Skip to main content

Table 3 Country comparison of health entitlements for refugees and asylum seekers according to status

From: Australian health policy on access to medical care for refugees and asylum seekers

  Australia New Zealand Canada UK
Refugee Medicare NZ Health System coverage Provincial Health Cover: Canada's Federal Health system (comprised of Federal and Provincial contributions) includes comprehensive health cover, including hospital, physician, surgical-dental and specialist cover. NHS Coverage
Asylum Seeker in detention Health care through the private company in charge of the detention centres a N/A: Asylum Seekers rarely held in detention for longer than 48 hours b No overarching coverage: individuals are assessed on a case-by-case basis b National Health Service (NHS) Coverage. Coverage includes: primary & secondary care, free prescriptions, dental services, coverage of travel costs to/from hospital b
Asylum Seeker awaiting primary decision of refugee status Depends on when visa applied for: If application submitted within 45 days of arrival, then individuals have access to Medicare but no translating services, Early Health Assessment and Intervention, and torture/trauma counselling,
If application submitted after 45 days of arrival, then no Medicare access
NZ Health System coverage. Coverage includes all services, such as: Primary & secondary care, co-payment of pharmaceuticals, specialist referral and coverage, cost offsets for 'frequent users' of medical services, hospital & accident cover, dental, mental, maternity and sexual health care. Interim Federal Health (IFH) Program coverage. Coverage includes essential health services for the treatment & prevention of serious medical conditions, essential prescription medications, contraception, prenatal care, obstetrical care, Immigration Medical Exam, emergency dental service. NHS coverage
Asylum Seeker appealing a negative Refugee Review Tribunal (or equivalent) outcome No access to Medicare c NZ Health System coverage NB: may take some time to receive Community Services Card, necessary for accessing a General Practitioner (GP) IFH Program Coverage NHS Coverage
Refused Asylum Seeker who has exhausted all appeals No access to Medicare d NZ Health System coverage NB: may take some time to receive Community Services Card, necessary for accessing a GP IFH Program Coverage Primary & urgent care only e
  1. Sources: [14, 31-33, 36, 37, 49, 55-60]
  2. a Detention is mandatory for all 'unauthorised arrivals'.
  3. b Detention is not mandatory for 'unauthorised arrivals'.
  4. c Under certain circumstances, these individuals may be eligible for ASAS. See: DIMIA, 2003.
  5. d The majority of individuals in this circumstance will not have Medicare access. A small number of individuals living in the community on 'Removal Pending Bridging Visas' will, however, have access.
  6. See: Table 2 for further explanation.
  7. e Asylum Seekers who are deemed 'hard cases' maintain NHS coverage until a decision has been reached.