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Author Topic: Canadian Student Visa for HIV+ve  (Read 4937 times)

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Offline hope4love

  • Member
  • Posts: 56
  • Every Problem has a Solution.
Canadian Student Visa for HIV+ve
« on: February 28, 2011, 06:37:33 AM »
It’s been a year now of me knowing that I am Hiv + ve. I Started medication on Oct 2010. In Feb 2011 I did my Blood work, my viral load is undetectable and my CD4 is up with 360 from 275.

I was keen to study (PhD for 4 years) in Canada. Being an Indian citizen to get a Canadian Student Visa I need to undergo Medical examination. Like Blood test, Urine, Chest X ray, physical examination.
In Blood test I have found they do the HIV test, Being HIV positive would I be denied "Student Visa"? Or will there be any exception for the Embassy to consider me to study in Canada. I did write email to Canadian Embassy and looking various website but not got any reply or information on this. The Canadian law states that if I need to stay in Canada for more than 6 months its mandatory for me to undergo HIV test. I am bit concerned that I have already applied to few universities and the university may accept but the Embassy may deny because I being HIV +ve.
Jan 2009 - Sero Negative
Jan 2010 - Sero Positive
               CD4 - 275, VL - 18,000
Oct 2010 - CD4 - 241, Started - Vonavir; Oct 2011 - CD4 - 474;Jan 2012 - CD4-620; Aug 2012-CD4-600, VL- UD; Jan 2013 CD4-493, VL-72 IU/ml   (Blip)

Offline komnaes

  • Member
  • Posts: 1,893
Re: Canadian Student Visa for HIV+ve
« Reply #1 on: February 28, 2011, 07:18:46 AM »
Canada has an "excessive" medical cost clause to refuse application for student visa. The idea being that while HIV is not automatically a ground of refusal, an applicant can still be rejected if s/he needs constant medication treatment that would require the government to pay more than average to keep you healthy than taking care of its average residents. So this restriction covers a whole range of mainly chronic diseases like HIV.

I would recommend finding a lawyer and seek legal representation, as the odd is against you since you're already on meds. The best way to find one is to get in touch with HIV support groups in the State of the university that has accepted you, as your chance will increase with an experienced lawyer that knows how to beat the system. If cost is a concern, try to expand your search to lesbian/gay lawyer associations to see if you can find some pro bono help.

And with a postgrad program like a Ph.D., I would assume that you might have engaged a supervisor or two? I am NOT recommending you to go directly to your supervisor or the admission office of the university once you're accepted; but do use your judgment and see how much your supervisor might be able to help.

It won't be easy my friend.. the strategies are to find way to beat the excessive cost clause, and that have been done in many cases. Do find those help ASAP before you submit your visa application - as once a decision has been made at the local embassy it maybe difficult to appeal. I would even recommend looking at the option of  applying FROM Canada, i.e. once you're accepted, fly there first on a regular tourist visa and do the process in Canada (provided of course that you have already done all the preparation and received some qualified advises from a professional).

Good luck, Shaun
« Last Edit: February 28, 2011, 07:20:32 AM by komnaes »
Aug 07 Diagnosed
Oct 07 CD4=446(19%) Feb 08 CD4=421(19%)
Jun 08 CD4=325(22%) Jul 08 CD4=301(18%)
Sep 08 CD4=257/VL=75,000 Oct 08 CD4=347(16%)
Dec 08 CD4=270(16%)
Jan 09 CD4=246(13%)/VL=10,000
Feb 09 CD4=233(15%)/VL=13,000
Started meds Sustiva/Epzicom
May 09 CD4=333(24%)/VL=650
Aug 09 CD4=346(24%)/VL=UD
Nov 09 CD4=437(26%)/VL=UD
Feb 10 CD4=471(31%)/VL=UD
June 10 CD4=517 (28%)/VL=UD
Sept 10 CD4=687 (31%)/VL=UD
Jan 11 CD4=557 (30%)/VL=UD
April 11 CD4=569 (32%)/VL=UD
Switched to Epizcom, Reyataz and Norvir
(Interrupted for 2 months with only Epizcom & Reyataz)
July 11 CD=520 (28%)/VL=UD
Oct 11 CD=771 (31%)/VL=UD(<30)
April 12 CD=609 (28%)/VL=UD(<20)
Aug 12 CD=657 (29%)/VL=UD(<20)
Dec 12 CD=532 (31%)/VL=UD(<20)
May 13 CD=567 (31%)/VL=UD(<20)
Jan 14 CD=521 (21%)/VL=UD(<50)

Offline hope4love

  • Member
  • Posts: 56
  • Every Problem has a Solution.
Re: Canadian Student Visa for HIV+ve
« Reply #2 on: February 28, 2011, 07:33:32 AM »
Thanks Shaun for your quick reply. I wont be a burden to the Canadian Health System as I can get all my medication from India and can fly to India for my blood test. I do not wish to burden Canadian Government. I only wish & pray that they just allow me to study without creating any hinderance.

