Medical Training Review Panel: fourteenth report

Department of Immigration and Citizenship Entry Processes

Page last updated: 11 March 2011

There are a number of specific visa classes and processes through which an overseas person can apply to work in Australia. Temporary visas range in duration from one day up to four years.

Until 30 June 2010, there were three subclasses of visas under which most medical practitioners entered Australia, 457, 422 and 442.

Temporary Business – Long Stay (Subclass 457) Visa

The Business – Long Stay (Subclass 457) visa is the most commonly used program for employers to sponsor overseas workers to work on a temporary basis in Australia.

Recipients may remain in Australia for up to four years and can bring eligible family members with them. They can work full time, but only for their sponsor or, in some circumstances, an associated entity of the sponsor. Doctors are able to work for multiple and/or unrelated entities, but their sponsor retains obligations in relation to them.

Applicants must comply with the following conditions:

  • be sponsored by an approved employer;
  • have skills, qualifications, experience and an employment background that match those required for the position;
  • have a job with their approved sponsor;
  • meet the English language requirement unless eligible for a waiver;
  • be eligible to hold a licence or registration for the position (if required); and
  • be paid the rate of guaranteed salary specified in the relevant nomination, based on the market salary rate for the position.

Further information is available at:
http://www.immi.gov.au/skilled/medical-practitioners/temporary-visas.htm

The Medical Practitioner – Temporary (Subclass 422) Visa

The Medical Practitioner – Temporary (Subclass 422) visa is only open to medical practitioners and permits them to work in Australia for a sponsoring employer for a period of three months to four years. From 1 July 2010 this subclass of visas ceased to be available for new primary visa applications. Medical practitioners are now encouraged to choose the Business – Long Stay (Subclass 457) visa in preference to choosing to apply to enter the country under this visa.

Applicants can work in Australia for the employer who sponsored them, as an independent contractor or for multiple unrelated employers. There are special arrangements available if applicants want to work in rural or regional Australia.

Applicants can bring eligible family members with them to Australia, who are able to work and study.

Applicants must comply with the following conditions:

  • be eligible for at least conditional registration through the medical board to practise as a medical practitioner in the state or territory where they will be employed;
  • have an offer of full-time employment with an Australian employer, such as a hospital, medical practice or area health service;
  • salary may include fees charged and Medicare rebates;
  • their family will need to undertake health examinations;
  • police clearances, for themselves and any family members over 16 years, are required if their stay exceeds 12 months; and
  • ensure that they and their family hold adequate private medical and hospital health insurance cover for the entire time they are in Australia.

Further information is available at:
http://www.immi.gov.au/visawizard/#vw=%23a_results

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The Occupational Trainee Visa (Subclass 442)

The Occupational Trainee Visa (Subclass 442) allows people to complete workplace-based training in Australia on a temporary basis in an approved training program. The training must provide people with additional or enhanced skills in the nominated occupations, tertiary studies or fields of expertise. This visa may be valid for up to two years (subject to the length of the approved training program).

People may be nominated for this visa if the proposed occupational training is one of the following:

  • training or practical experience in the workplace required for the person to obtain registration for employment in their occupation in Australia or in their home country;
  • a structured workplace training program to enhance the person’s existing skills in an eligible occupation; or
  • structured workplace training to enhance the person’s skills and promote capacity building overseas.

Further information is available at:
http://www.immi.gov.au/students/sponsored/otv/

Current Data

In 2009–10 there were 3,190 visas granted to medical practitioners across the three main visa subclasses – 457, 422 and 442 (Table 5.1).

The overall number of visas issued fluctuated over the five years between 2005–06 and 2009–10 to its lowest level in 2009–10.

The trend in the types of visas issued over this period has altered dramatically. The bulk of those being granted are now under Subclass 457 (83.9%) and those under Subclass 422 have decreased substantially from the 1,380 visas issued in 2005–06 to 260 visas in 2008–09. This is due to the phasing out of this visa subclass, with it no longer being available from 1 July 2010.

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Table 5.1: Major classes of visas granted to medical practitioners, 2005–06 to 2009–10(a) (b)

Visa subclass2005–062006–072007–082008–092009–102009–10 proportion of total (%)Increase 2005–06 to 2009–10 (%)
457
2,120
3,530
3,860
3,310
2,670
83.9
26.1
422
1,380
520
450
430
260
8.2
-81.0
442
1,040
850
620
340
250
7.9
-75.8
Total
4,440
4,890
4,930
4,080
3,190
100.0
-28.2

(a) Figures are rounded to the nearest 10.
(b) For Subclasses 457 and 442 nominated occupations include ASCO 231 Medical Practitioner.

Source: Australian Government Department of Immigration and Citizenship administrative data, 2010

In 2009–10 primary visa applications were granted to the medical practitioners from all over the world. Many of those who applied to work in Australia came from countries, namely the United Kingdom, Republic of Ireland and Canada, which have very similar medical training and have been major sources of medical practitioners to Australia for decades. One third of visas (31.7%) under the three main classes were granted to applicants from the United Kingdom and Republic of Ireland (Table 5.2). More recently, larger numbers of international recruits have come from a number of Asian countries, particularly India, Malaysia and Sri Lanka (13.1%, 10.2% and 5.0% of all visas under subclasses 457, 422 and 442 respectively).

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Table 5.2: Primary visa applications granted to medical practitioners by visa subclass: Top 10 citizenship countries, 2009–10(a) (b)

Citizenship countryVisa subclassTotalProportion of total (%)
457422442
United Kingdom
710
50
40
810
25.4
India
370
30
20
420
13.1
Malaysia
290
10
30
330
10.2
Republic of Ireland
170
10
10
200
6.1
Sri Lanka
120
10
20
160
5.0
Canada
110
10
10
120
3.9
Pakistan
110
10
0
120
3.7
South Africa
70
30
< 5
110
3.4
Iran
70
20
0
90
2.9
Singapore
60
< 5
20
80
2.5
Other countries
580
70
100
760
23.8
Total
2,670
260
250
3,190
100.0

(a) Figures are rounded to the nearest 10.
(b) For Subclasses 457 and 442 nominated occupations include ASCO 231 Medical Practitioners

Source: Australian Government Department of Immigration and Citizenship administrative data, 2010

Table 5.3 below shows the total number of medical practitioners who held each of the three main subclasses of visa at the end of the 2008–09 and 2009–10 financial years. There were 5,320 medical practitioners holding visas in the three subclasses at 30 June 2010. This is 13.4% lower than the previous year when 6,140 medical practitioners held visas at 30 June 2009.

Table 5.3: Primary visa holders where the occupation is medical practitioner by visa subclass, 2008–09 and 2009–10(a)

Visa subclass30/06/200930/06/2010
457
5,060
4,600
422
690
520
442
390
190
Total
6,140
5,320

(a) Figures are rounded to the nearest 10.

Source: Australian Government Department of Immigration and Citizenship administrative data, 2010