18 November 2017 sees the introduction of a new visa condition that will be attached to most temporary visas – Condition 8602. This Condition will require that the visa holder not have an ‘outstanding public health debt’. Additional amendments to the Migration Regulations 1994 will also assist to clarify what is meant by ‘adequate health insurance’ in cases where it is a requirement for the grant of the visa.
What are the additional amendments clarifying adequate health insurance?
These amendments will assist temporary visa holders by ensuring that they understand they are liable to pay the costs associated with their use of Australia’s health care system. Currently, if such costs are unpaid, the financial burden falls onto the public health care system. The issue regarding public health debts has been raised as a significant concern by the State and Territory health authorities.
If a visa holder with Condition 8602 has public health costs which are not paid, and the individual does not have a payment plan in place with the health care provider, these costs may fall under the definition of ‘outstanding public health debt’. These debts will be reported to the Department of Immigration and Border Protection (DIBP) by a health authority under an agreement between the two bodies. As with all visas, the breach of a condition is grounds for cancellation of the visa. However, the preferred option in such cases is for the debt to be repaid and where the decision is made to cancel the visa, this would be made on a case by case basis.
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