For those who are applying to get New Zealand visas, the process of completing immigration medical examinations has become much easier than ever. Immigration New Zealand (INZ) has announced that it has recently selected clinics from all over the country to be part of an onshore panel physician network and use a system that will simplify the process of issuing immigration medical certificates.
A total of 72 medical clinics, 54 radiology clinics, and eight clinics that offer both services have been invited to join the onshore panel physician network. The participants will be able to use a new system known as eMedical. According to INZ, this system will allow physicians to submit medical certificates and x-rays online. The medical and radiology clinics were selected following a procurement process that started late last year.
eMedical was jointly developed by Australia’s Department of Immigration and Border Protection and Citizenship and Immigration Canada. It is already being used by more than 470 clinics in 121 countries.
INZ is hoping that the latest development will significantly speed up the process of issuing medical certificates to New Zealand visa applicants. Stephen Dunstan, general manager at INZ, said eMedical is expected to replace 100% of paper-based medical certificates onshore. At present, INZ is receiving around 120,000 medical certificates a year. About 50% of these certificates are onshore.
“eMedical is a significant change to the way we process health information for our applicants,” Mr Dunstan said. “eMedical supports INZ’s move to online applications and provides a more secure and efficient process for submitting immigration medicals.”
The new system will take effect on the 31st of March, 2015. Once eMedical is in place, visa applicants in New Zealand will be required to visit a doctor or radiologist accredited by INZ for their immigration medical examinations. Meanwhile, clinics that are not on the panel will still be able to submit paper-based medicals until June 30.
“We have ensured that clinics have been selected in the main centres as well as in regions where there are large migrant populations,” Mr Dunstan says. “But clinics not selected will have an opportunity to be appointed to the panel should further capacity be required.”
Meanwhile, the INZ is reminding New Zealand visa applicants that they don’t need to pay more when taking medical examinations. Officials explained that there is no cost to clinics to be part of the onshore panel and to use eMedical. As such, there’s no reason for them to raise the cost of medical exams.