The Department has recently updated its policy regarding PIC 4005, otherwise known as the health requirement.

Depending on the visa subclass you are applying for, different Public Interest Criteria will apply. These form the basis of (generally) non-negotiable criteria that are to be met by the applicant, and failure to meet them often results in the application being refused.

On the basis of health criteria, visas are generally refused in order to:

  1. Prevent communicable diseases from being brought into the country, and thus protecting other Australians;

  2. Place a significant burden on the healthcare system due to their potential to incur above average healthcare costs; and

  3. Not prejudice the access of Australians to medical care, such as organ transplants.

PIC 4005 is the standard health requirement. Until 1 July 2019, if the cost of a condition suffered by the applicant was likely to exceed $40,000 across the duration of the applicant’s potential residency in Australia, PIC 4005 would not be met and the visa would be rejected. From 1 July 2019, this threshold has increased to $49,000, and the costs are calculated over a maximum period of 10 years as opposed to the total length of the applicant’s potential residency.

This is a significant development for several reasons. First, of course, an extra $9,000 per applicant allows for the cost of additional treatment to be covered.

It is also significant given the fact that previously, young visa applicants with conditions requiring ongoing care would fail to meet the requirement as it would be assumed that their lifespan would be longer, and the calculation of the cost of care would therefore be much higher.

With the limitation of 10 years across which to assess the cost, it is not relevant whether care would be required beyond this period – and it is subsequently more likely that PIC 4005 would be met.

In addition, many applications have secondary applicants who are members of the primary applicant’s family unit. A feature of the health criterion is that if one applicant fails, the other applicants are also effectively deemed to fail. With the relaxation of the health requirement, it is more likely that families will be able to both meet the requirement and stay together.

It is also possible that PIC 4005 will not apply at all, with PIC 4007 instead being the relevant health criterion for certain matters. This criterion enables a health waiver to be obtained if the Department is satisfied that the grant of the visa would be unlikely to result in undue cost to the Australian community or prejudice to access to medical care. PIC 4007 is therefore a much more relaxed requirement.

If you require advice regarding the health criteria, or need assistance responding to an Invitation to Comment, feel free to get in touch with us.