« Health restrictions on treatment costs eased »

The Significant Cost Threshold at which visa applications will be refused on the grounds that medical costs are too high for the Australian government will be raised with effect from 1 July 2012.

The threshold is currently set at AU$21,000 over five years, or three years for people who are over 75 years old. It should be increased to AU$35,000 from July in an attempt to move away from any perceptions of discriminations against disabilities.

This threshold exists to determine whether or not a migrant would be a burden on Australian resources, or whether they would prevent Australian citizens from accessing potentially lifesaving treatments. 

The second most common reason for a visa application being rejected is health concerns. Of these rejections about two thirds of them were because the cost of potential treatment required by a migrant would exceed the threshold set by the Federal Government.

The kinds of conditions that have led to visas being refused have included HIV, cancer, heart conditions and epilepsy. 

The DIAC commissioned an external review of the threshold in 2010 but has kept the findings confidential to date. The announced increase in the threshold was seemingly based on this review however, and it has been reported that a DIAC spokesperson confirmed that the current threshold was too low.

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