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AR LAW Services  |  Lawyers & Consultants  |  Masters of Australian Migration and Visa Law

Health Waivers (the nuts and bolts) Visa Refusal

For over 20 years AR LAW SERVICES has been winning difficult Health Waiver cases. In this post we go over the nuts and bolts of the Health waiver process.  Pursuant to the “Public Interest Criterion” (PIC) for the majority of Australian Visas, the health status of a visa applicant(s) is a relevant factor .  This basically means that an applicant (and any dependant’s included on the applicant’s application), must pass a health test to be granted the visa they have applied for.


Health Waivers – PIC 4007 – HIV – Down Syndrome and more

The Health Matrix

 To pass the health exam, the MOC who assess an applicant’s health must certify that the applicant(s) is free from:

1. tuberculosis;

2. a disease or medical condition that is, or may result in the applicant being, a threat to public health in Australia or a danger to the Australian community; and

3. a disease or medical condition which a person who has it would likely to:

a. require health care or community services in Australia; or

b. meet the medical criteria for the provision of a community service in Australia,

and the provision of the health care or community services would be likely to:

a. result in a significant cost to the Australian community in the areas of health care and community services; or

b. prejudice the access of an Australian citizen or permanent resident to health care or community services.

Significant Cost

The policy threshold for the level of costs regarded as significant is currently AUD$40 000.

Significant costs are assessed:

1. for temporary visas applicants, by taking into account their period of stay in Australia; and

2. for permanent visa applicants, over a five year period, or three years for those aged 75 or older.

As outlined above, you will also not meet the health requirement if a MOC determines that your condition is likely to prejudice the access of Australian citizens or permanent residents to health care and community services in short supply. In other words, if your condition is likely to limit access of Australian citizens or permanent residents to health care and community services in short supply, then you will not meet the health requirement.

Common Reasons for Refusal on Health Grounds

No diseases or health conditions automatically result in a failure to meet the health requirement on significant cost grounds. This is because the likely costs will depend on the form and severity of the condition.

However, the five most common diseases that permanent visa applicants who have failed the health requirement have been identified with are:

1. intellectual impairment;

2. HIV infection;

3. functional impairment;

4. renal disease or failure; and

5. cancer.

Health Waiver

If a MOC assesses you as unable to meet the health requirement, your visa application will be refused unless a “Health Waiver” is available and exercised.

A Health Waiver may be considered where you satisfy the Department of Immigration and Border Protection that the granting of the visa would be unlikely to result in undue costs or prejudice to access of an Australian citizen or permanent resident to health care or community services. These waivers are referred to as a “PIC 4007 Health Waiver”.

The Health Waiver applies in circumstances where it is in the best interests of the Australian community to waive the health criteria.

A Health Waiver is only available to be considered for applicants of certain visa subclasses, including, amongst others:

1. Partner Visas;

2. Child Visas;

3. Adoption Visas;

4. Employer Nominated Scheme Visas (Temporary Transition Stream only);

5. Regional Sponsored Migration Scheme Visas (Temporary Transition Stream only);

6. Offshore Humanitarian Visas;

7. Prospective Marriage Visas;

8. Dependent Child Visas;

9. Temporary Work (Skilled) (Subclass 457) Visa;

10. Skilled Regional Visas; and

11. Business Innovation and Investment Visa (Permanent)

There is a Health Waiver available to applicants for other visas in limited circumstances.

No Health Waiver is available where you have been found to have active tuberculosis, or another condition considered to be a threat to public health in Australia.


When deciding whether to exercise a Health Waiver, the DIBP will take into account the following mitigating factors:

1. the extent to  which the main visa applicant and/or their family may be able to mitigate potential costs/prejudice to access issues identified by an MOC;

2. the skills and qualifications of the main visa applicant and their migrating family members, for example occupation skills, qualifications, English language skills, work history and/or future employment prospects;

3. whether the applicant has significant family links in Australia;

4. whether a failure to exercise the health waiver will negatively impact Australian citizen children;

5. whether a failure to exercise the health waiver will result in immediate family members living apart;

6. whether if any Australian sponsor were forced to relocate it would negatively impact their health;

7. whether the applicant has ties to Australian community and social groups; and

8. any other compassionate and/or compelling factors that warrant a Health Waiver being exercised.


So if you or anyone you know need legal assistance regarding an Australian health waiver or has had an application or appeal to the AAT on health grounds matter talk to us. Book an initial 30 minute consultation for a flat fixed fee for the initial 30 minutes to discuss your issue with a Master Migration Lawyer.
Call 03 9614 0218 or email to make an initial 30 minute consultation at our Melbourne office. (conditions apply)
Note: this update, or any previous updates on this page, do not constitute legal advice and should not be relied upon as such.
Please call our office to seek professional advice before acting or relying on any of the content on this page