Dear Visa applicants to Australia,
As of the 8th of August 2017, Family Medical Practice will no longer be able to provide health check visa services to Australia.
A few months ago, Australia’s Immigration Services instructed foreign medical providers to pay for the treatment of local patients found to be suffering from TB. The Australian Immigration Services indicated that due to the high costs of treatment, TB patients will be denied the opportunity to immigrate to Australia. The solution, therefore, was to instruct providers such as Family Medical Practice to pay for the treatment.
How would this work? Their instruction was that we should increase fees across the board for all visa applicants, meaning that non-TB applicants would be subsidizing those diagnosed with TB.
Family Medical Practice investigated further and discovered that the Immigration Services has “arranged” an agreement with IOM (International Organization for Migration, a so-called non-profit organization) to supervise the TB testing and treatment process. IOM charges an outrageous fee for “supervising” the process itself and through a local contracted provider—for a disease which is in fact a public health matter.
What’s more, this is to be undertaken by a public hospital, using resources paid for by the Vietnamese taxpayer—in other words, profiting from public funds—raising questions as to the integrity of the entire process.
All of this has come at the decision and propagation of the Australian Immigration Services.
Considering the above, Family Medical Practice’s view is that this whole procedure is highly questionable at best, if not illegal.
We therefore ask:
1. Why are patients exploited by a local arrangement, decided and propagated by the Australian government, while TB treatment in Vietnam is already subsidized by the public taxpayer’s money?
2. Why should healthy Vietnamese candidates bear the expense for examination, evaluation and treatment of candidates unrelated to them?
The core of the matter is that the entire process described above deals with exploiting a public health issue, a disease that is one of the Vietnamese Government’s top priorities to address.
Family Medical Practice’s stand is that this process is highly questionable, unjustified and non-transparent, and we have asked the Ministry of Health for clarity on the matter.
Yesterday, the 25th of July, after 20 years of our providing services to the Australian Government Visa Program, the Australian Government and Immigration Services have declared that the service given by Family Medical Practice is not up to standard and will be terminated, despite complying with their standards and regulations and passing strict inspections annually.
Dr. Kot Raphael – CEO