Healthcare providers have complained about struggling to keep hold of nurses.
16 April 2012
Healthcare providers call for Australia visa changes
Providers of healthcare in Australia have complained about the high rate of staff turnover needed under current Australia visa rules, as well as high requirements which exclude many from hiring overseas workers.
The number of nurses applying for an Australia visa has increased this year, with more nurses moving to Australia in the first eight months of the current financial year than the entire previous year.
However, the 457 visa which overseas workers are required to hold to work in Australia allows nurses to find a new employer once their original employer agrees to sponsor them for permanent residency.
Julie Christensen, a network coordinator for nursing staff in rural areas, says the current requirements do not offer an employer any guarantee and feels a minimum commitment of 12 months should be stipulated in the visa application process.
Meanwhile, Stephen Kobelke, CEO of Aged and Community Services in Western Australia, believes the current residency requirements are too high to include nurses, meaning many providers cannot access temporary workers from overseas.
The 457 visa currently requires foreign nationals to earn at least AU$50,000 (£33,000) and have qualifications beyond those of many nurses and carers.
"This is about getting these programmes right so our members have access to temporary migration schemes to bring people out while they need them," said Mr Kobelke.
The Australian Visa Bureau is an independent Australian immigration consultancy specialising in helping people lodge applications with the Australian Embassy.