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jejuniper

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  1. jejuniper

    Spouse visa refusal - MRT process?

    @Danni Sorry for not replying sooner, I just noticed the notification for this in my email spam folder! Thankfully we did end up winning our MRT appeal and we're now happily living in Australia. We did discover that the drug my husband was being treated with in the US for ulcerative colitis is not even approved for his condition on the Australian Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme so it's still a mystery to me how the immigration department came up with their cost estimate. Let me know if you'd like any more information. I hope everything works out for you.
  2. jejuniper

    Spouse visa refusal - MRT process?

    Sorry for taking so long to reply, AlburyAhoy ... I can tell you what we submitted for our waiver but bear in mind that we were not successful getting the waiver, we had to go to the MRT so I don't know how helpful it'll be for you! I'd still strongly suggest getting legal advice before submitting the waiver ... The documents we submitted were: - All financial information, i.e. current bank statements, superannuation and US retirement account statements, share dividend statements, house valuation, mortgage statements, tax returns for last couple of years, pay statements - Proof of employment, i.e. pay statements and letters from employers - Six statutory declarations from family members and friends in Australia stating they would offer care and support (including financial) if needed, if my husband should have a flare up of his condition - A personal statement I wrote stating that I would unequivocally support and take care of my husband in Australia if he needed it - Information about volunteer work I had done in Australia prior to leaving and a statement to say that we intended to continue with this work - A copy of our resumes and qualifications (i.e. copy of my degree and husband's trade qualifications) - A copy of research we had done re obtaining private health insurance (i.e. letters from insurance companies saying they would insure my husband) - A letter addressing each of the waiver criteria specifically I don't know if the criteria for the skilled visa health waiver is the same as for the Australia spouse visa, but we had to address these specific points: - The English language skills of all applicants; - Qualifications and work history of you, your sponsoring spouse and any other relevant adults; - Current employment or employment prospects for all relevant adults (including the sponsor/proposer). Any claims should be supported by documents such as most recent annual income advice or payslips where possible; - Assets and other income of all relevant adults (including home ownership; other property, investments, social security payments from overseas government, private superannuation etc); - Any skills or contributions you may contribute to the community. - Whether there are Australian children who would be adversely affected by a decision not to waive the need to meet the health requirement; - The location and circumstance of your family members and your sponsor’s family members; - The willingness and ability of a sponsor, family member or other person or body to provide care and support - What care arrangements are in place or what are the proposed care arrangements - Information regarding non-migrating applicants, including what arrangements have been put in place for their care, and what is the likelihood of them ultimately applying to migrate to Australia. - Any factors preventing your sponsor from joining you in your own country, or in another country; - Any other compassionate and compelling circumstances which you consider relevant; If I were to do it again I would submit way more information. As much as possible and anything you can possibly think of, such as statements from your son's school explaining the impact it would have if he had to be removed and settle somewhere else, any statements of support you can get from community groups you are a part of, stat. decs from friends in Australia, as many statements as you can get from employers saying what impact it would have if you had to leave, maybe a statement from a psychologist or doctor stating what the emotional impact would be on you and your husband if you had to leave the country. You do need to address whatever your criteria is very specifically but I reckon it is better to go with as much supporting information as you possibly can get together. But, seriously, a lawyer would know what would be right for your specific case. (I know I keep saying it but that is definitely what I would have done differently if we had to re-do the waiver - get a lawyer straight away!) Also, take as much time as you can to get the information - ask for a time extension from your case officer if you can't get all the information you think you need in two weeks. It's really important to get every bit of information you need rather than rushing it - we were given 28 days and it took us that long to get everything together. Re the MRT decisions database, I'd definitely have a look at some of the cases if you can - try this search link: http://www.austlii.edu.au/cgi-bin/sinosrch.cgi?method=all&query=pic+4007+waiver&meta=%2Fau&mask_path=au%2Fcases%2Fcth%2FMRTA Those are cases relating to people who failed the health requirement and, if you read through a few, they'll usually state the amount that the MOC estimated so you can get an idea of the outcomes of people in a similar range to yours. Wishing you all the best - I hope this helps at least a bit!
  3. jejuniper

    Spouse visa refusal - MRT process?

