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    New Zealand has become an increasingly popular destination for skilled professionals. As of 20 May 2024, Immigration New Zealand (INZ) had approved 120,065 AEWV applications, and there are 35,591 accredited employers. The long-term employer-accredited visa (AEWV) allows approved employers to hire skilled workers on visas for two to five years and provides a pathway to permanent residency in NZ.

    Working overseas offers opportunities for career advancement, adventure and a better quality of life. However, it also comes with challenges, which is why we strongly recommend long-term visa holders consider taking out personal insurance, including life, trauma, and medical insurance, to safeguard against the unexpected while in Aotearoa New Zealand.

    Healthcare access for visitors and work visa holders

    Visitors to New Zealand will always be given health treatment if needed, regardless of whether they are on a work or holiday visa. If someone needs care due to an accident, the Accident Compensation Corporation (ACC) scheme will cover the costs. If treatment is needed due to illness, visitors will be asked to pay the costs they incur, except for residents of the UK and Australia, who benefit from reciprocal government arrangements.

    Treatment when it is needed most

    International workers with visas valid for two years or more are entitled to the same publicly funded medical treatment as Kiwis when they fall ill: care at low or no cost. But and this is a very big but, years of government underfunding has left the public healthcare system struggling, with long waiting times for non-urgent procedures.

    According to a recent report on Radio New Zealand, a Canterbury man was told “the waiting time for your surgery is currently much longer than expected, and longer than you may have been indicated.” He went on to explain that the hospital had told him he would have to wait a year for the surgery he needed. “In 2022 the wait time was 65 days. Now it is 365 days”.

    Ever longer queues for healthcare

    These long waiting times are why many New Zealanders and eligible migrants choose to get private health insurance. It avoids the queues and provides timely medical care when it’s needed most. In fact, over 1.42 million New Zealanders hold private health cover. We believe that if you’re coming to New Zealand to work, you should be covered.

    Without insurance, an unexpected illness or injury can mean significant out-of-pocket expenses and extended time off work for visa holders. As one client told us, “Having medical insurance meant I could get my surgery done quickly, instead of waiting months in the public system. It made a world of difference in my recovery and meant getting back to work so much sooner”.

    Travel insurance versus health insurance

    Granted, many working visa holders arrive in New Zealand with travel insurance. Yes, this will provide some level of medical coverage. However, travel insurance may not offer the comprehensive coverage needed for longer stays and it can be more expensive. At Global Finance, we can put together medical insurance policies tailored for long-term visa holders with more extensive benefits at a lower cost, making them a more practical choice.

    Financial protection for families

    The financial impact of a severe illness or death can be devastating, potentially even more so for migrant families relying on a single income.

    Life insurance offers a lump-sum payment to beneficiaries in the event of the policyholder’s death. Trauma insurance provides a payout if the policyholder is diagnosed with a specified serious illness, helping cover medical costs, rehabilitation, and everyday living expenses. “Our trauma insurance payout allowed us to focus on his recovery without worrying about bills piling up,” said one policyholder.

    Coverage for funeral and repatriation costs

    In the tragic case of a visa holder’s death, life insurance can also cover funeral expenses and the costs associated with repatriating the body to the home country, which can be significant.

    Donation pages on social media

    Sadly, most of us can attest to having seen or heard of fundraising campaigns on social media platforms such as Facebook and Give-a-Little to support migrant families in similarly terrible situations. The plights of these families only highlight the need for comprehensive life and trauma insurance further. The cover can provide a financial safety net so there is no need to rely on charity during what are already incredibly difficult times.

    Benefits for visa sponsors

    Providing or facilitating good insurance coverage for migrant workers is not only beneficial for the workers themselves but also for employers. Visa sponsors have a vested interest in ensuring the well-being and productivity of their migrant employees. Ensuring they have adequate personal insurance offers peace of mind. Employers can be comfortable in the knowledge that their migrant team can access prompt, efficient medical treatment and a faster recovery reduces the time workers are absent.

    New Zealand’s immigration policies, particularly the AEWV program, are designed to protect migrant workers from exploitation and ensure their well-being. Providing information and supporting migrant workers to obtain personal insurance and helping them access the benefits they are entitled to can significantly improve employee satisfaction and build loyalty.

    It can also boost the employer’s reputation as a responsible and caring organisation. “We encourage all our international employees to get medical and life insurance. It’s part of our commitment to their well-being and helps us maintain a stable and motivated workforce,” said an HR manager I spoke with. And the team at Global Finance can help with putting policies together and ongoing multilingual support.

    Personal insurance – a definite consideration for long-term visa holders in New Zealand

    For visa holders, medical, life, and trauma insurance provide critical financial protection and support for their families as well as timely access to medical treatment. For employers, supporting their employees with personal insurance fosters a healthier, more secure workforce.

    Insurance brokers: your best option for personal insurance cover

    Insurance brokers provide expertise, tailored advice, and assistance. We act in your best interest and can negotiate policy premiums, often securing better rates than direct insurers.
    Our insurance brokers have specialised knowledge. We understand the market and can guide you toward the most suitable options. If you have specific concerns or health-related queries, we can help to get comprehensive coverage at the best price.

    We will take the time to understand your situation and recommend policies that best suit your circumstances We will also manage claims and act as your advocate, reducing hassle and worry. We will handle the paperwork and communication with insurers.

    Dealing with an insurance broker comes at no direct cost to you. So, schedule a call with one of our insurance advisers to learn more about how we can make life and health insurance work for you.

    Personal insurance coverage means AEWV visa holders can approach the uncertainties of life in a new country with greater confidence and security. Call us on 09 255 5500 or email us at info@globalfinance.co.nz.

    The information and articles published are true to the best of the Global Finance Services Ltd knowledge. Since the information provided in this blog is of general nature and is not intended to be personalized financial advice. We encourage you to seek Financial advice which is personalized depending on your needs, goals, and circumstances before making any financial decision. No person or persons who rely directly or indirectly upon information contained in this article may hold Global Financial Services Ltd or its employees liable.