When is a person entering Australia required to undergo a health undertaking?

Publish Date: Jan 03, 2012

Migrants wishing to reside in Australia must meet the necessary health requirements, which are essential in order to protect the wider population from potential health and safety risks. Of particular concern to the Department of Immigration and Citizenship (the Department) in regards to prospective migrants are instances where a person has an active case of tuberculosis (TB). Any person who is found to have an active case of TB, will be unable to obtain a visa until the Medical Officer of the Commonwealth declares a person free from the disease. Alternatively, a potential migrant who is found to have an inactive case of TB, may still be required to meet the health requirement or alternatively, may have to sign a health undertaking.

What is a health undertaking?
Due to the seriousness of TB, a person who is found to have an inactive case of the disease – but is assessed to have a greater risk of developing an active case of the disease – may need to undertake an agreement with the Australian Government, obliging the person to attend a health authority clinic for a follow-up on a medical assessment. Furthermore, a health undertaking can also be issued to a person found to have other health conditions, such as hepatitis B, C or leprosy.

Upon arrival into Australia, a person must contact the Health Undertaking Service (the HUS) within four weeks. Alternatively, if a visa was granted while the person was in the country, contact must be made to the HUS within four weeks of the granting of the visa – unless a case officer advises otherwise.
If a person chooses to abide with the health undertaking, they must sign the ‘Form 815 – Health undertaking form’ and return the completed document to the Department. If the form relates to a minor, it is up to either the parent or guardian to sign and complete the form on the child’s behalf.

What are the health undertaking requirements for a person who was granted a visa overseas?
Initially, the Australian Government provides visa applicants free health checks to the visa holder to ensure that the threat of TB spreading amongst family, friends and the wider community is minimised. Either the Government or the HUS will make the necessary arrangements for the visa holder to attend an appointment in Australia, and once contact is established with the HUS, the medical records of the visa holder will be passed along to the appropriate State or Territory health authority.

The overarching objective of requiring a person to adhere to a health undertaking is the successful treatment of the condition of the visa holder. There is no threat to the person’s visa status if the condition of their health has changed.

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