Widening the net or streamlining the process? Migrant health screening and securitisation in Australia and beyond

This article, by AHRCentre project director Jed Horner, critically examines the rise of forms of biometric health screening in relation to migrant bodies in Australia and beyond. It argues that whilst we should be cognisant of the opportunities presented by expedited health screening practices, we should also attend to the potential risks presented by the adoption of these practices. This includes concerns about stigma and privacy in an era of securitisation and information sharing across national borders.

Jed argues that as nation-states expand existing migrant health screening practices, and expend significant amounts of money doing so, it is critical that we attend to these concerns, which go to the heart of confidentiality, stigma and, in some contexts, safety. The questions of confidentiality, particularly in the context of stigmatised conditions and diseases, such as HIV and TB, remain salient and need to be urgently attended to as these processes of securitisation, in the guise of health screening, accelerate, rather than relegated to the sidelines of discussion and consideration. This requires an open assessment by nation-states as to whether effective bans on the permanent migration of HIV positive people, which give rise to specific forms of screening in the first place, are appropriate in the context of treatment revolutions in many high-income countries and drives towards de-stigmatisation and inclusion.

Download the full text from Taylor & Francis Online here.




Adapted photo credit: Mightymightymatze Under Creative Commons.