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Changes to Retirement Visa Regulations, Effective 1st November 2003

Author: Alan Collett
Date: Thursday, September 18, 2003
Details of changes to the Migration Regulations taking effect on the 1st of November have been published, and there are some significant amendments for Retirement visaholders, which simplify the procedures for those seeking to renew their Retirement visa.

By way of background, the Retirement visa, subclass number 410, is a temporary visa, which is granted initially with a validity of 4 years from the date of issue. Holders of such a visa may apply for the renewal of their visa as it approaches expiry, with the renewal 410 visa having a 2 year validity. On the expiry of that visa another renewal 410 visa may be sought, etc, etc..

At present there are two categories of renewal applicants, with the difference deriving from an amendment to the Migration Regulations that took effect on the 1st of December, 1998. This amendment introduced a tougher health requirement for those who applied for a Retirement visa for the first time after that date, in that such persons have been required to pass the same medical examination on a renewal application as was required on the initial visa application.

Such a medical examination requires the applicant to satisfy the doctor and the Department of Immigration that amongst other things the applicant (and his or her spouse if relevant) do not have a disease or condition that would result in a significant cost to the Australian community in the area of health care or community services. Clearly, as visaholders get older there is an increasing likelihood of a health condition arising, and until now this has been a potentially significant issue affecting those who have applied for Retirement visas after the 1st of December, 1998, and indeed has probably dissuaded many from applying for such a visa in the first place.

The changes that are expected to take effect from the 1st of November, 2003 amend the position for renewal 410 visa applicants in this regard by significantly relaxing this requirement, in that the applicant will simply need to confirm that:

- the applicant and the applicant's spouse (if any) are free from tuberculosis, and
- the applicant and the applicant's spouse (if any) are free from a disease or condition that is, or may result in the applicant or the applicant's spouse being, a threat to public health in Australia or a danger to the Australian community

In other words the "significant cost" condition will no longer apply to those applying for a renewal Retirement visa.

Renewal applicants have also been required to ensure compliance with the same financial requirements as pertain on an initial 410 visa application, as discussed more fully on this webpage.

Given that these amendments to the Migration Regulations become law this requirement for renewal applicants will cease to apply.

These are significant changes of a welcome nature to the law affecting 410 Retirement visa applicants, and we will be delighted to discuss them more fully if you are thinking of applying for such a visa, or if you are already the holder of such a visa. Please contact us for more details.



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