Immigration New Zealand has announced changes with respect to onshore chest x-ray examination for applicants implemented from May 1, 2019.

The new process requires applicants to first visit an Immigration New Zealand (INZ) Panel Medical Clinic to have their case created in eMedical. They are then referred to a panel radiologist to get the chest x-ray examination.

This change was confirmed with all onshore panel clinics on 30 November 2018, who were given until 1 May 2019 to adopt the process. The change relates to chest x-ray only cases and does not impact general or limited medical examinations.

Reasons for change

The process change has been introduced to ensure that the panel physicians at referring clinics are responsible for following up any abnormal findings with applicants.

Before this change was introduced, clients could go directly to a panel radiologist for a chest x-ray only examination. This is different to the New Zealand health care model where general practitioners co-ordinate any follow up that may be required.

The previous process also offered no assurance that appropriate healthcare would be arranged where a condition was identified.

Changing the process means applicants will be promptly informed about abnormal results by medical professionals, instead of through correspondence with INZ.

INZ consulted with New Zealand’s Onshore Panel Physician Network before making the decision to implement the change. Most clinics that responded to the consultation welcomed the change, noting the process will now align with the traditional New Zealand health care model.