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Medicare and HECs: New government benefits and rebates for these workers in Australia

More workers in Australia will now be able to access government benefits.

More people are set to get government benefits in Australia after a visa change.

Medicare and student loans will now be accessible to Pacific Islanders working in Australia, along with their families.

Legislation that passed the upper house on Tuesday will also give them access to the Family Tax Benefits and the Child Care Subsidy.

A Medicare and Centrelink ( Social security payments) office sign is seen at Ryde, Syndey on March 12, 2020 in Sydney, Australia. Government will inject a multi-billion dollar coronavirus stimulus package into the economy, with funding for small businesses, pensioners and the aged care sector among its largest elements. The stimulus package is crucial to supporting Australians, the business community and the economy in this time of crisis. (Photo by Izhar Khan/NurPhoto via Getty Images)
Medicare will be accessible to Pacific Island workers under a new visa agreement. (Source: Getty) (NurPhoto via Getty Images)

Find out more about recent bulk-billing changes to Medicare from our explainer here. Or the Child Care Subsidy here.

New residents can get access to social security like JobSeeker, but are subject to a waiting period of four years, according to Services Australia. Same for the Family Tax Benefit, however it is shorter at two years.


The government said the legislation change would help fill workforce gaps and strengthen ties with our geographical neighbours.

The Pacific Engagement Visa will allow up to 3,000 people from the Pacific and Timor-Leste to migrate to Australia as permanent residents each year in a ballot system like the United States Green Card Lottery. It will cost about $25 to enter the ballot.

A pilot program of the Pacific Australia Labour Mobility scheme will allow long-term workers to bring their families with them from next year.

"The measures will not only benefit individuals, families and employers, but also the broader region by providing economic and skills dividends," Pacific Minister Pat Conroy said.

Those holding a Pacific Engagement Visa won’t be automatically given Australian citizenship and will be treated the same as permanent-resident visa holders. They will be eligible to apply for citizenship after living in Australia for a continuous four-year period.

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