There has been a lot of media coverage this year in relation to barring the entry of HIV-positive people into Australia. Unlike some other countries, Australia does not presently ban HIV-positive people from entering the country. Australian visas do have strict health requirements to be met by all visa applicants but, depending on the individual circumstances involved, HIV-positive people are not only able to gain entry to this country, they can also be granted permanent residence here.
Immigration to Australia does become more complicated if you do have an ongoing health condition like HIV or hepatitis. Many visa applicants are concerned about whether having a medical condition affects their eligibility for a visa and, in many cases, it does. Most permanent visas generally do not permit a waiver of the health requirements. If you have any concerns about whether your health status will affect your eligibility for the visa you want to apply for, you should seek advice.
If, however, you are applying for one of the visas that does permit a waiver of the health requirements, then you may be able to meet the requirements for the visa. The Interdependency Visa, which is the visa used by Australians to sponsor their same-sex partners for permanent residence, does permit a waiver of the health requirements. In these cases, the Department of Immigration and Citizenship (DIAC) will need to be shown why the health requirements should be waived in your particular case.
Any visa applicant who seeks to rely on the health waiver will be required to show the DIAC that granting the visa will not be an “undue” cost to the Australian community. The DIAC will make an estimate of the cost of the visa grant to the Australian community, and this is usually in the region of $250,000. The DIAC then has to consider whether this cost is an undue one. In making their decision, they will have regard to a range of things, including the merits of the case, the potential for deterioration in the applicant’s health, the employment prospects in Australia for both the applicant and sponsor and whether or not the applicant is likely to be supported by family and friends in Australia at no public cost.
The process is a long and complex one, but many applicants successfully access the health waiver. It’s important to get advice from someone with experience in this area, so that you can address the requirements in detail and present the strongest possible case to the DIAC.
For more information check out the following link for the HIV/AIDS Legal Centre: www.halc.org.au.

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