    Hi AlburyAhoy, I'm really sorry to hear you are faced with a similar situation, it's so unfair - and that seems like an extraordinary costing, giving that you had the transplant 17 years ago. Are you still in the process of submitting further information, or have you already submitted it? From our experience, in hindsight, I wish we had sought legal advice before submitting our waiver application. I would definitely suggest doing that ASAP. I know, you've probably heard that before, but I definitely think a good immigration lawyer can advise the best way forward in your situation as they would've seen similar cases before. It really helped us, I just wish we'd sought advice before submitting our waiver rather than after, as we may have avoided having to apply to the MRT. (We found out after making an FOI request for our DIAC file that our case was "borderline" - that is what one of the DIAC staff had written in an email but, nonetheless, the waiver was still refused). Apart from that, in case it helps, these are the things that I know worked against us: - We applied offshore - We still lived in the US, and I have US permanent residency so there was nothing preventing me (Australian citizen) from living in my husband's (US citizen) country - We have no children so the refusal wouldn't impact an Australian child - We had relatively modest assets when we applied, and owned no property in Australia - We weren't employed in Australia (only in the US), so a refusal would not have impacted an Australian employer The things that were in our favour: - The hypothetical cost of $100,000 was relatively modest - My parents and sisters live in Australia so I could show close family ties - My job is listed in the Skilled Occupations list so it's a skill valuable to Australia - My husband has a good employment record so it was clear he was able-bodied and wouldn't require any special care other than his medication and check-ups If you are already working in Australia in a skilled occupation, and you have assets that exceed the hypothetical cost, then that is definitely a good thing as, from what I gleaned during our ordeal, it's ALL about money or having a skill that is highly in demand. Have you looked at the MRT decisions database? http://www.austlii.edu.au/au/cases/cth/MRTA/ That really helped me get an idea of the kind of information that helped people successfully appeal (you have to search a bit to find the cases that relate to the health requirement but there are a few in there). I would most definitely seek legal advice, though. I really wish you all the best and hope so much that you get the waiver - feel free to PM me if you have any more questions.
  4. jejuniper

    Spouse visa refusal - MRT process?

    I agree, and the really frustrating thing for us is that the Australian Parliament looked into this issue and came out with a report two years ago recommending sweeping changes to the health requirement ( http://www.aph.gov.au/Parliamentary_Business/Committees/House_of_Representatives_Committees?url=mig/disability/report.htm ). It had support from all political parties but absolutely NOTHING has been done about it!
  5. jejuniper

    Spouse visa refusal - MRT process?

    Thanks DaveS!
  6. jejuniper

    Spouse visa refusal - MRT process?

    Thanks PollyGirl - definitely looking forward to moving back!
  7. jejuniper

    Spouse visa refusal - MRT process?

    Thank you fairystar!
  8. jejuniper

    Spouse visa refusal - MRT process?

    Thanks RockDr! Yes ... I had to have a laugh when we were told my husband would have to redo the medical. I asked why and apparently it's just in case he has developed some OTHER medical condition during the long wait. :err: This whole thing has felt like a wild goose chase but we're now close to catching the goose!
  9. jejuniper

    Spouse visa refusal - MRT process?

    Hello ... I posted this 2 years ago and wanted to give an update. We had our Migration Review Tribunal hearing in Sydney on June 7 (almost exactly 2 years after we lodged the application). It was all over in about 20 minutes and we found out a few days later that we were successful, thank goodness. This has been a very long and expensive process (probably $10,000 all up, taking lawyer's fees and travel costs into account) and, even though we're happy that we had a successful appeal, I'm still pretty angry that we had to go through this rigmarole just because my husband is cursed with ulcerative colitis. Anyway, if anyone has any questions about the MRT process, feel free to PM me. We still have a bit more of a wait ahead of us as this just got us past the health requirement and now the Australian Embassy in Washington D.C. has to complete the processing of the visa application - plus we have to redo the FBI and medical as they've now expired. So it will be > 3 years just to get a spouse visa - crazy!
  10. Hi Spursno1 - sorry for the long delay in responding, I've been on holidays (in Australia!). Yes, it is $21,000 over 5 years. I don't have have a link to any policy documents as you'd need to put in an FOI request to get that kind of information but here is a link to an article from The Australian that quotes that number: http://www.theaustralian.com.au/national-affairs/health-cost-hurdle-sees-many-migrants-refused-entry/story-fn59niix-1226207510828 It's also quoted in the Australian Parliament's Joint Standing Committee "Enabling Australia" report http://www.aph.gov.au/house/committee/mig/disability/report/chapter3.pdf (page 47) Hope that helps!
  11. jejuniper

