Thursday, 1 November 2012

A fairer approach to migration for people with disability

Australian Minister for Immigration and Citizenship, Chris Bowen, media release, Wednesday, 31 October 2012:

The government will act to ensure a fairer, more flexible and individualised approach to people wanting to migrate to Australia who have a disability or health issues, the Minister for Immigration and Citizenship, Chris Bowen MP, announced today.

'The government will now take into account all of the circumstances when assessing prospective visa applicants against the visa health requirement,' Mr Bowen said.

'A 'net benefit' approach will allow decision makers to consider the social and economic benefits an applicant and their family bring to Australia compared to the cost of their health care.

'This will mean an individual's health costs can be offset by the benefit their family will bring to Australian society.'

From 1 July, the government proposes to increase the Significant Cost Threshold - the level at which an applicant's health costs are considered to result in significant health care and community service costs - from $21 000 to $35 000.

The government will also streamline health waivers for offshore humanitarian applicants who fail to meet the health requirement on cost grounds, bringing the offshore policy into line with onshore arrangements.
In order to maintain Australia's health standards, people who want to migrate permanently to Australia must satisfy the health requirement.

'Of course, the government's priority is the protection of public health so we will continue to apply rigorous and consistent health screening procedures,' Mr Bowen said.

'People who are considered to pose a significant health risk to the community will not be granted a visa.'

The proposed changes follow the Government's response to the recommendations made by the Joint Standing Committee on Migration's report, Enabling Australia: Inquiry into the Migration Treatment of Disability.

Mr Bowen will consult on the detailed implementation of the reforms with key stakeholders in coming weeks.

For more information on the health requirement, see The Health Requirement

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