The 457 visa has been replaced with the Temporary Skill Shortage (TSS) 482 Visa, overseas health cover is still required.
The Australian government replaced the 457 Skilled Temporary Work visa with a new TSS visa (Subclass 482) in March 2018. Visa holders will still need to have Overseas Visitors Health Cover (OVHC) during their stay in Australia.
Visitors health insurance for a 482 visa*Pricing is based on a single male planning to live and work in the State of New South Wales on a TSS visa who is not applying for permanent residency, is not from a country that Australia has a Reciprocal Health Care Agreement (RHCA) with and is not eligible for cover under Medicare. Prices are accurate for 2019 but are subject to change. Table displays health funds from Finder partners.
Who is eligible for this type of visa?
Anyone who possesses a skill that cannot be met by an Australian. In other words, this visa allows employers to bring in skilled workers from overseas when the role cannot be filled by an Australian.
This visa comes under the short-term stream classification which means that anyone on this visa can stay in the country up to 2 years (or 4, if an international trade obligation applies). You must be sponsored by an approved business but you can be in or outside Australia when you lodge your application.
What are the restrictions on this visa?
- This visa is valid for 1 to 2 years and can only be renewed whilst you are in Australia.
- You must have two years work experience in a related field and evidence to prove this.
- Applicants must show that they are Genuine Temporary Entrants – that means, you must show you have no intention of staying in Australia permanently.
How does 482 Visa health insurance work for families and couples?
This is a mandatory requirement for anyone on a 482 visa. That means if other members of your family are coming over on the same visa, everyone is required to have OVHC. Most insurers offer singles, couples and family policies so that you can all be covered under the same policy.
It’s really important that you make sure you get adequate health insurance on this visa, as without it, your visa won’t be approved; it’s part of the 8501 requirements.
What’s new with TSS (482 visa)?
A number of conditions have changed for the TSS Visa. Some of the eligibility criteria changes include:
- Labour market testing (LMT) is mandatory with no exceptions
- Employers must pay the minimum market salary rate
- Police checks are mandatory
- A non-discriminatory workforce test has been introduced
- Applicants must have at least two years of relevant work experience
- The overall list of eligible occupations has been reduced by 216
- Employers in regional Australia will have access to a wider range of occupations
- Higher standards of English proficiency are required
- There is a maximum age limit of 45 at the time of application
- Visa application charges will increase for both short and medium term streams
- Companies will be required to pay an annual foreign worker levy to fund homegrown training and recruitment
What is the 482 visa health requirement?
Overseas Visitors Health Cover is health insurance designed for those who come to work in Australia on a temporary basis. Its aim is to ensure they have access to adequate health cover while they are here, as they are not eligible for Medicare.
Without the protection of OVHC, they would be unable to access hospital or medical treatment without being liable for huge out of pocket costs.
In order to comply with the TSS 482 visa (previously the 457 visa), OVHC must be at least equivalent to public hospital cover and include cover for theatre, intensive care, labour ward, ward drugs and emergency department costs. It must also cover day surgery accommodation and treatment, some surgically implanted prosthetics, ambulance transport, PBS listed medications and MBS listed medical services.
The OVHC must not only cover the TSS visa holder, but any members of their family who accompany them to Australia and cover must remain in place for the duration of their stay.
What doesn’t OVHC cover?
As with most private health insurance, there are certain service and treatment exclusions that OVHC will not cover, including:
- Treatment arranged prior to arrival in Australia
- Treatment covered by compensation schemes
- Treatment not covered by Medicare
How can I apply for OVHC?
A good way to find a health fund that provides OVHC insurance is to search online or visit a comparison site such as finder.com.au. You should compare the benefits offered by at least three different policies to ensure you are getting the best deal and read the product disclosure statement (PDS) carefully to make sure you fully understand the terms and conditions.
You must purchase OVHC before you can receive your TSS visa. Once you have found suitable cover, you will need to provide the Department of Immigration and Border Protection (DIBP) with a letter from your chosen health fund or your employer in Australia confirming that you have met this requirement. They can provide this for you as soon as you sign up.
Are there any waiting periods?
Some waiting periods will apply to your OVHC cover. These are periods of time you must serve before benefits will be payable on your policy and they normally include:
- 2 months. Psychiatric, rehabilitation and palliative care
- 12 months. Pregnancy-related conditions
- 12 months. Pre-existing conditions.
A pre-existing condition is any condition that you had symptoms of in the 6 months prior to your arrival in Australia or prior to your visa being granted (whichever occurred later).
Can i get Medicare on a TSS Visa?
For a 482 Visa, Visitors from countries which have a Reciprocal Health Care Agreement (RHCA) with Australia are exempt from the need for OVHC because they are eligible to receive subsidised health care treatment. This is called Medicare.
Australia has agreements in place with the following countries:
If you are visiting from any of these countries on a TSS visa, you should enrol for Medicare when you arrive in Australia.
However, RHCAs do not cover ambulance transportation, dental care, elective surgery, medical evacuation, private patient treatment in a private or public hospital or any treatment that is not immediately necessary. So visitors from RHCA countries might be wise to consider taking out OVHC as well.
How to compare OVHC policies
When comparing OVHC policies from various insurance providers, it pays to keep the following in mind:
- Read the PDS carefully to understand what is and isn’t covered and the level of benefits provided.
- Buy the highest level of cover you can afford to reduce the amount of out-of-pocket expenses you would have to pay for medical treatment (the gap between the treatment fee and what is covered by your insurer).
- Consider including Extras cover so you have cover for ancillary benefits such as dental, optical, chiropractic and physiotherapy if you need them during your stay in Australia.
- Make sure the cover being offered is fully compliant with TSS visa requirements.