Another recent addition to the growing rigidity of the Australian immigration regulatorysystem is Condition 8602. This one is a reasonable one; “the holder must not have an outstanding public health debt”.

Relevant health authorities will, effective 18 November 2017, notify the Department of Immigration and Border Protection (DIBP), if you have an outstanding health debt. Where a debt involves both public and private monies, only the public part of the debt may be reported.

Breaching this condition may result in the cancellation of your visa and would adversely affect the grant of further visas. Debts incurred before 18 November 2017 will not be affected. A debt is incurred at the point health care is provided, and not on the date of billing. If you are receiving health care for a period that began before 18 November 2017 and continued after the date, only services that were provided on and after the commencement date may be considered as debt if left unpaid.

Visas to which Condition 8602 applies:

  • Business Innovation and Investment (Provisional) (Subclass 188)
  • Prospective Marriage (Subclass 300)
  • Temporary Work (Short Stay Specialist) (Subclass 400)
  • Investor Retirement (Subclass 405)
  • Training (Subclass 407)
  • Temporary Activity  (Subclass 408)
  • Retirement (Subclass 410)
  • Working Holiday (Subclass 417)
  • Temporary Work (Skilled)  (Subclass 457)
  • New Zealand Citizen Family Relationship (Temporary)  (Subclass 461)
  • Work and Holiday  (Subclass 462)
  • Skilled (Recognised Graduate)  (Subclass 476)
  • Temporary Graduate  (Subclass 485)
  • Skilled Regional (Provisional)  (Subclass 489)
  • Student  (Subclass 500)
  • Student Guardian  (Subclass 590)
  • Visitor  (Subclass 600)
  • Electronic Travel Authority (ETA)  (Subclass 601)
  • eVistor  (Subclass 651)
  • Tourist  (Subclass 676)
  • Transit  (Subclass 773)
  • Maritime Crew  (Subclass 988)

Those visiting Australia on a Medical Treatment (Subclass 602) visa will have Condition 8602 imposed on their visa unless they are unfit to travel, in which case the imposition of Condition 8602 is discretionary

The DIBP will not chase after the debt from you, nor will they decide at what point a debt becomes outstanding. This doesn’t mean you should try to get away with such a thing.

Health authorities have autonomy on when to report a debt. Should the debt be a small one, the health authority may deem it unnecessary to report it. The health authority may also choose to waive the debt for compelling or compassionate reasons, or agree to a payment plan. The health authority may also choose to report even a small debt; perhaps in the case of a repeat offender.

Debt reports will be in relation to:

  • Publicly funded health care
  • Subsidised health care
  • Aged care services

Although breaching this condition may result in the cancellation of your visa, the DIBP would much rather that the debt be instead repaid. If you have an outstanding public health debt that is reported, the DIBP will first ask that you contact the health authority and arrange payment of the debt. The DIBP will take into consideration any personal circumstances before cancelling your visa.

We hope that you will not get caught up with condition 8602. Remember, an apple a day keeps the doctor away!