Medical treatment visa applications moving online on 2 March 2019

The Subclass 602 – Medical Treatment visa (MTV) will be heading to online applications from 2 March 2019. It is another visa shifting to online only applications unless authorised by the Department of Home Affairs either verbally or by email according to the legislative instrument. Paper-based applications will probably only be authorised if the online application portal, ImmiAccount, is down.

Moving MTVs to online applications is an interesting endeavour considering it is a rather unique visa in that there is no other visa subclass like it.

There are several situations where MTVs apply with the overarching need for this subclass being that they are for non-citizens needing to be in Australia for a short period to obtain medical treatment. They also facilitate non-citizens:

  • donating an organ for transplant in Australia;

  • giving emotional and other support to those seeking medical treatment or donating their organ;

  • who are citizens of Papua New Guinea who reside in the Western Province who have been approved for medical evacuation;

  • in Australia needing ongoing medical treatment and are unfit to depart;

  • who have compelling personal reasons and who meet specified criteria of the situations above; and

  • in financial hardship who hold an MTV, including the repealed Subclass 675 – Medical Treatment (Short Stay) visa and Subclass 685 – Medical Treatment (Long Stay) visa.

The exception to the short period of grant are those unfit to depart. An example of when a long visa grant period is warranted was previously reported.

Over the years the Department of Home Affairs have gradually migrated (pun intended!) visa applications from paper to their online platform. The benefit is to firm the certainty that valid visa applications are submitted because internet applications have been designed to avoid applicants: providing serious deficient and missing information, not providing their residential address, not providing personal identifiers, and paying an incorrect visa application charge. By not meeting any of these requirements, a visa application may be deemed invalid. Any invalid visa application is taken to have never been made, which could be dire to an applicant if time is of the essence.

While internet visa applications can still be deficient of the above, the forms do their best to mitigate these risks. They also cut down on paper, printing, and handling costs by various parties and stakeholders.

When an internet application has been made it is taken to have been made in Australian Eastern Standard Time or, when daylight savings occurs, the time incorporating daylight savings in the Australian Capital Territory. It is also taken to have been made in Australia unless regulations expressly prescribe otherwise.

Given all this, it is therefore surprising all visa applications have not yet made their way to ImmiAccount, particularly, parent visas and Subclass 461 – New Zealand Citizen Family Relationship (Temporary) visas which have some similarities to partner visas.

It is perhaps only a matter of time.