Effective 20 November 2015, a new health policy will apply to applicants for Australian visas.
What has changed?
Countries that do not generally require Immigration Health Examinations
Applicants from countries of lower risk who are applying for temporary visas will generally not be required to undertake health examinations. Permanent stay applications will, however, require various health examinations.
Countries that do require Immigration Health Examinations
Stays of under six months
No medical assessments will be required for individuals who are applying for a temporary visa and intend to remain in Australia for less than six months, even if they are a national of a higher risk country, or have spent three or more consecutive months during the last five years in a higher risk country.
Stays of six months or over
Nationals or recent residents of higher risk countries will be required to undergo a medical examination and a chest x-ray If they are applying for a temporary visa but intending to remain in Australia for six months or longer.
TB testing for children
Under the new policy, children under 11 years of age who are applying for a temporary visa and declare close family contact with TB in their visa application or My Health Declarations form will have to undergo TB testing (TST or IGRA).
Previously children under 11 had to undergo a medical examination (rather than a chest x-ray examination) where required.
Additional health examinations
Additional health examinations will be required in instances where the “special significance” rule applies. This rule applies to individuals from any country who are intending to work as a doctor, dentist, nurse or paramedic, likely to work at an Australian Childcare centre, likely to enter a health care or hospital environment, are pregnant and intending to have their baby in Australia, or are aged 75 years and older.
From 20 November, special significance no longer applies to individuals who have applied for a student visa and/or are likely to be in a “classroom situation” for more than three months.
Provisional or permanent visas
The current health requirements will continue to apply to all individuals who are applying for provisional and permanent visas with the exception of the introduction of a new TB screening test (TST or IGRA) requirement for children aged between 2 and 10 years from countries of higher risk.