Individuals and Travellers

Threats to public health

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To protect the Australian community from public health and safety risks, you must be free from a disease or condition considered to be a threat to public health or a danger to the Australian community in order to meet the health requirement.

Tuberculosis

Tuberculosis is a serious disease which has been declared an epidemic and a global emergency.

You will be tested for tuberculosis if you are applying for a permanent visa. You must undergo testing for tuberculosis as part of the visa application process.

If you are applying for a temporary visa you may be asked to undergo tuberculosis testing on a risk management basis. Information to help you determine what health examinations are required is available.

Test to identify tuberculosis

The Australian immigration health process mainly tests for active tuberculosis, which is the most infectious form of the disease and poses the greatest threat to public health.

Applicants aged 11 years and over must complete a chest x-ray to determine if there is any evidence of active tuberculosis.

Alternative tuberculosis testing arrangements are in place for applicants under 11 years of age with a medical examination required. From 20 November 2015, certain higher tuberculosis risk applicants aged two years or more but under 11 years of age must also complete an additional tuberculosis screening test.

Evidence of tuberculosis

If your chest x-ray shows evidence of possible tuberculosis, you will be asked to undergo additional health examinations to establish whether or not active tuberculosis is present.

  • If you are found to have active tuberculosis you cannot be granted a visa until after you have received treatment, and are assessed by a Medical Officer of the Commonwealth (MOC) as being free from active tuberculosis.
  • If you are found to have inactive tuberculosis you may still meet the health requirement, however, you may be asked to sign a health undertaking.

HIV and hepatitis

You are required to have an HIV test if you apply for:

  • a permanent visa and you are 15 years of age or older
  • you intend to work as, or study to become, a doctor, nurse, dentist or paramedic in Australia
  • a permanent visa and you are aged less than 15 years of age and:
    • applying for an adoption visa
    • have a history of blood transfusions
    • have any other clinical indications that you may be HIV positive
    • your biological mother is (or was) HIV positive.

You will need to undergo hepatitis testing if you are:

  • pregnant
  • applying for an adoption visa
  • applying for a humanitarian or protection visa
  • an unaccompanied refugee minor
  • intending to work as, or to study to become, a doctor, nurse, dentist or paramedic in Australia.

Evidence of HIV or hepatitis

HIV and hepatitis are not generally considered to be threats to public health. If you are a temporary visa applicant assessed as having these conditions your condition may be found to be a threat to public health if you:

  • intend to work as a doctor, dentist, nurse or paramedic whilst in Australia
  • have a viral load of a certain level
  • intend to undertake procedures where there is a risk of contact between the worker's blood and the patients open tissue.

In all other cases, if you have HIV or hepatitis you will only be assessed by a MOC to determine whether your condition would result in significant health care or community service costs and/or 'prejudice the access' of Australian citizens and permanent residents to services in short supply. For more information, see significant costs and services in short supply.

Yellow fever

It is strongly encouraged that you hold an international vaccination certificate, if:

  • you are one year of age or older, and
  • within six days before arriving in Australia, you have stayed overnight or longer in a yellow fever declared country.

For more information, see The Department of Health website.

Polio

Polio is a highly infectious virus that invades the nervous system.

On 5 May 2014, the World Health Organisation (WHO) declared that the transmission of wild poliovirus is a Public Health Emergency of International Concern and identified ten countries as being of risk. These countries are Afghanistan, Cameroon, Equatorial Guinea, Ethiopia, Iraq, Israel, Nigeria, Pakistan, Somalia and Syria.

Due to the very high vaccination coverage against polio in Australia, the risk of polio spreading in Australia is considered to be low. It is nevertheless considered appropriate for measures to be put in place to reduce the risk of further spread of the virus.

The WHO has now declared the polio outbreak over in Israel and three other countries (Ethiopia, Iraq and Syria), however certain populations remain vulnerable and continue to require active vaccination.  Consistent with advice from the WHO, the polio vaccination requirements have now been lifted for travellers from Israel only at this time. Due to the vulnerable nature of populations in Ethiopia, Iraq and Syria it has been decided that vaccination requirements will remain in place for these three countries.

For more information on polio, see The Department of Health website.

Polio – Measures for visa applicants

Applicants will be asked to provide a polio vaccination certificate if applying for a visa from outside of Australia if:

  • you have spent 28 days or longer in Afghanistan, Cameroon, Equatorial Guinea, Ethiopia, Iraq, Nigeria, Pakistan, Somalia or Syria, or in any combination of these countries, on or after 5 May 2014, or
  • are a national of one of the above countries and are applying for an offshore humanitarian visa.

To avoid delays, if you are lodging a new application, you should provide this at the time you apply.

Applicants attending a medical appointment with a panel physician should bring their certificate to the medical appointment.

Ebola virus disease

In December 2015 The World Health Organisation announced that all countries previously affected with the virus, were now Ebola free. Consequently, the Australian Government downscaled all border screening measures at international airports and seaports.

Travelling to Australia

Visas are now processed under normal arrangements.

There is no special requirement to enter Australia if you are travelling from a country that has previously been listed as Ebola affected.

We continuously work closely with The Department of Health and other relevant agencies to monitor the situation.