Subclass 491 and 494 visa holders eligible for Medicare

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Australia launched two new regional visas on 16 November. These visas replaced the Skilled Regional (Provisional) visa (subclass 489) and the Direct Entry stream of the subclass 187 visa.

Unlike their predecessors, the new visas offer Medicare for visa holders. This is a game changer, as thousands of subclass 489 and 187 holders can testify.

Skilled migrants on new visas will save thousands of dollars every year on medical expenses

Existing subclass 489 and 187 visa holders are not entitled to Medicare, Australia’s publicly funded universal healthcare system, under Australia’s Health Insurance Act. As a result, these visa holders have had to spend a significant portion of their monthly income on health insurance premiums.

This is not going to be the case for the new subclass 491 and 494 visa holders, who previously would’ve held the subclass 489 or 187 visa. Australia has decided that subclass 491 and 494 visas are eligible for Medicare! This means that these visa holders can visit the doctor or go to the hospital and have all or most of their expenses covered by Medicare.

Australia wants to attract workers to regional Australia

The Australian government has been working hard over the past year or so to attract overseas workers to regional Australia. Unfortunately most overseas workers prefer the bright lights of the big cities, which means that regional areas have many skills gaps.

The move to make Medicare available to the new regional visas was thus most likely an effort to make working in Australia’s regional areas more appealing.

What does Medicare cover?

Medicare helps to cover the costs for part or all of the following medical services:

Seeing a GP or specialist.

  • Tests and scans, like x-rays.
  • Most surgery and procedures performed by doctors.
  • Eye tests by optometrists.

Medicare doesn’t cover:

  • Ambulance services.
  • Most dental services.
  • Glasses, contact lenses and hearing aids.
  • Cosmetic surgery.

You can get full details of what’s covered by Medicare on the website of Australia’s Department of Human Services.

Interested in a regional visa?

To find out if you’re eligible for one of the new regional visas, please book a consultation call. Our licensed advisor will assess your eligibility and then discuss your visa options with you.

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