13 September 2007

Health worker shortages in South Australia: reliant on Australian immigration

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South Australia is reliant on overseas-trained doctors with Australian visas, the health minister said at a gathering of health and workforce planning experts in Adelaide this week.

Health minister John Hill said that, as with the rest of Australia, there is a shortage of doctors and nurses. It is estimated that 40 per cent of the current workforce is due to retire in the next 15 years.

"We've got an ageing workforce, fewer people around to provide the skills that we need. There'll be a lot more competition for the people who have the skills as the mining boom expands there'll be a lot of pressure for people to take those kinds of jobs," he said.

Adelaide Now reports that around 25 per cent of South Australia's doctors are working on Australian visas, and the number of overseas-trained doctor registrations is increasing. Overall, registrations of foreign doctors, including renewals, jumped from 609 in 2005-06 to 800 in 2006-07. There were 371 new registrations for international medical graduates in 2006, up from 329 in 2005 and 318 in 2004.

Australia needs health workers: Anyone applying for an Australian visa should begin by completing the Australia Visa Bureau's online Australian visa application to see if they meet the Australian visa requirements.

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