Thinking About Migrating To Australia?

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We field a lot of enquiries from people inside (and outside) Australia regarding concernsshutterstock_226273351 over HIV being an obstacle for migration to Australia.

Australia’s migration system is very complex and it is recommended that an individual seeks migration advice before applying for a visa.

All Australian visas are subject to health criteria. Due to the ‘health criteria’ mandated by the Australian Department of Immigration and Border Protection (DIBP) PLHIV aren’t always able to obtain a visa. The health criterion states (amongst other things) that an applicant must not have a condition that would likely be to pose a significant cost to the Australian Community. The Department find that in most cases, HIV does pose a significant cost.

That is not the end of the story, whether HIV will affect a visa application depends on a number of factors which include; the length of a visa and whether the visa has a health waiver available. What we mean by ‘health waiver’ is that some visas allow for a waiver (or exemption) from the health criteria.

This is not to say that positive migration is impossible, that most certainly is not the case, but living with HIV does make it trickier.

However, for some visa classes, there isn’t an option to have the health criteria waived.

The premier resource for positive migration is undoubtedly the HIV/AIDS Legal Centre’s Positive Migration Guide. The information above has been taken from this guide.

Another fantastic resource is the Australian Federation of AIDS Organisation’s infographic on the health requirement[1].

Are you looking to migrate to Australia? Here are QPP’s top 3 tips:

  • Seek qualified migration advice   

Credible advice should only be given by a migration agent or migration solicitor. Every qualified migration agent/solicitor has to be registered with the Australian Migration Agents Registration Authority (MARA).

The MARA website allows you to search for agents in your area or to double check if your migration agent is registered.

The Office also has some great tips on choosing and finding an agent. It also includes rough estimates of fees you should expect.

  •  Have a support network  

The value of having a support network around you while navigating the process cannot be underestimated. This may include (but should not be limited to) family and friends or even a partner.

However, alongside this support, your local community organisation and Australian clinician are going to be invaluable to you throughout the process. Your clinician will need to provide a report to the DIPB and your community organisation (like QPP) can help link you to other services and supports and in some cases provide supporting documentation and letters to the Department.

  • Consider all of the costs involved  

These not only include financial costs, but also emotional and psychological. The migration process (from application to visa denial or grant) can often take years. Being in ‘migration limbo’ and living in a state of uncertainty is often overlooked by applicants.

Obtaining migration advice can be costly, however sometimes and you can obtain advice for free from a community legal centre or on a pro-bono[2] basis. Whether you are able to receive cost reduced advice depends on provider, often there is an eligibility basis or waiting period.

Don’t know where to start? Feeling overwhelmed at the process? You’re not alone. Contact QPP and arrange to have a conversation with our support staff by phoning 07 3013 5555/Toll free 1800 636 241 or emailing info@qpp.org.au.

[1] The corresponding article outlining the need for reform is also a valuable read.

[2]  ‘Pro-bono’ refers to professional work undertaken voluntarily and without payment or at a reduced fee as a public service or for the public good or in the public interest.