Saturday, 3 August 2013

Migration Chapter 7: Medical Clearance in Singapore

Hi folks, haven't been blogging for a while as I've been busy with family matters and meeting up with friends. Anyway this post is way overdue, so here goes!


Regular readers of ours would know by now that S and I are currently in the midst of migrating to Australia. This chapter focuses on passing the health requirement as a prospective migrant if you are from Singapore.


Are you 'healthy' enough to migrate?

What do you need to do prior to the medical checkup?

Step 1: Lodge your PR application formally online
First of all, you must ensure that you have been invited by Australian Immigration to lodge your PR application. This invite will be sent to you (or your agent, if you have hired one) via email after you have submitted a complete EOI. In the email invite there will be a unique URL that you will need to click in order to go to the webpage to formally lodge your PR application.

Lodging the subclass 189 application is quite a tedious process but fortunately it is all done online. There are several pages of information to fill in but the system will guide you through each page. When lodging your application, it is critical to enter all the information carefully and accurately, as carelessness will cost you time later on (for rectification) and inaccurate information is possible grounds for visa rejection. After you complete your lodgement, you will need to make the payment (A$3060 for the entire family included in your application if you lodged before 1 July 2013, or a lot more if you applied after 1 July) before you are directed to a page to upload your supporting documents.

Do you have an eye for detail? You'll need it.

Because you need an eye for detail at this point, I would suggest that you do the lodgement online with your spouse/partner sitting next to you (or at least another pair of eyes) so that you can double check that all the information entered is accurate. It will also reduce frustration if your internet connection is stable.


Step 2: Print the medical referral letter
You should be automatically directed to a page to upload your supporting documents. On this same page, there should be a link called 'Organise your health examinations' available for the primary as well as each of the secondary applicants. It is a common consensus on migration forums that this link can be quite buggy at times, so if you do not find the link/ the link doesn't work, do not panic. Just try logging in again another time (maybe at night/off-peak) using this webpage. You will need your unique TRN number and password, which would have been created by you/your agent during lodgement.

When you click on the 'Organise your health examinations' link, you should be prompted to make a medical declaration. Simply answer all the questions presented truthfully and click submit. This will allow you to auto-generate a referral letter that you will need to print for each member included in your application. Ensure that each member attending the medical has a unique HAP ID printed in the referral letter, as the panel clinic will require this unique ID in order to submit your medical information to Australia side later on.

Step 3: Make your medical appointment
The entire list of panel clinics in Singapore can be found here. You will need to complete 3 tests in total: Medical Examination, HIV test and Chest X-ray - which means you will need to visit both a Medical clinic as well as a Radiology clinic. To save some time and minimize travelling, we decided to make our appointment with SATA CommHealth Medical Centre because they offer both medical and radiology services at the same location (either Bedok or Ang Mo Kio). 

To make matters even easier, SATA allows you to make your medical appointment with them online. After a day or two, the clinic staff will contact you to finalize your appointment date and time, as well as remind you regarding the documents you will need to bring - excellent service there! Do ensure that you bring the following documents with you for the medical checkup (for each primary/secondary applicant):
  • Passport
  • NRIC
  • Referral Letter with unique HAP ID 
  • Any medical reports/X-rays done recently or any medical documents you deem relevant/have been declared in your medical declaration

Finally, you will need to be in presentable clothing as the staff will take a photo of you on the actual day. This photo is to be attached in the medical report. You're all set!

P.S. Refer to S's post on hyperthyroidism to understand the importance of taking medicine for any chronic illnesses regularly, as well as the importance of bringing along all documentation and test results for your illness..

The Experience


When we reached the medical centre, it was just after lunch hour so the waiting area was relatively empty. We approached the registration counter and was given a queue number each. At this point, the nurse will ask for the passports and referral number, followed by the payment for the medical checkup - S$131.61 per pax. This covers the consultation, medical examination, chest X-ray and HIV blood test.

After that, we had to move from room to room for various tests to be conducted by the staff. We got a receipt cum checklist of all the tests we had to complete, so we went around from 'station' to 'station'. These 'stations' are:

  • photo-taking
  • eyesight and colour blindness test
  • height and weight
  • urine test
  • HIV blood test
  • Chest X-ray
  • Medical Exam by doctor for everything else

All in all, the whole thing was completed for both of us in about an hour. Pretty efficient of the staff I should say! 

