Australian visa applicants urged to have medical insurance

Australian visa applicants urged to have medical insurance

Australian visa applicants urged to have medical insurance

The VP of the Australian Medical Association's Victoria branch, Stephen Parnis, has urged health insurance to become a compulsory requirement for all visa applicants from Australia. Dr. Parnis' remarks arrive after a report put out by the Australian Medical Association indicated that the amount of Australian migrants being treated at Victorian state hospitals had increased three-fold in the six years until 2010-11.

The statistics reveal that the public hospitals treated over 30,000 non-Australians during the 2010/11 fiscal year. Under current regulations, health insurance is compulsory for skilled work visa and student visa applicants, along with families who relocate to Australia with 457 subclass visas.

However, it is not currently mandatory for Australian tourist visas. Consequently, Dr Parnis is concerned that tourists may travel to Australia with the intention of undergoing elective surgical procedures and exit without paying any bills.

Dr. Parnis explains that if visitors can afford a holiday in Australia, then action should be taken to make sure they do not violate the privileges of their Australian visas. He said if people demonstrate the means to enter Australia for an international holiday, they should also have the means to pay for their own healthcare.

In fact, under the Reciprocal Health Care Agreements, which Australia signed with several nations including New Zealand, the UK, Italy and Ireland, citizens of these nations are authorised to use Australia's healthcare in the same fashion as permanent residents. But the most common nationalities of all the non-Australian patients at Victorian hospitals were Chinese, Malaysian, Indian and Indonesian.

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