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Acceptable Standard of Health (ASH) - What does this mean?

When assessing whether a visa applicant has an acceptable standard of health (ASH) Immigration New Zealand (INZ) is required to determine whether the applicant is likely to impose significant costs or demands on New Zealand's health services, or special education services; and whether they are able to undertake the work or study on the basis of which they are applying for a visa.

In some cases, the concern may not be the cost of services required or the ability of an applicant to undertake the purposes of their visa, but the need for services and resources which are already currently under pressure.

As part of the process, a medical assessor determines whether there is a relatively high probability that the condition or group of conditions will require health services costing in excess of NZ$81,000 (NZ$41,000 if the applicant applied for a visa before 4 September 2022) over the following five years if the condition is acute, or over the expected course of the condition where it is a chronic ongoing medical condition.

Citizens, residents and people on work visas who are in New Zealand longer-term (with a visa over 2 years or more) have automatic access to our health system. There is no option to opt out of the health system as it provides universal coverage.

If an applicant does not meet ASH, there are multiple possible outcomes for their visa application. For example, they may be granted a medical waiver, or an exception to instructions (the criteria that visa applicants must meet). This is all decided on a case-by-case basis.

Assessing acceptable standard of health

You may need to get a medical examination as part of your application. INZ uses this to determine if you meet the acceptable standard of health criteria.

Results in your medical examination may mean that INZ will either:

  • continue with your application as you meet the acceptable standard of health criteria, or

  • ask one of their medical assessors for their medical opinion. Their medical assessors are registered New Zealand medical practitioners, and provide their medical opinion on whether the acceptable standard of health criteria are met.

The medical assessor's opinion may mean that INZ may:

  • request further medical information from you to complete an assessment

  • continue processing your visa application as you meet the acceptable standard of health criteria

  • see if you are eligible for a medical waiver assessment as you have not met the acceptable standard of health criteria

  • decline your visa application as you have not met the acceptable standard of health criteria — we only do this when we cannot issue a medical waiver.


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