New Australian visa change requirements bring hope

August 15, 2019

A change to
Commonwealth Government rules in the way people are assessed for visas is
bringing a ray of hope to people living with viral hepatitis.

health requirements for Australia are strict. To date, they have prevented
any migrant with an illness, disease, or intellectual or physical disability
from obtaining a visa if it is deemed their condition will be too costly to the
Australian taxpayer or put the general public at risk.

“I am
delighted to learn these rules have been relaxed,
both in terms of the financial cap and the number of years over which the costs
can be assessed
,” said Melanie Eagle CEO of Hepatitis Victoria.

“This is
good news for people living with viral hepatitis who want to live and work in
Australia as the higher threshold and shorter calculation period should mean
that nobody with hepatitis B or C is denied a visa,” Melanie said.

From 1 July 2019, significant costs associated with a
condition are assessed as those exceeding $49,000 over ten years.
Previously the cost threshold was $40,000 over a person’s lifetime. Read
the SBS story
and a follow-up article here.

Hepatitis Victoria has previously received
worrying reports of people living with chronic viral hepatitis (in particular,
hepatitis B) being unsuccessful in applying for permanent and temporary
Australian visas. To support visa applicants last year the organisation created
a resource Australian
visa applicants and hepatitis

“We became aware of the issue
through discussions with colleagues and directly from enquires to the Hepatitis
Infoline,” Melanie said.

The previous rules were a clear
example of health-based discrimination in the Australian immigration system
which disadvantage those living with viral hepatitis who want to call Australia

Still, the application process
is far from perfect and the complex terms and processes of filling applications
and collecting supporting documents can be a confusing and exhausti

In response, Hepatitis Victoria has information in simple terms as well as in a number of languages.
These aim
to inform and empower people who
are living with chronic viral hepatitis as they navigate the application

Input was also obtained from an
migration lawyer people with personal experience of viral hepatitis and applying for Australian visas.

Australian visa applicants and
hepatitis is available digitally on the Hepatitis Victoria website
in English, Burmese, Vietnamese, Arabic, Chinese and Dari.  Hard copies of
the English resource are also available by contacting Hepatitis Victoria.

In the media

Watch video report


We are here to answer your queries and support you. Call or chat with us online.
LiverWELL acknowledges the support of the Victorian Government.
We acknowledge and pay respect to the past, present and future Traditional Custodians and Elders of this nation and the continuation of cultural, spiritual and educational practices of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.

We welcome people from all cultures, nationalities and religions. Being inclusive and providing equitable services is our commitment.

ABN 48 656 812 701