Health insurance and 457 visas

Date: Aug 21, 2012

457 visa holders are required to comply with a number of requirements set out by the Department of Immigration and Citizenship - and now public hospitals are weighing in on the insurance requirement.

Under Condition 8501 of a 457 visa granted after September 14 2009, visa holders are required to meet any health costs incurred by the primary applicant or their accompanying family members.

This means that anyone applying for a 457 visa who hails from a country that does not have a reciprocal arrangement in place with Australia's Medicare program is required to have adequate private health insurance.

A 457 private health insurance policy needs to comply with the minimum level of cover set out in the visa program, and proof of this cover - or the equivalent enrolment with Medicare under a reciprocal health care agreement - needs to be submitted at the time a visa application is made.

According to an August 20 article in The Australian, public hospitals are taking an increasingly tough stance on 457 visaholders who do not have adequate health insurance cover and seek out treatment in public facilities.

State governments are calling on the Commonwealth to take harsher action against 457 visa holders who fail to comply with Condition 8501. According to the Department of Immigration and Citizenship, those who do not apply with this condition could face the prospect of having their visa cancelled - or for any subsequent Australian visa to be granted in the future.

Departmental officers also routinely check in with insurance companies to ensure visa holders are maintaining the right level of cover, so it essential to ensure that you have the right policy in place for the duration of your time in Australia.

If you are unsure about how to fulfil the private health insurance requirement for a 457 visa, or have any other questions or concerns about the supporting evidence you may need to include in your application, speaking to an experienced immigration lawyer could be a wise course of action.

A migration lawyer can advise on the likely outcome of your visa application before you submit it to the Department of Immigration and Citizenship, and can also help you prepare your application and supporting documentation so you have the best possible chance of approval.