Health requirements for temporary residents

All sponsored visa holders (including subclass 419, 442 and 457 visa holders) are responsible for all health costs for themselves and any dependants for the duration of their stay in Australia (visa condition 8501).

As a temporary resident, you are generally not eligible for any medical treatment in Australia, including emergency medical treatment which would usually be covered under Medicare (the government funded national health program for Australian citizens).

As a result, you are required to take out the appropriate health insurance prior to lodging your visa application. The Department of Immigration and Border Protection will not issue a visa until you have provided evidence that you have taken out health insurance at the appropriate level.

The health insurance that you need to take out is different to private health insurance packages that Australians will generally access; it will be defined as either:

  • non-resident health cover; or
  • overseas visitor health cover.

This type of cover includes insurance for doctor’s consultations and emergency treatment in a public hospital. The insurance must be at least as comprehensive as the minimum level of cover required under condition 8501.

The Department of Immigration and Border Protection has provided a sample of the letter required to confirm health insurance has been taken out. View the link entitled "health insurance standard template letter" on the Department of Immigration and Border Protection website. You will need your insurer to provide you with a letter based on this template to attach to your visa application. Details of the minimum level of health cover required to meet condition 8501 can be found in Attachment A of the health insurance standard template letter.

Many Australian insurance companies have overseas health insurance products or you may choose to take out health insurance with an overseas health insurance company.

You may choose to change health insurance provider while in Australia, however, you must maintain adequate health insurance arrangements for the duration of your stay in Australia and not just your employment period.

You should be aware that the Department of Immigration and Border Protection will use information provided by insurance companies to monitor compliance with condition 8501. If you do not comply with a visa condition, your visa may be cancelled. You may also jeopardise any future visa application you may make.

Obtaining health insurance does not guarantee that your visa application will meet all the immigration health requirements. For more information, visit the Department of Immigration and Border Protection website.

If you pay for your insurance, and your visa application is refused, it is your responsibility to seek a refund of the amount paid from your insurer.

If you are a resident/citizen of a country that has entered into a “RHCA” with Australia

The Australian Government has entered Reciprocal Health Care Agreements (RHCA) with selected other governments to cover some medically necessary treatment for ill-health or injury incurred by migrants and visitors to Australia.

If you are a resident of the United Kingdom, Sweden, the Netherlands, Finland, Norway, Belgium, Slovenia, Malta, Italy, the Republic of Ireland or New Zealand and are able to provide the relevant supporting documentation, you may be eligible for health cover under the RHCA that Australia has with your home country. If you fall within this group you may only be required to obtain health insurance for travel to Australia and a short temporary period in Australia until you arrange to receive your Medicare card (this is likely to be around 4-5 weeks).

Visit the Medicare website for a list of countries covered by RHCA and more information on what's included in RHCA. Please also review the list of medical and other costs which are not met by Medicare.

If your country of residence is covered by an RHCA and you are eligible for Medicare, you are still required to take out health insurance in order to cover your journey to Australia and until such time that you obtain a Medicare card. No minimum level of coverage is required. Australian health insurance or travel insurance will provide adequate coverage.

This insurance must be maintained until access to Medicare has been granted. Note that you will need to have an Australian address before you can apply for a Medicare card.

Medicare levy

The Medicare levy is withheld from all staff members’ salary payments on a fortnightly basis, regardless of your eligibility to Medicare benefits. If you are a staff member working at the University, and:

  • you are eligible to obtain a Medicare card, you will be required to meet the Medicare levy and may be subject to the Medicare levy surcharge.
  • you are not eligible for Medicare benefits, you are eligible to claim a refund of the Medicare levy in your annual personal income tax return. First, however, you must apply to Medicare Australia to obtain a Medicare Exemption Certificate to lodge with your personal income tax return.

The Medicare levy surcharge only applies to income earners who earn over the Medicare levy surcharge threshold and who choose not to have private hospital health insurance. Payment is required once you have completed your annual personal income tax return.

Find out more about the Medicare levy on the Australian Taxation Office website.