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Franks

Spouse visa migration with a kidney transplant.

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Hello everyone.

 

I'm a UK man married to an Aussie lady and we thought that it might be of interest or even help to people in a similar situation to ours if we posted the progress of our visa application.

 

We met in 2009, we married in Melbourne in 2012 and now we have lodged an application for me to move to Australia under the Spouse Visa (July 2013). The reason this is not a normal application is that I have a kidney transplant. I have had it since November 2007 (with no complications or rejection issues). Having studied the health requirement for a Spouse Visa, I expect to fail that portion of the application (renal failure being specifically listed). I then intend to ask for the health waiver to be applied.

 

Before starting our application we did as much research as we could. Using places such as this as well as other online forums and information sites. We contacted various Visa agents who supposedly dealt with cases with medical complications. Some were loathe to even take us on as clients. Some were quoting us astronomical prices for dealing with our case. Some just didn't respond to an enquiry email outlining our situation. A couple were willing, for an almost reasonable fee, to take us on.

 

Eventually my wife sat on hold for over 2 hours with the immigration department in Melbourne and got through to a very helpful person. We were advised not to bother with an agent, his reasoning being that

 

1) With some common sense you can do everything that an agent does in terms of compiling and filling out forms.

 

2) Your application is not treated in any preferable way if it comes from an agent.

 

and 3) In cases where more information is required (or health checks etc) the agent only acts as a middle man, passing on requests from the Immigration department to you and then charging you for the service.

 

He also emailed my wife the checklist for documents and suggested that we open a joint bank account to help comply with the financial commitment portion of the application.

 

Having discussed it all, we decided to open the joint account and go for it by ourselves.

 

And now, having had the payment taken for our visa application today. We thought that we would share our experience with this community.

 

So, basically, we have lodged:

 

A completed 47SP form

A completed 40SP form

3 completed 888 forms filled out by Australian Citizens and witnessed.

Notarized copies of: Our marriage certificate, our passports, drivers licenses, birth certificates.

Various bits of proof of a genuine relationship including printed photos of us together, proof of the joint bank account.

 

 

 

Visa forms posted and received: 8th July 2013 and 9th July 2013 respectively. Sent via special delivery with the Post Office. (£6.95 for approx 100 A4 pages)

 

Fee taken for the visa application: 15th July 2013

 

Wish us luck, we'll keep coming back and updating this post to let you know how things progress over the next 8 or 9 months (or however long it takes!)

 

:ssign5:

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Additional information for UK residents.

 

I meant to say that when you get your documents notarized you have to be sure that whoever does them is a Justice of the Peace. The Post Office offer a notarizing service however these are NOT accepted by the immigration department. If you know a solicitor then fine, if you know a magistrate, fine. However I don't. In the end I went to my local magistrates court early in the morning before the courts started and had my documents signed/stamped/notarized for £25 for several pages. Some solicitors will charge you a lot more. It is worth phoning your local magistrates court to see if they offer a similar service (and how much they would charge).

 

:ssign15:

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Yikes. I wish you best of luck, Franks, sincerely. If you talked to the migration agents usually recommended here for medical issues and they told you they couldn't help you, I'd be very, very concerned about the viability of your application. The medical waiver is not guaranteed to be offered, and if they do, in order to have it approved you could have quite a fight, even with a professional to help you. DIAC is great in a lot of ways, but sometimes the people you talk to on the phones give inaccurate, incomplete or overly optimistic advice, and they are not legally responsible if they give you bad advice. MARA-registered migration agents ARE held responsible for the advice they give. I'm going to keep my fingers crossed for you that you get a good outcome.


Applied for PMV 300: 18 April 2013 (Washington, D.C.) Police Checks: Front-loaded. Medicals: 3 June 2013 Meds Referred: ? Meds Cleared: 8/2013 PMV GRANTED: 03 JAN 2014! Married: March 2014. Applied for 820: 28 April 2014. 820 GRANTED: 07 July 2014!

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If DIAC advised not to bother with an agent, that sounds like good advice. The forms are straightforward and you already know you will fail the health requirement and need a waiver. In your case, the waiver should not be a complicated thing to apply for - your condition is well defined and there will be statistical look up tables that give estimated costs and re-transplantation rates. If there are special personal circumstances that mean you have a better outlook than others in your position then by all means get a private doctor's report, but probably that would be an unnecessary expense. As I say, I expect the waiver decision will be taken by applying a formula. As DIAC says, an agent would simply pass on questions from DIAC and you would still have to provide the answers.

