Foreign Doctors may be removed from skilled visa lists!

The Department of Health has lobbied to have 41 Medical Occupations removed from the Skilled occupations List!

A formal submission has been made to remove all health occupations from the Skilled Occupations List (‘SOL’) which allows independent migration to Australia. Health professionals are on the SOL to address skill shortages in regional Australian communities, however the Department claims bringing skilled labour from overseas has failed to fix the problem.

The president of the Rural Doctors Association of Australia, Ewen McPhee, has argued that international medical graduates are not being trained with the specific skill set needed to live and work in the Australian bush. He argues that international graduates are forced out into rural communities where they are not prepared or supported for the work. As a result, they end up leaving those areas as soon as they are able to do so. This leaves rural communities with new doctors constantly moving in and then leaving again, without forming part of the community.

Zeke Bentley, migration lawyer with The Migration Place, finds these conclusions illogical:            “Most of the regional visas require the visa holder to reside in the region for two years…surely it is better to have skilled medical practitioners for two years, than none at all! You don’t solve a skills shortage by reducing the supply of skilled labour! Perhaps the current system can be tweaked however this lobbying just sounds like the medical profession is protecting the salaries of its members by reducing supply, irrespective of the impact on access to medical help in regional areas.”

Documents have been released that show the Department of Immigration agrees that dramatic changes need to be made to stop visas being given to doctors who have been trained overseas.

It has been long recognised that highly educated migrants bring significant benefit to their new country – not only because they import their skills (and the investment made in securing those skills) but also because qualified people generally come from wealthier backgrounds, and have greater motivation to work hard. Medical qualifications are amongst the hardest and most expensive skills to secure, so it beggars belief that we would make it harder for them to join our country, especially given the international shortage of health professionals.”

McPhee has argued that attracting students to the medical profession who are already inclined to live in regional areas would be a more effective way to target the problem.

Removing health professionals from the SOL would mean a drastic reduction in visas available to overseas workers in those occupations.

If you are a doctor or other medical professional and believe you are adapted for life in Australia, contact one of our skilled migration agents TODAY on 07 3229 4025 to secure your Australian visa. Get in NOW while your occupation is still on the SOL or you could miss out!