485 Visa applicants
On 23 March 2013, the Skilled Graduate (Subclass 485) visa was renamed the Temporary Graduate (Subclass 485) visa and amended to include new health insurance requirements for Subclass 485 visa applicants and their accompanying family members.
If you are applying for a 485 visa, the regulations require you to hold adequate arrangements for health insurance in Australia spanning from the time you lodge your application until the time a decision is made on the application, and to keep that insurance as long you hold a 485 visa. Obtaining insurance does not guarantee that your visa application will be approved.
What is an adequate level of health insurance?
Details on the minimum level of health insurance coverage that Subclass 485 visa holders must hold is available on a template letter on the Department of Home Affairs website. Check the 'Visa Applicants' tab and the Health Insurance heading at the Department of Home Affairs - information about the 485 Visa.
This letter describes the same level of health insurance cover that is required for the Temporary Work (Skilled) (Subclass 457) visa. Subclass 485 visa applicants can be granted the same level of cover as Subclass 457 visa applicants.
Once you have purchased a 485-compliant policy, your health insurance provider will issue you with a letter confirming you have a health insurance policy that meets 485 visa requirements. You must submit evidence of your health insurance to Home Affairs at the time you lodge your visa application.
If you are applying for a 485 visa from outside Australia, you must provide evidence that you have arranged a health insurance policy at the time you lodge your application and at the time Immigration makes a decision on the application. The insurance policy may be one that is considered active, but only commences when you enter Australia.
More information on the Subclass 485 visa health insurance requirements is available at the Department of Home Affairs - Visa 485.
Student Visa Holders
If you hold a valid Student visa at the time you apply for the Subclass 485 visa, you will already be covered under an Overseas Student Health Cover (OSHC) as a condition of your Student visa requirement. Your existing OSHC is considered acceptable health insurance at the time you lodge your 485 visa application and you should submit evidence of this with your visa application.
You will still need to take out a 485-compliant health insurance cover at some stage during the visa processing period in order for your 485 visa application to be finalised. Immigration will contact you to request evidence that you have taken out a policy that complies with 485 requirements prior to issues your 485 visa.
If your Student visa expires during the 485 visa processing period and you are issued with a bridging visa, for example, your OSHC policy will also expire. Prior to the expiry of your Student visa and OSHC policy, you must take out a new health insurance policy that complies with the minimum level of health insurance for 485 visa holders. Once your 485 visa application is granted you must maintain a complying level of health insurance for the full term of your stay in Australia authorised by this visa.
Finding and selecting a plan
Australian health insurers offer a range of Overseas Visitor Covers that comply with 485 requirements. These policies are generally called Overseas Visitors Health Cover (OVHC). There is a range of OVHC products available so make sure you consider only those that are comprehensive enough to comply with the 485 visa requirements. Some international insurers also offer health policies that meet the 485 visa requirements.
The internet is a good way to locate insurance cover for visitors. We suggest you search for "Overseas Visitors Insurance" or "Overseas Visitors Health Cover" in a search engine and compare policies from at least three providers. See the Tips on health insurance for Visitors for further information about what to consider when purchasing and maintaining your cover.
If your visa status or Medicare eligibility changes at any time, inform your insurer as soon as possible to find out whether your level of cover is still suitable.