Medical Training Review Panel: fifteenth report

Department of Immigration and Citizenship Entry Processes

Page last updated: 15 March 2012

There are a number of 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, namely subclasses 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:
www.immi.gov.au/skilled/medical-practitioners/temporary-visas.htm

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 to apply for the Business - Long Stay (Subclass 457) 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:
www.immi.gov.au/visawizard/

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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:
www.immi.gov.au/students/sponsored/otv/

Current Data

In 2010–11 there were 3,220 visas granted to medical practitioners across the three main visa subclasses – 457, 422 and 442 (Table 5.1).

The overall number of visas granted to medical practitioners dropped markedly in 2009–10 to a low of 3,190. In 2010–11 there was a slight increase to 3,220 visas granted, but this is still a third (34.2%) less than in 2006-07, just five years earlier.

The trend in the types of visas issued over this period has altered dramatically. The bulk of those being granted (2,930 or 91.8%) are now under Subclass 457. This reflects the phasing out of visa Subclass 422, with the numbers decreasing each year from a high of 1,380 visas issued in 2005-06, down to 520 in 2006–07 and then down to just 40 in 2010–11.

Table 5.1: Major classes of visa granted to medical practitioners, 2006–2007 to 2010–2011(a)(b)

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

Source: Australian Government Department of Immigration and Citizenship administrative data, 2011

Visa subclass2006–072007–082008–092009–102010–112010–11 proportion of total (%)Increase 2009–10 to 2010–11 (%)Increase 2006–07 to 2010–11 (%)
457
3,530
3,860
3,310
2,670
2,930
91.8
9.6
-17.1
422
520
450
430
260
40
1.1
-86.5
-93.3
442
850
620
340
250
260
8.2
4.0
-69.4
Total
4,890
4,930
4,080
3,190
3,220
100.0
0.9
-34.2

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In 2010–11 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 (32.0%) of visas under the three main classes were granted to applicants from the United Kingdom and Republic of Ireland (Table 5.2). Just 3.8% and 2.8% of the medical practitioners granted visas came from Canada and the United States of America respectively.

More recently, larger numbers of international recruits have come from a number of Asian countries. In 2010–11 another third (35.0%) of all applications were granted to medical practitioners from India, Malaysia, Pakistan, Sri Lanka and Singapore (12.0%, 10.1%, 5.3%, 4.7% and 2.9% respectively of all visas under subclasses 457, 422 and 442). Medical practitioners from New Zealand do not require any of these visas to work in Australia.

Table 5.2: Primary visa applications granted to medical practitioners by visa subclass: Top 10 citizenship countries, 2010–11(a)(b)

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

Source: Australian Government Department of Immigration and Citizenship administrative data, 2011

Citizenship country
Visa subclass
TotalProportion of total (%)
457422442
United Kingdom
810
< 5
50
860
26.8
India
370
< 5
10
390
12.0
Malaysia
290
< 5
30
320
10.1
Pakistan
170
< 5
< 5
170
5.3
Ireland, Republic of
160
< 5
10
170
5.2
Sri Lanka
130
0
20
150
4.7
Canada
110
< 5
10
120
3.8
Singapore
80
< 5
20
100
2.9
Iran
80
< 5
< 5
90
2.8
United States of America
80
< 5
10
90
2.8
Other countries
640
10
110
760
23.5
Total
2,930
40
260
3,220
100.0

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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 2009–10 and 2010–11 financial years. There were 5,500 medical practitioners holding visas in the three subclasses at 30 June 2011. This was a slight increase of 3.4% on the 5,320 in the previous year and suggests a reversal of the downward trend in migration of the previous years, which had anecdotally been attributed to both the Global Financial Crisis and negative media about Australia in some countries, specifically India.

Table 5.3: Primary visa holders where the occupation is medical practitioner by visa subclass, 2009–10 and 2010–11(a)

(a) Figures are rounded to the nearest 10.

Source: Australian Government Department of Immigration and Citizenship administrative data, 2011

Visa typeVisa holders at 30/06/2010Visa holders at 30/06/2011Change 2009–10 to 2010–11 (%)
457
4,600
4,980
8.3
422
520
330
-36.9
442
190
190
0.5
Total
5,320
5,500
3.4

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