 

If, and only if, the waiver is rejected would it be worth considering engaging a medical lawyer for an appeal.

 

Good luck.

Edited by Quinkla

Feb 2010 Prospective Marriage Visa | Nov 2010 Temporary Partner Visa | Nov 2012 Permanent Partner Visa | Jan 2015 Australian Citizenship

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OP didn't say it was his CO he was speaking with... just a random someone on the phone at DIAC. By the time you get a waiver rejected, your battle is much harder... better in my opinion to take all the preventative measures up front that you can. Again - just my opinion. I have medical issues myself I engaged an RMA for for exactly these reasons.


Applied for PMV 300: 18 April 2013 (Washington, D.C.) Police Checks: Front-loaded. Medicals: 3 June 2013 Meds Referred: ? Meds Cleared: 8/2013 PMV GRANTED: 03 JAN 2014! Married: March 2014. Applied for 820: 28 April 2014. 820 GRANTED: 07 July 2014!

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Yikes. I wish you best of luck, Franks, sincerely. If you talked to the migration agents usually recommended here for medical issues and they told you they couldn't help you, I'd be very, very concerned about the viability of your application. The medical waiver is not guaranteed to be offered, and if they do, in order to have it approved you could have quite a fight, even with a professional to help you. DIAC is great in a lot of ways, but sometimes the people you talk to on the phones give inaccurate, incomplete or overly optimistic advice, and they are not legally responsible if they give you bad advice. MARA-registered migration agents ARE held responsible for the advice they give. I'm going to keep my fingers crossed for you that you get a good outcome.

 

Many thanks for the good luck. I can't remember which agents were which (spoke to quite a few). Some of them were willing to take the case, however the money they were talking just wasn't in our budget. Some of them didn't seem to understand the situation and we lost faith in them dealing with it properly. Anyway, it's all underway now and we'll just see how it pans out. :smile:

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If DIAC advised not to bother with an agent, that sounds like good advice. The forms are straightforward and you already know you will fail the health requirement and need a waiver. In your case, the waiver should not be a complicated thing to apply for - your condition is well defined and there will be statistical look up tables that give estimated costs and re-transplantation rates. If there are special personal circumstances that mean you have a better outlook than others in your position then by all means get a private doctor's report, but probably that would be an unnecessary expense. As I say, I expect the waiver decision will be taken by applying a formula. As DIAC says, an agent would simply pass on questions from DIAC and you would still have to provide the answers.

 

If, and only if, the waiver is rejected would it be worth considering engaging a medical lawyer for an appeal.

 

Good luck.

 

HI, thanks for taking time to post and wish us luck Quinkla. My renal specialist is confident that my transplant is very healthy and well established and is waiting to be contacted to put that in writing for whoever may need it. I am still hopeful that the waiver will be applied in my case, just uncertain of the conditions that may come with it. :smile:

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Wishing you all the best Franks, hope its a good outcome.

 

metoo x


Flights booked for Sydney 29/09/2015 :cool:

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Thanks Metoo ,, Me too.

 

Hope all goes smoothly for your new life in Sydney :smile:

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OK, first Update time.

 

23rd July 2013 - had email from Case officer introducing herself and attached with General Request Letter.

 

The letter outlines the time span for family visa processing at this time (8-9 months). It suggests that I do NOT get my health and character reports ready before 10/10 2013 as it will not speed up processing and also that the reports generally stay valid for only 12 months. So an early report may well end up with a reduced time span for actually making the move to Aus.

 

However it does say:

 

"However, if you have any pre-existing health or character concerns, please discuss this with your case officer as soon as possible."

 

So I have emailed my case officer and outlined the fact that I have a kidney transplant and will await her advice on the best way to proceed. I am wondering if it will be better to start the health process earlier assuming that I will need to collect consultant reports to backup my application.

 

We will see.

 

 

That's the facts.

 

The emotional:

 

Ever since I've had confirmation of the application being received I've felt a lot calmer about things :daydreaming:. I'd been very worked up about the whole moving to Australia idea. Not that I don't want to do it, because I do, more than anything. I love Australia and more to the point, the Australian I'm married to :wubclub:. However, ever since we found out that my medical history was going to cause a problem (let's not be coy about it, it WILL be a problem) I've been finding myself getting increasingly stressed/depressed about it.

