New Zealand and Australia will
jointly manage panel doctors for
Immigration New Zealand (INZ) and the Australian Department of Immigration and Citizenship (DIAC) have agreed to jointly manage the team of overseas doctors used to assess New Zealand and Australian visa applicants' health.
As part of a visa application for both Australia and New Zealand, applicants are typically required to meet certain health criteria to ensure they do not pose a significant risk to either country's healthcare systems.
In order to meet these criteria, applicants are required to undertake a medical exam with a 'panel doctor' - a doctor approved by either INZ or DIAC.
However, now the list of doctors will be greatly expanded as panel doctors for either country will be jointly managed, meaning they can approve patients applying to move to Australia or New Zealand.
A joint statement issued INZ head Nigel Bickle and DIAC secretary Martin Bowles said the move was intended to improve customer service and communication between the two countries.
It is also hoped better levels of participation between the two countries will help to detect and limit the spread of diseases such as tuberculosis.
Leonie Cotton, casework manager at the Australian Visa Bureau, said the move should mean visa applicants for either country will have greater access to panel doctors.
"Getting an appointment with a panel-certified doctor can be a tricky part of the application process, given the relatively small number of them," said Ms Cotton.
"Combining both Australia and New Zealand's resources however should help to expedite the process and ensure more visa applicants progress through their applications quicker."
- Dominic Ladden-Powell is the Online Editor for the Australian Visa Bureau and the New Zealand Visa Bureau.
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