Maintaining Your Health When Working Overseas

By Justin Grossbard

healthywordsWorldwide migration has never been higher with many professionals choosing to move overseas to work to further their career or increase their take home pay. Before you make the move it’s critical to consider your health and making sure you don’t suffer some of the pitfalls that so many expats experience.

1) Make Sure You Have Overseas Visitor Health Cover

Many working professionals don’t make plans for health cover when moving overseas and face real issues when they get sick or injured. The first element to investigate is if the country you are moving to has a reciprocal health agreement with the country you come from. If this is the case, you rarely automatically receive this entitlement. Instead you are first required to fill out paperwork and wait for approval. This should be the first thing you do when arriving at your destination.

It’s important to evaluate obtaining private health insurance even if you can receive benefits from a reciprocal health agreement. Private health insurance will often provide more comprehensive cover and give you options such as going to a private hospital if you get injured. In Australia, an added benefit of their visitor 457 visa health insurance it can reduce the individual’s tax. Some jobs may also include international health insurance so it’s important to check if you will receive this benefit first.

2) Ensure You Immediately Continue Your Existing Fitness Regime

seniorexerciseOften individuals will drop their regular fitness habits such as going to a gym each week when they move overseas at the cost of their health. It’s a good idea to join a gym online before you make the move or to join one immediately on arrival to ensure you keep your existing fitness rhythm.

In many countries gym membership can be partly covered by either the company you work for, health insurance or through tax incentives. Learning about these before your move can lead to significant savings. Remember, plan ahead to avoid falling into bad habits fast when you move.

3) Visit your local GP (or Travel Doctor) well before the move

It’s strongly recommended you visit your local GP several weeks before you move overseas for a general check-up. This can include elements such as mammogram, blood pressure, pap smear, cholesterol levels etc. Many professional visa holders are hesitant to see foreign GP’s so getting these elements ticked off, ensuring your health is 100%, is critical in your home country.

You’re GP or a specialist travel doctor may also provide you shots that are recommended in the country you are moving to. This may include yellow fever, tuberculosis through to hepatitis. You may also be due for your tetanus shot as well. Some of these shots are required to be administered well before you arrive at your destination so it’s critical to see your doctor early (not just the day before your move).

Overall, it’s critical to make sure you plan ahead before moving overseas to work. Making sure that you maintain your fitness levels and have health cover are key ingredients to ensure you make the most out of your exciting adventure.

- Justin Grossbard is an online marking professional & created the site www.457visacompared.com.au to help individuals moving to Australia to work find the information and services they need.

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