It is best to complete the medical exam station last because you will need to pass your completed checklist to the doctor in person before you leave the clinic. The doctor will wait for the results of the X-ray and HIV test to be completed before submitting all the results to Australia Immigration online (via their eHealth system).


Other medical related FAQs...

1. What is the Health Requirement for migration to Australia?

Click on this link for the overview of the health requirement as well as how an applicant can meet the minimum requirement. Generally to meet the requirement, I gather that one must NOT:
  • be HIV positive
  • have Tuberculosis presently (history of cured TB is questionable)
  • require very expensive, ongoing healthcare
  • have any other serious (chronic) illnesses which will require very costly surgery/medical treatment etc 

Only a Medical Officer of the Commonwealth (known as MOC) will be able to determine what is defined as 'expensive' and 'serious'. If you are in this category, you should clarify any doubts you have with your panel physician during the medical examination. Immigration will probably refer your case to a MOC in Australia.

2. What if I have done a medical checkup/X-ray/HIV test recently?

You can bring your original documents / medical reports to the clinic and show the panel physician on the day of your medical exam. If he/she deems that your documents are still valid, the doctor will take them and upload the documents accordingly. You will still need to pay a basic fee for the consultation though.

3. What happens after you complete your medical examination?

Each applicant attending the medical exam will be given a grade by the panel doctor. There are only 2 grades, 'A' or 'B', based on the outcome of the medical exam and medical history. 'A' means that you are of good health and you have no significant medical conditions. 'B' means that your doctor thinks you may have a significant medical condition which will require referral to the MOC in Australia. You can ask your doctor for your medical grade before you leave the clinic.

Typically, those with 'A' grade for medical will be 'auto-cleared' and be taken as having passed the health requirement, except for a 'lucky' few who may still be referred to the MOC for quality control. Those with 'B' grade will be referred to the MOC. If you are still in doubt, this link provides very comprehensive information on the medical and radiological examinations as well as the grading outcomes.

4. How long is the wait for referred medicals?

It could be anywhere between a few weeks to several months it seems. No one knows for sure and it really depends on what the medical condition is. What is certain is that any referred medical (for any applicant) means a definite delay in the processing of the visa, as your case officer will need to wait for the referred medical to be finalized/cleared before the visa can be granted.

Update from S: In my case as linked earlier, the resultant delay was three weeks, with no further medical reviews or tests requested by the MOC. Still, it really depends on a case-by-case basis. I had gone for blood tests with my specialist (working diligently to get the results back to relatively normal specs) in anticipation of having to provide documentation to show that my condition was under control. This would be a good damage control action to take, rather than just assuming the best case scenario - which was what just happened to occur for us.


Referred medical = tang ku ku (wait long long)... 

5. What if I have other questions besides what can be found in this FAQ?

A lot of information that I have provided here is based on my own research - therefore you may want to do your own research to find answers to your unique question(s). There are tons of people (literally thousands) applying for visas to Australia and all permanent visas require applicants to fulfill the health requirement. Therefore it is likely that someone, somewhere out there is facing a similar issue. Google is your best friend! 
Otherwise, feel free to drop a comment/question below!

In the meantime, as long as your Case Officer has called for it, you can apply for the CoC as detailed in Chapter 8, even with an outstanding medical referral like S had.

- A

20 comments:

  1. Hi, thanks for sharing this info in such a detailed and organised way. Really appreciate it! Am currently waiting for the AITSL assessment result. May I ask how long you are given to lodge your PR application from the time the invitation is given?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Joyce,

      You must lodge your application within 60 days. But try to lodge it as soon as possible because you'll may be in for a long wait after that as well. Furthermore, the visa fees can increase anytime. This year it increased on 1 July AND 1 sept.

      All the best and hope your outcome is positive!

      -A

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  2. Hi, this is very informative.. we have done the medical @ Bedok SATA as well 2 weeks ago, I'm just wondering will your ecom.immi.gov.au account under item (Medical) get updated from "Requested" to "Received" when they have uploaded the medical result?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Rup,

      From what I understand, that depends on your CO. Generally u don't have to worry about the status ' requested' or 'received' etc because it's not always accurate. I submitted some documents which remained at 'requested' status all the way until I got the visa grant. So as long as you have done your uploading properly just wait for your CO to cue you on additional documents you will need to submit.

