29 December 2006

Australia's drive for doctors and nurses a success

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A boom in doctors and nurses migrating to Australia during 2006 has seen over 5,000 medical professionals added to the Australian healthcare system.

Australia works hard to attract medical practitioners to the country, facing severe shortages in many areas and losing thousands of local specialists who take up opportunities overseas every year, and the Government is delighted so many are choosing Australia.

Australia's skilled migration programme is geared towards attracting highly qualified medical professionals with a range of temporary and permanent work visas available.

‘We are very fortunate that such a large number of doctors, nurses and medical specialists chose to relocate to Australia this year and fill the skills shortages that exist in many regional and metropolitan areas,’ Minister for Immigration and Multicultural Affairs Amanda Vanstone said.

‘Many of these people will be working at our hospitals during the busy Christmas period and they, along with all the medical professionals who devote their time and energy at this festive time of year, are deserving of our gratitude.

‘Each year, Australia loses hundreds of medical specialists to opportunities overseas, so it is encouraging that our visa arrangements are simple and transparent enough to attract medical specialists from their homeland to live and work here.’

Overseas-trained doctors and nurses have been able to find employment in Australia for up to four years through the Australian Government’s 457 temporary skilled (long-term) visa programme.

In calendar year 2006 about 2200 general medical practitioners and trainee medical practitioners were employed under the 457 programme at various locations in Australia.

A further 850 doctors were employed through the Australian Government’s 422 medical practitioner visa programme.

During the same period, more than 2500 overseas nurses began work in Australia, along with about 500 medical specialists, including paediatricians, radiologists, surgeons and psychiatrists.

‘These specialists are spread across all states and territories, in private and public practices, helping to fill a huge demand in the health sector for skilled professionals,’ Senator Vanstone said.

‘It’s not just the public that is benefiting from the work of these health professionals, as many of them pass on their skills and experience to locally-trained doctors and nurses.’

Medical professionals interested in working in Australia have a number of options available to them, more information is available on our skilled migration pages.

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