Form 160: x-rays and pregnancy
Yesterday I received an email (published below) from a reader. She did not provide the photo! While I can see the writer was clearly given bad advice at points in the process, I can understand their stress levels. The father/husband missed out on the pregnancy and she is now paying course fees as an international student, just as we did for Mr O. The sub-class 309 visa is, as I have said before, a “here but not here” kind of visa!
Hello! I came across your story while I was trying to google whether or not it really takes 6-9 months for the DIAC to process the Subclass 100 permanent visa. Just as in your situation, I am also an International student and cannot wait until I become a permanent resident because I will be able to use public transport concession. Also, since I am working on my Research Doctoral Degree, I can’t wait for my status to change as I will be able to study under the Research Training Scheme for free and on top of it, I will be able to apply for a research scholarship that pays you a stipend to cover some of the living costs to ensure I concentrate on my research rather than on earning money to survive in such an expensive city as Sydney! So, I cannot apply for any of these benefits until I remain my International Student status.
I am really sick of this system and how hard they make it for people who are legitimately creating a family. I was married overseas to my Australian husband and it took us 1.5 years before I and our baby could arrive to Australia to join my husband. This all was because we did not want to do a chest x-ray during my pregnancy and we did not want to compromise our baby’s health. We hired an agent who was suppose to help us with an exemption from the x-ray due to me being pregnant, but after trying different ways to fight the system, she could not do anything about it. The Australian Embassy made us wait until our baby was born overseas. Then it took another 6 months until we finally joined our daddy in Australia. We were so upset my husband could not experience such a special time of pregnancy as this was his and mine first experience. Not to mention, we paid a fortune to that agent and she could not help us in any way.
I just supplied all the documents to the Partner (Permanent) Visa Department in Brisbane. They also did not make it clear in their letter with a list of documents we needed to submit. They never stated what exactly police check they require. After I supplied one, they said this is not the right one and that it is suppose to be issued by the Federal Police. I had to pay twice and lost time getting another one. Now, they said they have all the documents.
Please, feel free to share my story if you would like to.
Hope to hear back from you and all the best for you and your beautiful family!!
We wish the writer and her young family all the best for their new life in Australia! While the choice to delay the x-ray meant they spent so much time apart, they made the right decision for the sake of their child.
In one way I can understand Australia treating 309 visa holders as international students, but as someone who has been through it, I can’t understand! Almost all 309 visa holders become permanent residents and clearly if they are studying they are going to contribute to the development of Australia. They are entitled to full Medicare. I’m not at all convinced the student restriction is valid. Surely we should consider the 309 stage as a very last, almost certain, step to sub-class 100, rather than the “here but not here” situation it currently is. I can understand how hard it is for this young family to manage. Many partner visa applicants are young, so many are still studying or the migrating spouse studies to gain local qualifications or undertake bridging courses to gain local recognition of existing qualifications. Perhaps we could be a little more helpful. I accept it would be hard to get the money back if they failed the sub-class 100 grant though. I don’t have a solution to this one!
I would like to draw readers’ attention to a couple of points, to help others in similar circumstances. The writer states they “paid a fortune to that agent” to try to get an exemption from the chest x-ray requirement. It seems to me the agent should have known there was no possibility of an exemption, as Form 160 clearly states:
Pregnant visa applicants and the chest x-ray requirement
The department does not recommend that a pregnant visa applicant undergoes a chest x-ray. This is because there is a risk that a chest x-ray could harm the unborn child. It is recommended that a pregnant visa applicant defers her chest x-ray, and therefore the decision on her visa application, until after the child’s birth.
A pregnant visa applicant should firstly contact the department to discuss her options, including the possible deferral of her visa application.
I am not suggesting the agent they employed did anything fraudulent, but the agent may have mistakenly charged for trying to do something that was not possible. Both individual MARA registered agents and DIAC both regularly warn visa applicants to be sure they are consulting suitably qualified migration agents. This couple’s disappointment over unfulfilled expectations is clear from the above letter. While there maybe there is some avenue for an exemption that I am unaware of, I have never heard of one – but I am not a migration agent!
This is one of the reasons I strongly recommend to visa applicants (ANY class of visa) to download and read EVERYTHING related to the visa. EVERYTHING. I had contact from one couple once who had thought the 12 month requirement for a de-facto partner visa meant something different to what it said. The criteria are the criteria and there is no room for discretion in many cases, such as the 12 month requirement or the requirement for an x-ray.
This couple also experienced some confusion over the police check. I thought the instructions we received for the sub-class 100 very clearly stated the police clearance required was an Australian Federal Police Clearance, however I am Australian – I am not at risk of misinterpreting anything unless it is really badly written. As I write this, I cannot for the life of me find the envelope with the original instructions we received (we have recently moved, after all). I am well aware that the young lady above may not have received exactly the same instructions we received: the instructions may have been updated in the interim. It was certainly unfortunate confusion arose.
One and a half years is a long time for a young couple to be apart, especially during such an important time as a first pregnancy. We extend our sympathy to the young mother above and to all in such situations. I know what it was like being apart from Mr O for the time we were, although our situation was quite different.
Unfortunately there are some things that Australia really cannot compromise on and the health of our population is one of those things. If you are considering applying for a partner visa, be aware of the x-ray requirement and plan accordingly.
Australia enjoys some of the best health standards in the world.
In order to help maintain these standards, you must satisfy the health requirements specified in the Migration Regulations before you can be granted a visa.
Why is there a health requirement for entry to Australia?
Australia’s health requirement is designed to:
• minimise public health and safety risks to the Australian community;
• contain public expenditure on health and community services, including Australian social security benefits, allowances and pensions; and
• maintain the access of Australian residents to health and community services.