 

I try not to let my medical situation bother me too much on a daily basis. When I was on dialysis, I made sure that I was going to hospital to help me to live :yes:, not living to go to hospital :nah:. Since I had my transplant I've slowly got my head round the 'take these tablets for the rest of your life' aspect. The anti-rejection drugs are toxic to the pancreas; resulting in me developing diabetes. I've got used to the daily round of blood sugar monitoring and injections. But the thought of all of that meaning that I can't be with my family was almost too much. (Throw in a couple of bad days in the office and my wife had a fair bit of whinging to put up with). :arghh:

 

Still, we hesitated and tried to find an agent we had confidence in who wasn't going to charge beyond our budget (without luck).

 

All I can say is, that ever since I knew that the application was underway, things have been far more ,,,, :cool:.

 

Hope that you all are doing well, wherever you may be.

 

Thanks for all the words of support and encouragement and I'll be back when I have something more to Update.

Edited by Franks

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Second Update:

 

1st August 2013.

 

I was advised by return of email (by my case officer) to get my health checks organised as soon as possible. With regards to getting a specialist report first or not, I was advised : "You could get a report from your consultant and take it with you to your medicals or you can wait to see what is requested." So that didn't really help.

 

I have been today for my medical assessment (without a specialist report). Cost - £276 at Nuffield Hospital, Plymouth. That being the closest place on the list to where I live. Be aware, that price may be more if you need additional tests. That price covered:

 

Chest X-ray

Medical Assessment

HIV test

 

Each additional blood test that may be needed (hepatitis for e.g.) is £36 at the time of posting this.

 

You will need your HAP ID when booking the appointment and you will need your passport and list of any medications you are on.

 

So I'm classed as 'B' Grade - which covers ANY pre-existing health condition. I will just have to wait and see how long it takes the DIAC to tell me that I've failed the health requirement OR ask for further, contributing evidence (specialist report etc).

 

Will keep you posted.

Franks

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Second Update:

 

1st August 2013.

 

I was advised by return of email (by my case officer) to get my health checks organised as soon as possible. With regards to getting a specialist report first or not, I was advised : "You could get a report from your consultant and take it with you to your medicals or you can wait to see what is requested." So that didn't really help.

 

I have been today for my medical assessment (without a specialist report). Cost - £276 at Nuffield Hospital, Plymouth. That being the closest place on the list to where I live. Be aware, that price may be more if you need additional tests. That price covered:

 

Chest X-ray

Medical Assessment

HIV test

 

Each additional blood test that may be needed (hepatitis for e.g.) is £36 at the time of posting this.

 

You will need your HAP ID when booking the appointment and you will need your passport and list of any medications you are on.

 

So I'm classed as 'B' Grade - which covers ANY pre-existing health condition. I will just have to wait and see how long it takes the DIAC to tell me that I've failed the health requirement OR ask for further, contributing evidence (specialist report etc).

 

Will keep you posted.

Franks

 

I took my notes and information from my consultant to mine and the panel doctor went over it, took the info he needed, copied some of it and so on. And then it all went with my medical.

 

It was referred (standard wait time is about 3 months on referred medicals) but I was never asked to provide any further info. I guess I had provided enough to begin with.

 

I would get your reports and so on now rather than waiting for them to be requested. That way, as soon as they are, you have them to send off.

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Hi Snifter.

 

Thanks for the advice. I'm due to be seen for a regular transplant check-up on 12th August, I intend to talk to my consultant then about getting a report made 'to whom it may concern'. If this proves to be the wrong way round, then at least hopefully this post might prove a cautionary tale for someone else in my situation in the future.

 

Just out of curiosity, was your visa application successful without having to apply for a health waiver?

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So I'm classed as 'B' Grade - which covers ANY pre-existing health condition. I will just have to wait and see how long it takes the DIAC to tell me that I've failed the health requirement OR ask for further, contributing evidence (specialist report etc).

You already know that you will fail the health requirement. There's no point in hoping you won't.

 

So then you will need the waiver. The application for the waiver is prepared by your case officer using any material you are able to lay your hands on. The decision is principally one about cost and probabilities. I.e. if there's a 10% chance you would need a procedure costing $500,000 then your expected cost is $50,000. It would be helpful for any report you get to set out the probabilities of things happening for the next five years. Any information that would support you having lower probabilities of complications than a typical patient would also be helpful.

