Q and A

Question

Can I get a work visa for Australia if I’m HIV positive?

I am a psychiatric nurse and have been hiv positive since 2004. I am taking truvada and efivarenz.

In 2007 I was refused entry to New Zealand because they said my medication was expensive and truvada new on the market also being HIV my chances of hospitalization where high.

I want to try Australia, do they have same policy on hiv migrant workers?

Answer

Currently, as in almost every country of the world, foreigners applying for most types of Australian visas, excluding temporary visitor visas, require a health check. The certified results are a required part of their immigration documents.

The Australian government Department of Immigration and Citizenship also wrote :-

“If the applicant is found to be HIV positive, a decision on whether the applicant meets the health requirement will be made on the same grounds as any other pre-existing medical condition. The main factor to be taken into account is the cost of the condition to the Australian community of health care and community services. Standard pre and post-test counselling must be provided by the doctor who examined the applicant.”
http://www.immi.gov.au/media/fact-sheets/22health.htm

This link (updated February 2016) seems very positive about HIV not being a bar to longer visa’s, with the main criteria being to not be a cost to Australian health services. Of note, this page includes a reference to having undtectable viral load.
http://www.border.gov.au/Trav/Visa/Heal/overview-of-the-health-requirement/threats-to-publichealth

There is another link at Skilled Visa Health requirement with a section on AIDS/HIV.
http://www.visabureau.com/australia/visa-health-requirements.aspx

However, nursing is one of the professions where HIV might still be an issue. The restrictions on HIV positive poeple working as doctors, dentist and nusses were lifted in the UK so long as the person is on ART with an undetectable viral load. In other countries this might not be the case yet.

Perhaps contact an HIV organistation in Australia, such as NAPWA (www.napwa.org) in case they can help.

This answer was updated in February 2016 from a question first posted in November 2011.

97 comments

  1. Lisa Thorley

    Hi Ian,

    We can’t say for sure if you’ll get a visa or not, this is information that only the Australian Immigration department can provide.
    Australia can be a tricky country to get into.

  2. Ian

    Hi Lisa Thorley,
    Hope you are well.

    I’m ian (HIV+) from Indonesia and I am planning to get the working holiday visa to Australia. First diagnosed on 15 November 2018 and have been undetectable since 29 November 2019 (almost 3 years now)

    I already did my research yet it still have not answer my question.. Will I be able to get the visa or not?

  3. Lisa Thorley

    Hi John,

    For this level of information you’re going to need to contact your nearest Australian Embassy as we don’t have that sort of information. It may also be worth getting in touch with a HIV organisation in Australia, there are numerous who should be able to help. Depending where it is you were planning to settle in Australia you could start with this organisation: https://www.acon.org.au/what-we-are-here-for/hiv-support/

  4. John

    Hi Lisa. My wife is in Australia and she was granted a provisional visa this year which will translate to permanent visa after two years. I am back home in Kenya with the kids with the plan to migrate and join her next year. But unfortunately I tested hiv positive after the visa grant. I have been put on ART meds. Shall we be allowed to migrate or will we be denied the permanent visa after the two years? What are our options? Can my wife apply for a waiver and will it see light of the day? Can we be allowed to stay for the four year temporary visa with me importing the ART meds at my cost?. Would they allow me to import the meds? I am confused as the kids are excited about going to Australia but don’t know the father’s latest hiv status.

  5. Lisa Thorley

    Hi Noleen,

    Are you looking at trying to move to Australia? If you are the best thing to do is to get in touch with your nearest Australian Embassy, as it can, at times be difficult and complex getting into Australia. This has been made worse due to the pandemic.

  6. Noleen

    Hi I’m HIV pos. Bt undetectable for many years.I’m looking to join my kids.im retired n nt looking for work. I can support myself

  7. Lisa Thorley

    Hi John,

    Please see the above post. If in doubt you’ll need to contact your local Australian Embassy as we don’t have access to immigration issues.

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