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Disability discrimination and immigration in Australia

Waldeck, E., Guthrie, R.,

Academic Literature


The Migration Act 1958 is exempted from the operation of the Disability Discrimination Act 1992. Many migration applications have been lawfully refused due to the disability of the applicant or a member of the applicant's family. Recent cases have tested the validity of the opinions of the Commonwealth Medical Officers who are required to provide the necessary medical opinion upon which the migration application is determined. The decisions of the Federal Court in Robinson and Ramlu give new hope to future migration applicants. Both cases were decided in favour of the applicant, holding that the medical opinions provided were invalid under the relevant migration regulations because the Commonwealth Medical Officer had assessed the applicant's disability based upon a hypothetical generic person with the disease or condition of the applicant rather than having regard to the particular circumstances of the applicant. This paper examines these decisions in detail.

Publication information

Journal/Publication : International Journal of Discrimination and the Law

Location : Australasia

Domain/s: Community and civic participation, Health and wellbeing

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