 

Very best of luck!


Feb 2010 Prospective Marriage Visa | Nov 2010 Temporary Partner Visa | Nov 2012 Permanent Partner Visa | Jan 2015 Australian Citizenship

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Hi Snifter.

 

Thanks for the advice. I'm due to be seen for a regular transplant check-up on 12th August, I intend to talk to my consultant then about getting a report made 'to whom it may concern'. If this proves to be the wrong way round, then at least hopefully this post might prove a cautionary tale for someone else in my situation in the future.

 

Just out of curiosity, was your visa application successful without having to apply for a health waiver?

 

I got an A rating on my medical. So didn't fail it per se. I do however have some ongoing medical conditions which I am under consultant care for and so had all the reports, notes and so on prepared in advance to take to my medical with me (I'd read this was the thing to do, go armed with it all for the panel doc, so I did). These were why my medical was referred I would think (I still don't know but as I now have my visa I am guessing it was rubber stamped and medical was passed off as fine when reviewed).

 

It sounds to me like even if you'd presented with all your supporting paperwork at your medical you'd still have gotten a B rating and will require a waiver. I didn't know if I'd get an A, B or whatever else but was confident my condition would not potentially cost XXX $$ to Australia in the future so would eventually it would all be passed off as fine.

 

I'd ensure you get as much evidence as you can about your condition and do some reading on other cases which required a medical waiver (people on the forum have posted so try the forum search and see what you can dig up) so you can see what evidence they provided and what they did to help get their medical and health passed off as ok for a visa.

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You already know that you will fail the health requirement. There's no point in hoping you won't.

 

Hi Quinkla,

 

Yes indeed, I've gone into this whole process with that piece of information at the forefront of my mind. What you have said about how the decision is made is very useful as I can now ask my Renal Consultant to prepare her report from a viewpoint of the likelihood of needing any costly procedures over the next 5 years. Very useful, thank you very much!

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I'd ensure you get as much evidence as you can about your condition and do some reading on other cases which required a medical waiver (people on the forum have posted so try the forum search and see what you can dig up) so you can see what evidence they provided and what they did to help get their medical and health passed off as ok for a visa.

 

Thanks Snifter, good advice. I think the thing that concerns me most is that Renal Conditions are specifically listed in the health requirements literature (as conditions that will definitely lead you to fail) so unless there are others out there who have emigrated after a kidney transplant, I'm not sure how relevant their experiences will be to me, apart from in the very general sense of negotiating the waiver process. I'll trawl the forums when I have more time and see what there is to be learned - plenty I'm sure!.

 

Thanks for taking the time to post and I'm glad that everything ended up positively for yourself.

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Basically they want to be confident you are not going to cost Australia a mass of $$ any time soon. It comes down to costs. So anything you can show that will back up your case in terms of the next 5 years or so would be good.

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I got an A rating on my medical. So didn't fail it per se. I do however have some ongoing medical conditions which I am under consultant care for and so had all the reports, notes and so on prepared in advance to take to my medical with me (I'd read this was the thing to do, go armed with it all for the panel doc, so I did). These were why my medical was referred I would think (I still don't know but as I now have my visa I am guessing it was rubber stamped and medical was passed off as fine when reviewed).

 

It sounds to me like even if you'd presented with all your supporting paperwork at your medical you'd still have gotten a B rating and will require a waiver. I didn't know if I'd get an A, B or whatever else but was confident my condition would not potentially cost XXX $$ to Australia in the future so would eventually it would all be passed off as fine.

 

I'd ensure you get as much evidence as you can about your condition and do some reading on other cases which required a medical waiver (people on the forum have posted so try the forum search and see what you can dig up) so you can see what evidence they provided and what they did to help get their medical and health passed off as ok for a visa.

 

This isn't relevant to Franks, so you can skip this part, Franks. :)

 

I just wanted to say that (at least as I understand it) a "B" rating does not by any means automatically signify a waiver is going to be necessary. Generally, a "B" rating just means "Hey, you might want to look at this one further." Once they actually look at the evidence/issues, that's when it's decided whether or not the anticipated costs are high enough that the applicant will have to apply for a waiver. Sometimes, for unknown reasons, "A" rated people also get referred, but customarily they don't.

