If you are from outside Australia and are interested in working in the country on a temporary basis, then you are a likely candidate for the subclass 457 Visa.
There are three key stages in employing a skilled worker under the subclass 457 visa program: the first involves the employer applying to be a sponsor, then secondly nominating a position and finally the employee applying for the 457 Visa.
Another essential part of applying for the Visa is making arrangements for a "minimum level" of health insurance before it can be granted.
This requirement came into effect from September 14 2009, with applicants needing to maintain insurance for themselves and their family (if they are joining on the same Visa) for the duration of their Australian stay.
A letter will need to be provided to the Department of Immigration and Citizenship (DIAC) from your health insurer to confirm that you have met the 457 Visa requirement.
A letter from your employer verifying that you are covered by an insurance policy that meets the 457 Visa requirements can also be presented as a form of evidence along with the details of your health fund and the policy.
The Private Health Insurance Ombudsman (PHIO) states that if your Visa was granted prior to when the requirement was passed in September 2009, your "sponsor remains responsible for the cost" of any treatment received in a public hospital.
Are there any exemptions?
The PHIO states that if you are covered by a reciprocal health care agreement and have enrolled in Medicare, you may be able to apply to the DIAC for an exemption from the 457 Visa health insurance requirements.
If you are applying for your 457 Visa from outside of Australia, you will still need to organise insurance to meet your Visa requirements as you cannot enrol in Medicare until you have arrived in the country.
"In general, access is limited to care for immediate necessary medical treatment provided in the Australian public health system," the PHIO explains.
"For peace of mind it is recommended you consider taking out comprehensive health insurance for the duration of your stay in Australia."
Choosing a health insurance plan
A number of Australian health insurers offer a range of products that comply with the Visa requirements, and these are often known as Overseas Visitors Health Cover (OVHC).
Your health consultant can assist you with a private health insurance comparison so that you have a plan that meets the 457 Visa requirements and also looks after your medical needs.