The importance of international students in Australia is pretty high as it contributes approx. $40 billion to the country’s economy and many of them go on to become responsible citizens of the country.
The current COVID-19 situation has thrown up significant challenges for every sector, including education (offshore and onshore). Many students who already have a student visa couldn’t travel and are waiting for the borders to re-open. Students who are already in Australia may also face some financial struggle due to the current pandemic.
In the previous blog, we have already discussed the COVID-19 insurance coverage for the students who are already here in Australia. Overseas Student Health Cover (OSHC) starts from the day you land in Australia.
But what about the students who couldn’t move to Australia due to the closure of international borders? This article aims to resolve some queries related to the health cover for students who are in their home country. But before that, let’s look at some rule changes to ensure the students are not worse-off during this situation.
What measures are taken for international students?
- When borders will re-open, students who already have visas will be able to make plans to fly as the government recommenced issuing of student visas.
- If any student is unable to complete their studies due to COVID-19, they can lodge another student visa application free of cost.
- Student visa holders outside Australia who are studying online due to the current situation can apply for a post-study work visa. They will be able to fulfil the Australian study requirement.
- Graduates with a student visa would be permitted to apply from outside Australia for a post-study work visa if they are unable to return because of COVID-19.
The government had permitted international students to work more than 40 hours per fortnight for a limited period at major supermarkets, Aged Care facilities and hospitals due to the situation. Although, from 1 May, the relaxation was lifted.
Students who are outside Australia at this moment have some common concerns about their OSHC Australia.
We have summed up these frequent queries below:
- Why do I need an OSHC if I am not in Australia? Can I cancel my policy?
- Can I get a refund if I am not using the policy?
- Can I cancel my OSHC policy if I am not coming to Australia?
- If I contract COVID-19 Overseas, will it be considered a pre-existing condition?
Why do I need an OSHC if I am not in Australia?
It is a mandatory requirement for the overseas students to have an OSHC at the time of applying for a student visa under 8501 conditions. There are some exemptions for the students who belong to the Reciprocal Health Care Agreement with Australia.
The OSHC documents will be required at the time of applying for your visa. Even if you are not in Australia, you need an OSHC, because if you have a visa, you can travel as soon as the borders re-open. However, your cover only commences from the day you arrive in the country.
Can I cancel my policy?
You must keep an overseas student health cover for those on a valid student visa to satisfy the student visa requirements. If your visa has been revoked or refused at the time of application, you can cancel your policy and the insurer’s standard termination and refund rules will apply. Supporting proof would be needed, such as a notice of visa refusal or cancellation.
You cannot cancel your policy if you are studying online from overseas unless you have already cancelled your visa and will no longer return to Australia.
Can I get a refund if I am not using it?
Suppose, you have an OSHC Nib, and you have not been able to travel because of the border closure. However, you will still come to Australia at some point. In that case, you can change the policy dates.
You will be required to send confirmation of enrolment to confirm the new dates or, once you arrive, provide your flight information so that they can modify your policy dates accordingly.
All insurance providers are happy to accommodate change of date requests and re-issue OSHC as per the new travel dates and revised course duration, once the border restrictions are lifted.
Can I cancel my OSHC policy if I am not coming to Australia?
If you are no longer coming to Australia, you can cancel the OSHC policy.
If I contract COVID-19 Overseas, will it be considered a pre-existing condition?
Most of the insurance providers, such as BUPA, are providing services without evaluation of whether the presenting condition is pre-existing. It is applicable for out-patient medical facilities such as GP visits and examinations (e.g. pathology). But, in case you need to get admitted to a hospital or require repatriation, a standard pre-existing assessment may apply. The insurer will individually evaluate each case. It would be best if you contact your insurance provider to know more detailed information.
You can also get in touch with GetMyPolicy customer support executive if you need any assistance in purchasing your OSHC or visit www.getmypolicy.online.