 

Someone correct me if I'm wrong! But that's my understanding.


Applied for PMV 300: 18 April 2013 (Washington, D.C.) Police Checks: Front-loaded. Medicals: 3 June 2013 Meds Referred: ? Meds Cleared: 8/2013 PMV GRANTED: 03 JAN 2014! Married: March 2014. Applied for 820: 28 April 2014. 820 GRANTED: 07 July 2014!

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This isn't relevant to Franks, so you can skip this part, Franks. :)

 

I just wanted to say that (at least as I understand it) a "B" rating does not by any means automatically signify a waiver is going to be necessary. Generally, a "B" rating just means "Hey, you might want to look at this one further." Once they actually look at the evidence/issues, that's when it's decided whether or not the anticipated costs are high enough that the applicant will have to apply for a waiver. Sometimes, for unknown reasons, "A" rated people also get referred, but customarily they don't.

 

Someone correct me if I'm wrong! But that's my understanding.

 

That may well be it. I don't know the total ins and outs of how they grade it all.

 

I was told people get an A rating but are still referred, that its not unusual. Something as simple as tipping the scales on the BMI. I was an A rating according to my panel doc but he did say I may well get referred based on the medical stuff I had to declare. He didn't foresee any real problems with it though and neither did I.

 

Its possible after a kidney transplant a waiver may well be needed but its not that I know that for sure, just having read about medical matters and medicals, I'd think it may well. I hope not for Franks but if he is prepared for that to be the case its probably better than not being ready for applying for it. At least having the consultant paperwork together in advance as chances are it may well be requested.

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Basically they want to be confident you are not going to cost Australia a mass of $$ any time soon.

 

Indeed that's exactly the case.

 

Unfortunately simply the cost of my meds could be enough for them to consider me 'too expensive' without even considering the chance of any future treatment needed. My anti-rejection tablets are hugely expensive, add to that the cocktail of other tablets I have to take to combat side-effects and other complications, not least of which is (Chemically induced) Diabetes brought on by the anti-rejection medication (and steroids) being toxic to the pancreas. This is probably why renal conditions are specifically listed, although of course, my entire medication regime is far cheaper than dialysis (which I had to be on for 4 1/2 years).

 

But this puts me into a very expensive category in the eyes of the DIAC. My hope is that they grant the health waiver and don't attach too many unreasonable conditions to it.

 

My transplant is very healthy and has never shown signs of rejection - this will work in my favour as will the fact that I'm able to work and currently working (and paying tax) - I just hope that there are enough reasons for them to grant the waiver when they come to weigh everything up.

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I just wanted to say that (at least as I understand it) a "B" rating does not by any means automatically signify a waiver is going to be necessary. Generally, a "B" rating just means "Hey, you might want to look at this one further." ... Someone correct me if I'm wrong! But that's my understanding.

 

Totally right CollegeGirl.

 

B rating just is a flagging system for the DIAC to be aware that there is a medical condition to check. It doesn't mean you will fail your health requirement. In most cases, you won't. No need to correct you :)

 

This is what the migration booklet tells you about what might cause you to fail the Health Requirement:

 

"Health conditions that may lead to your application being refused include:

• tuberculosis;

• other conditions where you are assessed by Australian authorities as requiring treatment, support or

assistance that are considered to be in short supply, or that have a high cost."

 

The last part seems pretty self explanatory. The grey area is where 'high cost' is calculated. Someone advised me that it was in the area of $25,000 to $30,000 for the first 3 years. This is the kind of money I'd be costing for all my meds (at non subsidised price).

Edited by Franks

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"Health conditions that may lead to your application being refused include:

• tuberculosis;

• other conditions where you are assessed by Australian authorities as requiring treatment, support or

assistance that are considered to be in short supply, or that have a high cost."

 

The last part seems pretty self explanatory. The grey area is where 'high cost' is calculated. Someone advised me that it was in the area of $25,000 to $30,000 for the first 3 years. This is the kind of money I'd be costing for all my meds (at non subsidised price).

Short supply is also an issue. That means donor organs - so you want to be able to demonstrate a low risk of needing a further transplant any time soon.


Feb 2010 Prospective Marriage Visa | Nov 2010 Temporary Partner Visa | Nov 2012 Permanent Partner Visa | Jan 2015 Australian Citizenship

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