I wonder why still so many countires consider HIV as a burden and lot of travel restrictions..and why cant they treat in the same terms of having a Diabetes or Cancer.. they also take medications.. but no restrictions to them but only to those with HIV. Its sad that HIV makes the world small.
Jan 2009 - Sero Negative
Jan 2010 - Sero Positive
               CD4 - 275, VL - 18,000
Oct 2010 - CD4 - 241, Started - Vonavir; Oct 2011 - CD4 - 474;Jan 2012 - CD4-620; Aug 2012-CD4-600, VL- UD; Jan 2013 CD4-493, VL-72 IU/ml   (Blip)

Offline komnaes

  • Member
  • Posts: 1,893
Re: Canadian Student Visa for HIV+ve
« Reply #3 on: February 28, 2011, 07:51:32 AM »
Hi Hope,

To be fair to Canada, this restriction is not solely targeting us, though I gotta say it was politically motivated to have some sort of restrictions instead of a wholesale ban on HIV+ applicants so they can appear not as discriminating as the latter. So, actually, if one is diabetic or suffering from other "costly" long term health issues, this restriction may also apply now. And since Canada offers universal health care to all its citizens and legal residents (like students), one can justify that as an attempt to reduce health case costs on all their taxpayers .. and whether it's fair or not of course is a matter of perspective.

Again, I do recommend you to look for proper legal advises, and before engaging (and paying for) a lawyer try talk to trusted local support groups first and hear what they have to say. They maybe able to refer you to experienced professionals. The most important thing is to build a proper case - everyone knows that an applicant can say "I can go home for meds", "I have enough money", etc, but the important thing is to package and present those facts in ways that would convince the authority.

As anyone in the legal profession would tell you, it's also as important to locate a sympathetic case officer to handle your application; hence my recommendation to see if you can apply from Canada instead of Indian, which I am rather sure would have more choices for you (and your lawyer if you engage one) to pick from.

Best wishes.. Shaun
« Last Edit: February 28, 2011, 07:57:59 AM by komnaes »
Aug 07 Diagnosed
Oct 07 CD4=446(19%) Feb 08 CD4=421(19%)
Jun 08 CD4=325(22%) Jul 08 CD4=301(18%)
Sep 08 CD4=257/VL=75,000 Oct 08 CD4=347(16%)
Dec 08 CD4=270(16%)
Jan 09 CD4=246(13%)/VL=10,000
Feb 09 CD4=233(15%)/VL=13,000
Started meds Sustiva/Epzicom
May 09 CD4=333(24%)/VL=650
Aug 09 CD4=346(24%)/VL=UD
Nov 09 CD4=437(26%)/VL=UD
Feb 10 CD4=471(31%)/VL=UD
June 10 CD4=517 (28%)/VL=UD
Sept 10 CD4=687 (31%)/VL=UD
Jan 11 CD4=557 (30%)/VL=UD
April 11 CD4=569 (32%)/VL=UD
Switched to Epizcom, Reyataz and Norvir
(Interrupted for 2 months with only Epizcom & Reyataz)
July 11 CD=520 (28%)/VL=UD
Oct 11 CD=771 (31%)/VL=UD(<30)
April 12 CD=609 (28%)/VL=UD(<20)
Aug 12 CD=657 (29%)/VL=UD(<20)
Dec 12 CD=532 (31%)/VL=UD(<20)
May 13 CD=567 (31%)/VL=UD(<20)
Jan 14 CD=521 (21%)/VL=UD(<50)

Offline hope4love

  • Member
  • Posts: 56
  • Every Problem has a Solution.
Re: Canadian Student Visa for HIV+ve
« Reply #4 on: March 03, 2011, 01:50:27 AM »
Hi Shaun

I had emailed to "HIV & AIDS Legal Clinic ( Ontario )" Canada and I got the following reply. This has given some confidence and positivity...


"Thank you for your email to us of February 25, 2010.  I am one of the staff lawyers in our office. 

While your HIV status will be disclosed as part of your application for a student visa, and while Immigration Canada will want to know what your financial plan is regarding obtaining antiretroviral drugs while you are a student here, your HIV status should not prevent you from being granted a student visa, at least if you intend to study in the Province of Ontario, the province where our office is and where we are familiar with the law. 

The reason is that the prohibition on HIV and immigration to Canada is related to what is called “excessive demand” inadmissibility.  A visa applicant may be refused if that person is likely to cause an above-average public health care expenditure for the province of destination.  “Above-average” is currently set at approximately $5,200 per year.  That means if the cost to the health care system of your province is likely to be above $5,200 per year, you are not eligible to be granted status.  The cost of HAART in Canada , is upwards of $12,000 per year.  So if the government is going to be paying for your HAART, you would be inadmissible. 

