Nov 2, 2012: Australia has announced that its immigration authority will adopt a more flexible and fairer approach to would-be migrants with disabilities.
According to the country’s Immigration and Citizenship Minister, Chris Bowen, the assessment process will now take into account all disabled applicants’ circumstances, including their general health. Bowen stated that the new ‘net benefit’ approach will consider the economic and social benefits the disabled applicant and his/her family will bring to the country compared to his/her projected health care costs.
In addition, from 1 July 2013, an increase will be made to the Significant Cost Threshold, taking it to A$35,000 from A$21,000. The threshold sets the level at which a disabled person’s healthcare expenses result in significant community service and medical costs.
Another government move will streamline the granting of health waivers to migrants entering for humanitarian reasons who would otherwise fail the healthcare requirements on cost grounds. The move will bring the offshore policy in line with that in the country itself.
Bowen continued that, in order to protect public health, the consistent and rigorous health screening programme will continue to be applied, with those deemed to pose a significant health threat to the community refused entry. The changes are the result of the recent Enabling Australia enquiry by the Joint Standing Committee on Migration.