Fact sheet - Departure Health Check (DHC)

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A departure health check (DHC) is a health check undertaken within 72 hours of a client's confirmed departure for Australia for humanitarian visa holders. It is a voluntary process.

The aims of DHC are to:

  • ensure Humanitarian Program clients are healthy enough to travel to Australia
  • ensure additional support is provided throughout the flight if required
  • provide vaccination and de-worming before resettlement
  • reduce the number of acute health issues in humanitarian clients after arrival in Australia, helping facilitate resettlement and protecting the health of the Australian community
  • allow arrangements to be made in Australia for client health issues identified before departure.

What does a DHC include?

A DHC comprises of:

  • a physical examination, for example a mouth and throat check, taking temperature and blood pressure
  • a tuberculosis (TB) evaluation for people with a history of TB or exhibiting symptoms of TB
  • malaria and parasite testing and treatment
  • administration of prescribed vaccinations including measles, mumps and rubella (MMR) for people aged from nine months to 54 years unless a reliable written record of previous immunisation is available, or the person is pregnant
  • treatment of parasites and infestations.

Will visas be cancelled?

Valid refugee and humanitarian visa holders will not be prevented from travelling to Australia if an illness is identified at a DHC. Occasionally, travel to Australia may be delayed because a DHC physical examination identifies a medical condition requiring treatment before travel. More rarely, a DHC may result in a recommendation that a client travel with a medical escort.

Making a DHC appointment

An immigration officer or International Organization for Migration (IOM) representative will contact humanitarian visa holders to organise a DHC appointment at a time and location that is convenient for the visa holder.

Visa holders are asked to respond as soon as possible to make this appointment.

What happens after a DHC?

If the visa holder is given a clean bill of health at the DHC, travel to Australia is undertaken as planned.

If any problems are identified through the DHC the client may be helped in a number of ways:

  • immediate treatment until they are ‘fit-to-fly'
  • follow up treatment arranged for them once they arrive in Australia.

If travel is delayed in order to complete required medical treatments identified at the DHC, then new arrangements for travel will be made.

In some cases, for a visa holder with special health needs, a medical escort may accompany them during their travel to Australia to provide any required health care.

The Department's settlement support service providers are on hand in Australia to assist new arrivals with any special needs, including health needs.

Who pays for treatment?

The Department will cover any costs associated with overseas treatment for conditions identified at a DHC.

Once in Australia, the Australian Government provides help with medical expenses and hospital care through Medicare.

Who provides a DHC?

A DHC is performed by qualified health practitioners endorsed by the Department. In the majority of regions where DHCs are offered, IOM conducts DHCs on behalf of the Department.

IOM is an inter-governmental organisation that manages safe and efficient travel for displaced persons, refugees and other migrants to their final destination. This is achieved through providing services and advice on travel and related issues to governments and to migrants. IOM has about 400 offices in more than 120 countries across the world.

Where are DHCs offered?

The service is offered in most places where humanitarian visa holders will depart to Australia.