Tests required by New Zealand immigration

In addition to an examination by a Panel Physician, INZ requires the following routine test and investigations.

Chest X-ray

This is important to the N. Z. government, because of the rising incidence of tuberculosis (TB) in and the rising prevalence of drug-resistant TB worldwide. A TB infection can develop very slowly and without symptoms. All applicants aged 11 and over must have a chest X-ray.

What if the chest X-ray is abnormal

If you are Canadian, having lived in Canada all your life, the chances of having latent TB that would show on X-ray are very low. If you have immigrated to Canada from a part of the world where TB is prevalent, you have been exposed to TB without knowing it and developed full or partial immunity to it. This may have a left permanent scar or other residue in the lung that is visible on the X-ray. This residue can still reactivate after many years and cause disease, as well as infect other people. If your X-ray shows such a suspicious residue, you may be required to repeat the X-ray in 3 months and have sputum culture tests to rule out an active or evolving TB. If there is an active infection, you will be treated at no cost by the BC Centre for Disease Control. You will have to postpone yout travel plans until you are deemed non-infectious.

Complete Blood Count

Usually called CBC or Hematology Profile, it is required for all adults. It consists of 13 metrics describing the characteristics of the various types of bllod cells. It does not screen for any particular disease but, if very abnormal, may alert a doctor that some serious disorder may be present.

What if the CBC is abnormal

Serious abnormalities of the CBC are very rare in routine screening of healthy individuals. On the other hand, slight departures from the normal range on any of the 13 metrics are very common, as high as 10% of all tested. These can often be dismissed out of hand as they neither diagnose nor predict anything.

Blood test for serum creatinine

Serum creatinine (usually expressed as Glomerular Filtration Rate) is a very important and accurate test for detecting kidney disease. Since the treatment of advanced kidney disease is very expensive and long lasting, the New Zealand governement is concerned about its impact on their public finances. All adult applicants must have this test.

What if the serum creatinine test is abnormal

INZ will probably request a medical furtherance report from a nephrologist (kidney specialist). They will want to hear what the chances are that the person might require kidney dialysis or a transplantation during their stay in Australia.

Blood tests for HIV and Hepatitis B and C

Like all the blood tests on this page, these are required for all applicants 15 or over.

What if one of these tests is abnormal

It is very uncommon these days to be surprised by an unexpected positive result. Most Canadian residents who are HIV or Hepatitis positive are already on effective suppressive treatment. We have not yet seen a single applicant going to New Zealand who is a carrier of one of these infections, so we cannot predict what the response of the INZ might be. Most likely a Medical Furtherance would be requested.

Blood test for syphilis

As, with TB, the incidence of syphilis has been rising and our Public Health is very concerned about it. All immigration aplicants who are 15 or older must have this test.

What if the syphilis test is abnormal

Unfortunately, this test cannot easily distinguish an active infection from an infection that was already treated, even a long time ago. Most of our clients with a positive syphilis test were treated many years ago and are understandably annoyed and embarrassed that this keeps coming up every time they have this test. Usually, a repeat test in 2 weeks is recommended to clarify the situation. If the repeat test is unchanged, it suggests no active disease. In doubtful cases, Public Health recommends re-treatment. Treatment for syphilis is very quick, easy, safe, effective, and free. Treated syphilis will present no problem for INZ.

Blood test for Hemoglobin A1C

This is a test to detect diabetes and it is very accurate and meaningful.

What if your A1C is abnormal

If your A1c is over 7.0, you probably have diabetes and need treatment. If you are already on effective treatment and you don't have any serious complication from your diabetes, you will be unlikely to be barred from entering New Zealand.

Urine test

This checks for blood, protein and glucose in the urine. This test is still required, even though it's is falling out of favour as a screening test because of extremely high false positives. Nevertheless, everybody aged 5 or older must have it.

What if the urine test is abnormal

This is quite likely. More than 10% of our clients have minor abnormalities in the urine. Most of these are quite meaningless and can often be ignored. Still, if the protein content in the urine is very high, it may suggest kidney disease and, if glucose content is high, it suggests diabetes. There are some things you can do in preparation to avoid false positives in your urine test.
Dr. W. P. Ciszak Medical Services Inc.
777 Hornby Street, Suite 805
Vancouver, BC, V6Z 1S4, Canada