Lobbying helps 410 visa holders

Stock image.
Stock image.

Ridgewood resident Ray Thompson said the Association of Independent Retirees (AIR) had successfully lobbied for many improvements on conditions for 410 visa holders since about 2002.

‘Since the start of our advocacy, there has been a significant number of improvements,’ he said.

‘Based on a lot of pressure from AIR, it went from two-year renewal to four-year renewal then it got changed to 10-year renewal.’

Mr Thompson said the visa holders, who have to prove they are financially self-sufficient, were now entitled to Seniors Cards and they were allowed to work.

Originally, the Australian Tax Office would tax 410 visa holders on everything they earned, and those from the UK would also be paying tax here, but Mr Thompson said that had changed.

‘They only pay tax here on their Australian earnings,’ he said.

After the Times reported a Yanchep resident could not get travel insurance because she was not a permanent resident, Mr Thompson said there were two companies ” Aussie Travel Cover and CHI Travel Insurance ” that did provide cover specifically for 410 visa holders.

‘The question of travel insurance, that actually was a fact ” travel insurance brochures in most cases they say that you need to be a permanent resident of Australia,’ he said.

Mr Thompson said he and colleagues made an agreement with the insurers and set up a company in Perth called 410 Travel Insurance to help people get that cover.

‘If you live in Australia and are coming back to Australia, then they are accepted ” travel insurance is available,’ he said.

Mr Thompson said he now had permanent residency through a contributory parent visa, and Mike Goodall was leading AIR Perth North’s ongoing 410 visa lobbying efforts.

The two outstanding issues were the requirement for visa holders to have private health cover, which could cost about $5000 a year, and getting a pathway to permanent residency for people who had lived in Australia for at least a decade.

‘Private health insurance was always a problem ” they had to take out visitors’ insurance,’ Mr Thompson said. ‘If you were here before sometime in 1999, you could get a reciprocal Medicare card, then you didn’t have to get private health insurance.

‘This was something that wasn’t well known to people.’

Although it was never legislated, Mr Thompson said some earlier application forms sent to Australian embassies and consulates overseas had fine print on the bottom saying after 10 years in Australia, applicants could apply for permanent residency.