Successful Health Waiver for a Family With Two Young Children Diagnosed With Cystic Fibrosis

Andrew Woo, Immigration Lawyer, has had recent success in securing a health waiver for his Queensland based clients applying for a partner visa.

“It was quite a journey for everyone involved, including myself”, said Andrew reflecting on his involvement in the case that dates back to 2017.


The sponsor was a New Zealand citizen who had worked in the UK as a Deep-Sea Fisherman. The sponsor fell in love with the applicant and together they returned to New Zealand in the mid-1990s.

After travelling and working together in New Zealand for two years, they decided to marry in the UK. They lived for a few years before relocating to Australia.

The applicant and sponsor thoroughly enjoyed their time in Australia. Still, they felt that they had no immigration option for the applicant to remain in Australia.

Eventually, they relocated to New Zealand, where they had their first two children.

In 2007, the applicant and the sponsor decided to move back to Australia to start their life again with their two young children. This meant the applicant had to apply for a Subclass 461 New Zealand Citizen Family Relationship visa.

In Australia, they welcomed another child. Later on, their first two children were unfortunately diagnosed with cystic fibrosis. The applicant and the sponsor continued to provide a stable and safe nest for their three children on special category visas.

Since arrival in Australia, the sponsor had been troubled due to the applicant and their three children not having permanent residency.

Initial Advice

In late 2017, the applicant and the sponsor sought advice from Andrew, who provided them with a strategic plan after identifying unique features of their relationship, including the two children’s diagnoses.

The applicant submitted her application for a partner visa in 2018.

Health Waiver

Before submitting the partner visa application, Andrew could not anticipate the inclusion of CFTR modulator therapy in the PBS, which was considered prohibitively expensive.

The unintended consequence of the inclusion in the PBS was the potential costs to the community for each child with cystic fibrosis were assessed to be $2.45 million for ten years. This was not pleasant news for Andrew and his clients.

Despite the initial shock, Andrew and his clients were not prepared to give in and instead stuck to their original strategic plan to focus on the case’s merits. Such as the fact that the youngest child from the relationship became an Australian citizen after turning ten.

In September 2020, Andrew thoroughly prepared a health waiver form and carefully drafted submissions after gathering all the materials from his clients.

Successful Outcome

In December 2021, Andrew was delighted to receive visa grant notifications for his clients. He wasted no time contacting his clients, who were understandably overjoyed and became very emotional.

Andrew’s clients had the uncertainty of not having permanent residency hovering over their otherwise happy lives in Australia for more than 14 years.

It was a tremendous relief to see our clients reunited in the legal sense in Australia, where they can now get on with their lives as permanent residents and Australian citizens.

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