 However, in the Province of Ontario , individuals on student visas are ineligible for Ontario Health Insurance Plan (“OHIP”) coverage.  Because you would not be eligible for OHIP, there could not be any public health cost for your care.  This is why you should have no problem applying for your visa, as long as you can show that you have some kind of plan to cover the cost of your medications while you are in Canada .   

 
Please note that at the completion of your studies in Canada , you may be eligible for a work permit (there is a popular program called the Post-Graduate Work Program) or for permanent residence in one of the categories for skilled and educated workers.  Because you would become eligible for Ontario health care benefits if you were on a post-graduate work permit, or were a permanent resident, your HIV status would cause problems with these applications.  Unless you had private health insurance in place at that time (for example, many employers offer group private health insurance plans which cover the cost of prescription medications including HAART), you would likely be refused if you were applying for a work permit, or in one of the skills-based permanent residence categories.  The only category of permanent residence application that is exempted from the idea of “excessive demand” inadmissibility (besides refugees) is if you were being sponsored for permanent residence by your spouse who was a Canadian citizen or already a permanent resident of Canada .

 
I know this is quite a bit of information.  If you have any questions, please feel free to ask. 

 
Staff Lawyer
HIV & AIDS Legal Clinic ( Ontario )
400 - 65 Wellesley Street East
Toronto , ON M4Y 1G7

Jan 2009 - Sero Negative
Jan 2010 - Sero Positive
               CD4 - 275, VL - 18,000
Oct 2010 - CD4 - 241, Started - Vonavir; Oct 2011 - CD4 - 474;Jan 2012 - CD4-620; Aug 2012-CD4-600, VL- UD; Jan 2013 CD4-493, VL-72 IU/ml   (Blip)

Offline komnaes

  • Member
  • Posts: 1,893
Re: Canadian Student Visa for HIV+ve
« Reply #5 on: March 03, 2011, 04:26:52 AM »
Hi Hope,

That's also good info for me too. I used to live in Toronto (I did my postgrad in U of T actually) and as far as I remember they used to provide full health coverage to all legal residents, including studnets. I could be wrong, and it's been many years (like 17!). So I am not entirely sure.

So it's in line with general advises, except the reason why they're optimistic is because even when accepted the State of Ontario won't be paying for your HIV meds anyway, so they're not being count as "cost". The Legal Clinic also sounds very helpful. If I were you I would ask them to provide more info on recent successful cases and how those students put together their applications, or if they've any referrals for qualified lawyers with track records.

Not sure if you have any longterm plan to stay in Canada after your study, but I guess this is something you should not need to worry about some years later. Maybe by then you'd find a life partner there too! Who knows.


Good luck my friend, Shaun
Aug 07 Diagnosed
Oct 07 CD4=446(19%) Feb 08 CD4=421(19%)
Jun 08 CD4=325(22%) Jul 08 CD4=301(18%)
Sep 08 CD4=257/VL=75,000 Oct 08 CD4=347(16%)
Dec 08 CD4=270(16%)
Jan 09 CD4=246(13%)/VL=10,000
Feb 09 CD4=233(15%)/VL=13,000
Started meds Sustiva/Epzicom
May 09 CD4=333(24%)/VL=650
Aug 09 CD4=346(24%)/VL=UD
Nov 09 CD4=437(26%)/VL=UD
Feb 10 CD4=471(31%)/VL=UD
June 10 CD4=517 (28%)/VL=UD
Sept 10 CD4=687 (31%)/VL=UD
Jan 11 CD4=557 (30%)/VL=UD
April 11 CD4=569 (32%)/VL=UD
Switched to Epizcom, Reyataz and Norvir
(Interrupted for 2 months with only Epizcom & Reyataz)
July 11 CD=520 (28%)/VL=UD
Oct 11 CD=771 (31%)/VL=UD(<30)
April 12 CD=609 (28%)/VL=UD(<20)
Aug 12 CD=657 (29%)/VL=UD(<20)
Dec 12 CD=532 (31%)/VL=UD(<20)
May 13 CD=567 (31%)/VL=UD(<20)
Jan 14 CD=521 (21%)/VL=UD(<50)

Offline leftalone

  • Member
  • Posts: 9
Re: Canadian Student Visa for HIV+ve
« Reply #6 on: July 10, 2011, 03:06:22 PM »
Hi.. hope4 love.. i am juzz another victim of this deadly. virus.. had plan to do MBA from canada.. gace aal ielts gmat etc.. n i came to know i am positive.. not in a state to write much but i am from delhi may i know ur location? Did u find any alternative to go n study in canada?? Plz reply to this..
Cd4 612 , VL-106042 @19% as on 08/28/2012

 


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