      All the best,
      A

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  3. Hi, thank you for the detail explanation on the whole migration process which is very helpful. I would like to check with you regarding to declaration of medical condition. You have brought up the point about hyperthyroidism and the post S's post on hyperthyroidism. I have the hypothyroid for which I am currently having treatment and on long term medication of Calcium and Cacitrol. Do I need to declare that in my medical report? Is there any chance that might affect the outcome of my Visa application? Appreciate it if you could please answer based on S's experience on how to declare and whether medical report required from my primary doctor about the condition. Appreciate it very much.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Declare everything.

      Not sure what the risk of getting 'caught' is. And if your thyroid levels are fine, there should be no delay whatsoever. As it were, my hyperthyroid levels didn't seem to cause any delay though I would not recommend trying your luck like that.

      Delete
  4. Hiii May I check how to obtain a letter of job offer as this is needed for primary school teachers?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Question has been answered in Migration Chapter 4.

      -S

      Delete
  5. Hi again!

    Could you share with me more information about what documents did you provide for partner that is tagging along visa 189. Is it definite that the partner visa will be grant if mine is granted?
    For me, I am in a relationship with my boyfriend (4years) planning to get married. we have a BTO agreement lease, a joint account.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Lixian,

      For your case if you are not officially married, in Oz you are in a de-facto relationship. Basically you will need to supply documents to prove that you are indeed in a legit defacto relationship - statutory declarations/statements from friends in common, concrete evidence of wedding plans, BTO agreement to show you are intending to buy a flat together, evidence that you are staying together in the meantime etc. A word of caution though - if you are not staying together with yr BF (meaning you do not have evidence to indicate you share a common address for now, such as electrical bills to your names etc), then you will need to think of a way to convince immigration that your relationship is indeed genuine. Otherwise if you get your 189, your partner may not.

      Cheers,
      A

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  6. This comment has been removed by the author.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I stand corrected on the front-loading of medical docs, as when logging in the NEXT DAY, the "Organise your health examinations" link came up...

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  7. Thanks for the details, much appreciated!

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  8. Hi, thank you so much for this informative website which has proven to be very useful with regards to my migration. I am in the last stages of applying for my 457 visa. I have submitted my 457 visa to my migration agent and I was told that I require a health insurance for this visa. That is all okay, except that after I have submitted my 457 visa to my migration agent, I discovered a lump in my neck, and after subsequent blood tests and other tests, found it to be a thyroid cyst/colloid nodule that is benign. However to be on the safe side, the doctor has advised me to visit NUH again half a year later (June'15) for a follow-up.
    Thus, when I was applying for my health insurance from company X (which fulfils the 457 visa requirements), I was unsure of whether I should declare this new-found medical condition. However I did not want to be 'found out', so I declared the condition of my thyroid nodule and scanned a copy of my doctor's memo to Company X. However, Company X has refused to cover me for health insurance because of this. I am wondering if I should apply for health insurance from another company Y and maybe in this instance not declare this medical condition? What do you think? Does it matter since I will be doing the follow-up in Singapore? No medication is necessary for my condition, just the follow-up for monitoring purposes.

    I really look forward to your reply as I am at a loss of what should be done.

    Thank you so much.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Read my comment above which was posted on 20 Jan 2014.

      -S

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  9. Hi A...

    Merry X mas and Happy New Year!

    After going through your blog like a bible in the past 12 months, I'm glad to say that I've made it to the medical clearance stage of my 189 application! I'm taking my medical exam after the New Year holidays at SATA and am a wee bit nervous, and hope you'll be able to shed some light with regards to the medical examination. Will the panel doctor perform any sort of breast examination? And if so did you/were you able to request for a female doctor?

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    Replies
    1. Hi JT

      No exam of that sort is required. And it depends on the center you go to. SATA Uttamran around the Bedok area has a female doctor if that sort of thing matters to you. We didn't ask for a female doctor, I believe.

      If you have existing breast issues than that may be another story. But my assessment is that you'd be queried more and asked to produce all the previous reports and documentation. This holds for any other medical issues as well.

      -S

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  10. Do i need to wait for my case officer from australia to contact me before i do the medical check?

    ReplyDelete
  11. Hi there,
    Information provided is quite useful thanks for sharing.
    But have another query to ask - I have a different situation here. I have got the invitation for lodging PR application for 189 visa but the thing is, i got conceived around 2 months ago after filing for EOI. Now i have a doubt if will be able to clear medicals or not
    Can you please help suggest if there will be a problem in getting medical clearance if I go for medicals now?

    ReplyDelete