Medical Waivers for Immigration to New Zealand

By Bradley So | Immigration Law

Under current immigration residence criteria all individuals included in an application for New Zealand permanent residence are required to demonstrate that they have an acceptable standard of health for the grant of New Zealand residence, or, failing this, they qualify for a “medical waiver”.

There are two levels of qualification Immigration New Zealand in relation to determining whether or not an individual is able to demonstrate an acceptable standard of health in a residence application.


Immigration NZ have compiled a list of medical conditions that will be deemed to not meet the acceptable standard of health and therefore will require a medical waiver in order for the application to be approved. If you have any doubts about your eligibility or requirement of assistance in securing a waiver on medical grounds contact the team at Queen City Law who are experienced in this field.


HIV infection;

Hepatitis B surface antigen positive, with abnormal liver function;

Hepatitis C, RNA positive, with abnormal liver function;

Malignancies of solid organs and haematopoietic tissue, including past history of, or currently under treatment;

Exceptions are:

treated minor skin malignancies (not melanoma);

malignancies where the interval since treatment is such that the probability of cure is > 90%, eg: early stage (I & IIA) breast cancer at 5 years; low risk prostate cancer at 5 years; early stage (Dukes A & B1) colorectal cancer at 5 years; childhood leukaemia at 5 years.

Solid organ transplants, excluding corneal grafts more than 6 months old;

Chronic renal failure or progressive renal disorders; Solid organ transplants, excluding corneal grafts more than 6 months old;

Chronic renal failure or progressive renal disorders;

Diseases or disorders such as osteoarthritis with a high probability of arthroplasty in the next four years; Central Nervous System disease, including motor neurone disease, complex partial seizures, poorly controlled epilepsy, prion disease, Alzheimer’s and other dementia, and including paraplegia and quadriplegia; Cardiac disease including ischaemic heart disease, cardiomyopathy or valve disease requiring surgical and/or other procedural intervention;

Chronic obstructive respiratory disease with limited exercise tolerance and requiring oxygen;

Genetic or congenital disorders: muscular dystrophies, cystic fibrosis, thalassaemia major, sickle cell anaemia if more than one sickle crisis in 4 years, severe haemophilia, and severe primary immunodeficiencies;

Severe autoimmune disease, currently being treated with immuno-suppressants other than prednisone;

In a person up to the age of 21 years, a severe (71-90 decibels) hearing loss or profound bilateral sensori-neural hearing loss;

In a person up to the age of 21 years, a severe vision impairment with visual acuity of 6/36 or beyond after best possible correction, or a loss restricting the field of vision to 15-20 degrees;

In a person up to the age of 21 years, a severe physical disability, where they are unable to stand and walk without support, and cannot independently dress, eat, hold a cup, or maintain their stability when sitting.[/toggle]


If these medical conditions are evident (in most instances further reports from specialists are required to confirm this), then the applicant’s condition will be deemed to impose a significant cost and/or demand on the provision of New Zealand’s health services and therefore the individual will fail the requirement to demonstrate a satisfactory standard of health.

Waivers may also be needed if, over the predicted course of the condition or group of conditions, there is a relatively high probability that the migrant will require health services costing in excess of NZ$25,000.00

With certain types of ongoing conditions it is often not too difficult for an individual to have a condition which will for the life of the condition cost the New Zealand taxpayer in excess of $25,000.00 of funding.  It is relatively common therefore for an individual included in an application for New Zealand residence to be required to undertake further specific tests following the provision of a Medical & Chest X-Ray Certificate to determine the potential  costs and demands on New Zealand’s health system.


It is very important therefore that accurate informed advice is received in the event that an individual understands or knows that there will be a health issue with their application before the submission of an application. Let the team at Queen City Law help you navigate your immigration to New Zealand.

This information was accurate as at May 2012

We have taken care to ensure that the information given is accurate, however it is intended for general guidance only and it should not be relied upon in individual cases. Professional advice should always be sought before any decision or action is taken.