July 9, 2009

Hepatitis B and Canada Immigration

It's not the first time that I was asked whether Hepatitis B will cause a problem for their Permanent Resident Visa Application. So I though of writing about it, hoping this will help those with similar situation.

First, what is Hepatitis B?

From World Health Organization (WHO)

* Hepatitis B is a viral infection that attacks the liver and can cause both acute and chronic disease.
* The virus is transmitted through contact with the blood or other body fluids of an infected person - not through casual contact.
* About 2 billion people worldwide have been infected with the virus and about 350 million live with chronic infection. An estimated 600 000 persons die each year due to the acute or chronic consequences of hepatitis B.
* About 25% of adults who become chronically infected during childhood later die from liver cancer or cirrhosis (scarring of the liver) caused by the chronic infection.
* The hepatitis B virus is 50 to 100 times more infectious than HIV.
* Hepatitis B virus is an important occupational hazard for health workers.
* Hepatitis B is preventable with a safe and effective vaccine.
From Health Canada
Hepatitis B is a liver disease caused by the hepatitis B virus. The virus is carried in blood and body fluids. It can lead to serious liver damage, life-long infection, liver cancer, liver failure and even death. Fortunately, there is a vaccine that can protect you against hepatitis B.

Now, with reference to medical inadmissibility rule, there are two concerns here. First, possible transmission to others and second, "excessive" demand in health services.

Then consider what is being done during the medical examination. The medical examination includes:
* complete physical examination for all family members;
* chest X-ray and a radiologist’s report for everyone aged 11 years and over;
* blood test for everyone aged 15 years or over;
* urinalysis for everyone aged 5 years or over;
* HIV testing for everyone aged 15 years or over, as well as for children who have received blood or blood products, or have a known HIV mother.
You and each of your family members will have to complete your own copy of the Medical Report, where you will have to write your answers to the questions on the form IMM 5419.

Question No. 8 is about Hepatitis.
When there is a history of hepatitis in those older than 15 years of age, the details from the applicant should include the date and type of hepatitis, if known.

Note: If the applicant is not excessive demand exempt, then the results of serum AST and ALT should be provided. If these are abnormal (greater than 1.5 X normal value), then a specialist’s report including hepatitis C antibodies and hepatitis B surface antigen should be provided.[Source]
Now, to answer the question whether those with Hepatitis B will cause refusal of Permanent Resident Visa application, I think it will be treated on a case to case basis. We have clients with Hepatitis but were issued visa. Lastly, read this discussion paper from Association of Chinese Canadian Professionals about Hepatitis B.

Information posted here at www.gatewaytocanada.com is not a legal advise.  Information about Canadian Visa Application is available for free at http://cic.gc.ca.  

If you want to hire a representative for your Canada Visa Application, please be informed that only Registered Immigration Consultants and Lawyers who are member and with good standing with Canadian Law Society, can represent you for a fee.