Immigration policy requires an applicant who is applying for New Zealand residence to demonstrate that they have met the acceptable standard of health requirements.
If a person does not meet these standards, they must undergo a health and medical waiver assessment.
Acceptable standard of health
Immigration New Zealand provides for a two-tiered system to determine whether an applicant is able to show that they have met acceptable standard of health requirements for a residence application.
The first tier is a list of medical conditions that will not meet the standard, and therefore an applicant will require a medical waiver in order for their application to be approved.
The list of health conditions which may indicate that a person will not meet the acceptable standard of health requirements includes:
- HIV infection
- Hepatitis B surface antigen positive, with abnormal liver function
- Hepatitis C, RNA positive, with abnormal liver function
- Malignancies of solid organs and haematopoietic tissue, including past history of, or currently under treatment.
- Treated minor skin malignancies (not melanoma); malignancies where the interval since treatment is such that the probability of cure is > 90%, e.g.: early stage (I & IIA) breast cancer at 5 years.
- Low risk prostate cancer at 5 years; early stage (Dukes A & B1)
- Colorectal cancer at 5 years; childhood leukaemia at 5 years.
- Solid organ transplants, excluding corneal grafts more than 6 months old;
- Chronic renal failure or progressive renal disorders.
- Solid organ transplants, excluding corneal grafts more than 6 months old.
- Diseases or disorders such as osteoarthritis with a high probability of arthroplasty in the next four years.
- Central Nervous System disease, including motor neurone disease, complex partial seizures,
- Poorly controlled epilepsy, prion disease.
- Alzheimer’s and other dementia, and including paraplegia and quadriplegia.
- Cardiac disease including ischaemic heart disease, cardiomyopathy or valve disease requiring surgical and/or other procedural intervention.
- Chronic obstructive respiratory disease with limited exercise tolerance and requiring oxygen;
- Genetic or congenital disorders: muscular dystrophies, cystic fibrosis, thalassaemia major, sickle cell anaemia if more than one sickle crisis in 4 years, severe haemophilia, and severe primary immunodeficiency.
- Severe autoimmune disease, currently being treated with immuno-suppressants other than prednisone
- In a person, up to the age of 21 years, a severe (71-90 decibels) hearing loss or profound bilateral sensori-neural hearing loss.
- In a person, up to the age of 21 years, a severe vision impairment with visual acuity of 6/36 or beyond after best possible correction, or a loss restricting the field of vision to 15-20 degrees.
- In a person, up to the age of 21 years, a severe physical disability, where they are unable to stand and walk without support, and cannot independently dress, eat, hold a cup, or maintain their stability when sitting.
The second tier is where conditions are not listed as above but an applicant may also fail the acceptable standard of health requirements for the following reasons:
- In the case of acute medical conditions, there is a relatively high probably that the condition or group of conditions will require health services costing in excess of NZ$41,000.00 within a period of five years from the date the assessment is made; or
- In the case of chronic recurring medical conditions, over the predicted course of the condition or group of conditions, there is a relatively high probability that the condition or group of conditions will require health services costing in excess of NZ$41,000.00; or
- The Ministry of Education has determined that there is a relatively high probability that the applicant’s physical, intellectual, sensory or behavioural condition or group of conditions would entitle them to Ongoing and Reviewable Resourcing Schemes (ORRS) funding; or
- There is a relatively high probability that the applicant’s medical condition or group of conditions will require health services for which the current demand in New Zealand is not being met (irrespective of actual service costs).
In most cases, if an applicant is considered to not meet the acceptable standard of health requirements this does not mean that the applicant cannot qualify for a residence visa.
An Immigration Officer cannot automatically decline an application where a person (in the opinion of a medical assessor) does not meet the standard of health requirements.
The Immigration Officer is required to consider all of the circumstances of the applicant to decide whether or not they are compelling enough to justify an exception to Immigration New Zealand’s health policy.
The Immigration Officer may, take into account certain factors when making their decision to grant a medical waiver which include (but are not limited to) the following:
- the objective of health requirements policy and the objectives of the policy or category under which the applicant has been made;
- the degree to which the applicant would impose significant costs and or demands on New Zealand’s health system or education services;
- whether the applicant has immediate family lawfully and permanently resident in New Zealand and the circumstances and duration of that residence;
- whether the applicant’s potential contribution to New Zealand will be significant;
- the length of intended stay (including whether a person proposes to enter New Zealand permanently or temporarily.
The Immigration Officer will then undertake a balancing exercise to consider whether the circumstances of the particular case, on balance, are in favour of granting a waiver in comparison to the actual costs involved with the treatment and/or services.
We strongly recommend that you seek professional advice if you receive an indication from Immigration New Zealand that you may not meet the acceptable health requirements.
If you require advice on the acceptable standard of health requirements, please contact our team.