medical exam requirements for an Australian visa.


Applicants for most types of visas for Australia are required to meet health requirements, amongst other prescribed criteria, before a visa can be granted. All applicants for permanent migration visas, and long stay temporary / provisional visas are required to undergo a full medical examination and chest x-ray with a “panel doctor” (see below) before a visa can be granted. Some applicants for temporary stay visas may also be required to undergo one or both examinations, or provide a “fitness to travel” letter from a doctor before a visa can be granted.

Please note that no one can guarantee that your application will meet the medical criteria, and that no assessment of medical conditions can be done prior to an actual visa application being lodged.

You can consider case law, and purely guess if any medical condition is likely to lead to a refusal on medical grounds – but, in many cases, an accurate assessment of serious medical matters can not be made unless it clearly falls within the serious conditions listed below with significant associated medical costs

All children / dependents included in your application aged 11 + must undertake full medicals and X-ray examination. NOTE also that ALL children under age 18, whether they are applying or included in the applicant or not, MUST do a medical and pass a medical – this INCLUDES children from a previous marriage not included in your application.

All the persons included in your application as well as all of your dependents (even if they are not included in your application) MUST undertake a medical exam, and must “pass” the medical. If one fails, all fail – and the visa will be refused.


Which medical conditions are cause for concern ?

Some brief notes on health assessments. All people who come to Australia are assessed as to their healthiness. For people applying for permanent visas this is a critical part of their overall assessment. If they fail their health checks they will most likely not obtain a visa to Australia.

People who have medical problems that may harm the health of the Australian public would find it difficult to meet the health criteria as would those who cause Prejudice of Access (transplantation, dialysis, blood products, radiotherapy, high level nursing home care, etc). However most health problems relate not to contagious diseases but the cost of caring for those problems.

If the cost of the health care is ‘significant’ then a refusal of a visa application normally follows.

As a general guide an assessment is made of the likely health costs over 3-5 years. If these costs are greater than $20,000 they are considered ‘significant’. In calculating these costs factors taken into account include use of Health and Community services, Costs of Support Services (carer payments, disability support pensions, residential care, respite care and home help, disability equipment, supported education, palliative care).

Some medical conditions of importance (which may lead to a refusal on medical grounds)

HIV – costs of specialist care, antiviral medication and hospital/hospice care, loss of work capacity

Chronic Active Hepatitis (B or C) – costs of specialist care, interferon and antiviral medication, liver failure. Loss of function, work capacity.

Heart Disorders – eg ischaemic heart disease, coronary artery disease, valvular disease, heart failure, arrhythmias. Costs of specialist care, bypass surgery, valve replacement, implantable defibrillator, heart transplantation. Loss of function, work capacity, independence.

Blood Disorder – eg haemophilia, thalassemia major, leukaemia. Costs of specialists care, blood products, bone marrow transplantation, palliative care (if required).

Endocrine Disorders – diabetes. Costs of specialist care, potential for kidney failure and need for dialysis, other complications, loss of function & work capacity.

Growth hormone deficiency. High costs of growth hormone therapy.

Deafness – costs of cochlear implant (depending on age), speech therapy, deaf service teacher & interpreters, loss of work capcity.

Blindness – costs of income support, Braille equipment, guide dog, loss of work capacity.

Nerve and Brain disorders – cerebrovascular disease, stroke, multiple sclerosis, dementia, paralyses. Costs of treatment, rehabilitation, residential care, loss of independence.

Orthopaedic and connective tissue disorders (eg arthritis). Cost of joint replacements, loss of work capacity, loss of independence, residential care.

Psychiatric Disorders – eg schizophrenia, major depression, drug and alcohol dependence. Costs of specialist care, hospital inpatient costs, residential care, rehabilitation, and detoxification programs.

Chest Disorders (excluding TB) – eg chronic obstructive disease, cystic fibrosis, respiratory failure. Costs of specialist care, recurrent hospital admissions, specialized medications, lung transplantation, home oxygen. TB will lead to a refusal on medical grounds immediately.

Cancers – cost of treatment (initial and for any recurrence) and surveillance. If in remission, can be cleared ?

There is a health waiver available for a number of visa classes where the costs can be more than significant, mostly this occurs in close family cases like Partners, fiancés etc. In such situations the costs can be up to around $200,000 and still meet the health criteria, although all are treated on a case by case basis.

There are no easy decisions but instead case history can be referred to for the sake of perspective.

For your Australia visa assessment, just go to ‘register’ and ‘Get Assessed’ at the top or bottom of the pages.

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