New migrant health screening requirements
4 August 2005
The final stage in the progressive implementation of a new migrant health and disability screening package is planned to take effect on November 28.
Department of Labour Workforce Deputy Secretary Mary Anne Thompson said as of that date, people coming to New Zealand for more than 12 months would be required to undergo a medical examination. Previously, the requirement applied to those coming for more than 24 months.
Other changes include the addition of HIV, Hepatitis B, liver and renal function and blood count screening to the existing blood test for applicants 15 years and older.
The changes follow the introduction, from April 2004, of increased TB screening
for particular migrant groups.
Ms Thompson said the new screening requirements struck a balance between the cost of providing public healthcare services to migrants and the economic and social benefits to New Zealand from international students, temporary workers, tourists and other migrants.
"We are minimising the risk of the health sector incurring excessive costs while recognising that migration is vital for our social and economic wellbeing," she said.
The Department consulted with the medical sector in New Zealand and off-shore, the Medical Association, Royal New Zealand College of GPs, the ministries of Health and Education, and immigration consultants to develop the requirements.
A new medical certificate including the new requirements will be issued later in August for use by examining doctors. As at November 28, the current certificate will no longer be accepted for immigration applications.