    ETA or Tourist Visa following Spouse refusal

    Thanks J. - yes, we're still waiting, no contact at all from the MRT yet, other than that they received the application. It's been 1 year and 10 months and counting ... I emailed the Washington Embassy so hopefully they'll get back to me soon. I tried going through the ETA application online but I couldn't see anywhere where it asked about a visa refusal, so not sure if it's been changed. I'm glad you're all settled and that OH is not missing things too much! - Jen
  12. Hello ... not sure if anyone can help with this but maybe somebody has been in this situation. I'm an Australian citizen and my husband is a US citizen. His spouse visa was refused a year and a half ago because of the health requirement and we are awaiting an MRT appeal. We currently live in the USA and want to visit my family in Australia for 3 weeks over Christmas/New Year. Last time we visited, all we needed was an electronic travel authority for my husband but that was prior to the spouse visa refusal. Does anyone know if he can still just get an ETA or does he need to apply for a Tourist Visa? (I know, I'm probably going to have to call the Australian Embassy but maybe someone here knows the answer, on the off chance!) Thanks for any help, Jen
  13. jejuniper

    Medical Query for Visa

    Hi there, The way it works at present, particularly for PR visas, is that if your medical condition or disability is likely to cost Australian taxpayers > $21,000 over 5 years then it is considered a "significant cost" and this may cause a visa refusal. The reason I say "particularly PR visas" is that, even if you take out private health insurance, you are still eligible for Medicare and therefore would be considered a potential user of the public health system. There isn't a specific list of conditions that will automatically result in a rejection - the only disease that is specified is active tuberculosis. My husband's spouse visa was rejected because he has ulcerative colitis, despite the fact that he leads a normal life, works full time and his condition is controlled with medication. The problem is that the cost of the medication he uses (infliximab) is expensive. I believe that SOME arthritis medications (e.g. infliximab, humira - just know those ones because they are also used for colitis treatment) are also expensive and if a visa applicant is currently using those meds then they may get a significant costing which may result in a visa refusal. You can check how much your medication would cost Australian taxpayers by going to the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme site and doing a search: The Schedule of Pharmaceutical Benefits - pbs.gov.au - the cost to tax payers is the "Dispensed price ...". You can also search the Migration Review Tribunal decisions database to see if anyone was refused as a result of your condition (assuming they lodged an appeal with the MRT). Migration Review Tribunal of Australia All of that said, it seems like health conditions are treated on a case-by-case basis so it would be very difficult for anyone to predict an outcome. The best advice if you are very concerned, is to have a consultation with a migration specialist with expertise in this area - George Lombard and Peter Bollard are the ones usually mentioned on this forum. Also, as Taylor72 mentioned, it's definitely beneficial to get a positive report from your doctor and any specialists you deal with. I can confirm from experience, though, that it's not just TB and HIV/AIDS that can result in a refusal. But, also, everyone's case is different! best wishes, Jen
  14. jejuniper

    Failed Medical - PLEASE HELP!!

    It's really odd, isn't it? There doesn't seem to be any consistency at all! I am really hoping that the Government implements the recommendations made last year from the Inquiry into Migration and Disability. The way the health requirement works at present is dysfunctional. Anyway, all the best to you, keep fighting!
  15. jejuniper

    Failed Medical - PLEASE HELP!!

    Hi Richard, You're not alone in failing the health requirement because of Crohn's - my husband has IBD and is also in remission but failed the health requirement and we were refused a spouse visa (I'm Australian). It totally took us by surprise also, as he works full time and, aside from having the condition, is perfectly healthy. We are now appealing to the Migration Review Tribunal. I do want to say, though, that I have seen a number of people posting on this and other forums who have IBD but have been granted a visa so the condition does not automatically mean a refusal. I believe the next step is that the case officer will inform you of what review rights you have - I think different visas have different review rights and I'm not sure what they are for your visa type. I would agree with everyone else that it's definitely worthwhile getting some legal assistance. Best wishes, Jen
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