08 October 2007
Healthcare staff with Australian visas needed to 'fill the vacuum'
A recent study by Monash University in Melbourne revealed that the shortage of doctors in Australia is reaching crisis point. State health departments are desperate to recruit overseas-trained medical staff, fast-tracking many Australian visa applications for qualified doctors and nurses. The opportunities for Britons wishing to build a new life through Australian immigration are extensive.
Australia's government in the late 1980s and early 1990s slowed student intake at university medical schools. But now the country's growing population and the consequent increased demand on the health system has resulted in a serious shortage of senior doctors in public hospitals.
A report last month by federal parliament's joint standing committee on migration inquiring into the use of temporary business visas raised serious concerns about the level of skills screening for the 2500 overseas-trained doctors who enter Australia each year, many fast-tracked by state health departments.
The country's public hospital system is simultaneously suffering a serious shortage of nurses as Australian graduate nurses prefer to take administrative roles rather than patient care jobs. They are relying on foreign nurses to fill the vacuum.
In many cases this has shifted the traditional hands-on care role to overseas-trained nurses.
In this area the Prime Minister has sought to restore some balance into the system by offering financial incentives for hospital-based training for nurses.
Australia needs healthcare workers: Anyone applying for an Australian visa should begin by completing the Australian Visa Bureau's online Australian visa application to see if they meet the Australian visa requirements.