New resource fights discrimination
12 October 2018
A new resource to support Australian visa applicants living with viral hepatitis tackles a clear example of health-based discrimination.
Hepatitis Victoria has received worrying reports of people living with chronic viral hepatitis (in particular, hepatitis B) being unsuccessful in applying for permanent and temporary Australian visas.
“We became aware of the issue through discussions with colleagues in the blood borne virus sector and directly from enquires to the Hepatitis Infoline,” said Stigma Response Coordinator, Jack Gunn.
When assessing visa applications, the Australian Government considers pre-existing health conditions and calculates how much a person’s healthcare is expected to cost the sector over their lifetime.
“If the amount exceeds $40,000, it is likely the person will be initially unsuccessful in their visa application, and over the course of several years, treatment costs for somebody living with chronic hepatitis can often exceed this limit.
“Further, people who want to work in certain healthcare professions will have difficulties applying for student or skilled work visas,” said Jack.
Hepatitis Victoria believes these are clear examples of health-based discrimination in the Australian immigration system which disadvantage those living with viral hepatitis who want to call Australia home. Further, the complex terms and processes of filling applications and collecting supporting documents can be a confusing and exhaustive endeavour (especially for those with low English literacy levels).
In response, Hepatitis Victoria has developed resources in a number of languages aiming to inform and empower people who are living with chronic viral hepatitis as they navigate the visa application process.
The resource was developed by in consultation with an expert migration lawyer and two volunteers at Hepatitis Victoria who have lived experience of viral hepatitis and applying for Australian visas.
Australian visa applicants and hepatitis is available digitally on the Hepatitis Victoria website in English, Burmese, Vietnamese, Arabic, Chinese and Dari. Hard copies of the English resource are also available by contacting Hepatitis Victoria.