How to avoid pregnancy anxiety
A pregnant woman who has been denied a visa by her employer because she has been pregnant is set to receive a medical check-up, as the immigration minister prepares to release a revised visa policy.
As the government prepares to roll out the revised policy, which will replace the “Pregnancy Burden Assessment” policy it introduced in May, Health Minister Peter Dunne has warned pregnant women who have been refused visas will be forced to pay the costs of their visit.
“We are aware that some employers are reluctant to pay for their employees’ medical assessments and the Government will ensure that if they do not do so, they will be held to account,” he said.
“There will be additional measures in place if necessary to make sure that pregnant employees who do not have valid visas are not excluded from the Australian community.”
The revised policy will include a new “Pregnant Person” policy which will require employers to provide evidence of the health of their employees.
The policy will also make sure employees with valid visas can be given the opportunity to provide health assessments for their own health.
Dunne said it was not uncommon for pregnant women to be denied entry into Australia as a result of employers’ “misperceptions” that their pregnancies are a burden on the community.
“It is extremely rare for an employer to refuse a visa to a pregnant person, particularly when there is clear evidence of their health and wellbeing,” he told reporters.
“The fact that pregnant women are excluded from entry to Australia for this reason is unfortunate.”
The new policy will be announced on Thursday.
Dunney said the revised visa will be more rigorous than the previous version which required employers to supply evidence of health of the workers.
“This will mean that employers will have to provide a health assessment to their staff before they can grant them a visa,” he explained.
“If an employer does not provide this evidence, they risk losing the visa and potentially the job.”
The government will also introduce an amendment to the Health (Public Health) Act to ensure that health assessments of pregnant workers are not used as grounds for denial.
This amendment will also be made mandatory for all employers who refuse to provide an accurate health assessment, regardless of whether the worker is a new employee.
Employers with “faulty health assessments” will also have to pay $15,000 per worker to ensure the assessment is accurate.
“In a number of instances, employers will now be required to provide this health assessment before they will grant an employer a visa, meaning that employers are now being held to the highest ethical standards when it comes to their workplace health and safety,” he added.
He also said that employers would have to comply with the health assessment requirements if they were to deny a visa.
“Employers will be required by law to provide the Health Assessment Report to the Immigration Department if they deny a worker a visa on the basis of a faulty health assessment,” he wrote in a submission to the House of Representatives Standing Committee on Immigration and Citizenship.
“Under the revised health assessment policy, if an employer refuses to provide any of the information in the report they will need to pay this fine to the Department of Human Services.”
This new policy is likely to be controversial with the Labor Party, which has previously said it would not support an amendment that would force employers to pay to “make sure” that pregnant workers were included in the community, as well as those who were born overseas.
“While I’m not against employers paying for a health certificate or providing the health certificate for employees, I think it’s important that employers pay the price for a failure to comply, because that is not the right thing to do,” Labor’s Immigration spokesman, Luke Donnellan, said.
Dunne has previously defended the original policy, arguing it had been used to ensure “a healthy workforce”.
“It’s been very successful and I think that’s what we want to do in this case,” he had previously told ABC Radio’s AM program.
“If you can get people into Australia with a high level of employment and you have a safe environment for them to do their job, that’s really what we need.”
Topics:immigration,immigration,government-and-politics,australiaFirst posted April 21, 2019 08:48:54Contact Julie BowermoreMore stories from Australia