Medical Training Review Panel: sixteenth report

Department Of Immigration and Citizenship Entry Processes

Page last updated: 09 April 2013

There are a number of visa classes and processes through which non-Australians 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:

http://www.immi.gov.au/skilled/medical-practitioners/temporary-visas.htm

Medical Practitioner – Temporary (Subclass 422) Visa

Following the creation of flexible working arrangements for International Medical Graduates (IMGs) under the subclass 457 visa, the subclass 422 visa has not been available for new primary visa applicants since 1 July 2010. This removal of the Subclass 422 visa aligns with the Australian Government's deregulation agenda.

These arrangements do not mean that all subclass 422 visas will expire on 1 July 2010. All IMGs holding a subclass 422 visas on or after 1 July 2010 will be able to remain on that visa until:

  • the end of the visa validity period;
  • they change their employer sponsor; and
  • they are granted a new visa subclass.

The Medical Practitioner - Temporary (Subclass 422) visa was 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. Applicants work in Australia for their sponsoring employer, 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 were to 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;
  • comply with the required health examinations for their family;
  • have police clearances, for themselves and any family members over 16 years, 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

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 the visa holder 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; and
  • 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 2011-2012 there were 3,560 visas granted to medical practitioners across the three main 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 3,190. In 2011-12 there was an increase to 3,560 visas granted, but this is still almost a third (27.8%) less than in 2007-08, just five years earlier.

The trend in the types of visas issued over this period has altered dramatically. The bulk of those being (3,300 or 92.7%) granted are now under Subclass 457. This reflects the phasing out of visa Subclass 422, with the numbers decreasing to zero this year 2011-12 from a high of 1,380 visas issued in 2005-06.

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Table 5.1: Major classes of visa granted to medical practitioners, 2007-2008 to 2011-2012(a)(b)

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

Source: Australian Government Department of Immigration and Citizenship administrative data, 2012

Visa subclass2007-082008-092009-102010-112011-122011-12 Proportion of total (%)Change 2010-11 to 2011-12 (%)Change 2007-08 to 2011-12 (%)
457
3,860
3,310
2,670
2,930
3,300
92.7
12.6
-14.5
422
450
430
260
40
0
0.0
-100.0
-100.0
442
620
340
250
260
260
7.3
0.0
-58.1
Total
4,930
4,080
3,190
3,220
3,560
100.0
10.6
-27.8

In 2011-12 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. Almost two fifths (39.6%) of visas under the three main classes were granted to applicants from the United Kingdom and Republic of Ireland (Table 5.2). Just 4.5% and 2.8% of the medical practitioners granted visas came from Canada and the United State of America respectively.

More recently, larger numbers of international recruits have come from a number of Asian countries. In 2011-12 almost a third (31.7%) of all applications were granted to medical practitioners from India, Malaysia, Sri Lanka, Pakistan, Philippines and Singapore (9.0%, 8.4%, 5.3%, 3.4%, 2.8% and 2.8% 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.

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Table 5.2: Primary visa applications granted to medical practitioners by visa subclass: Top 10 citizenship countries, 2011-12(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, 2012

Citizenship countryVisa subclassTotalProportion of total (%)
457442
United Kingdom
1,150
50
1,190
33.4
India
310
10
320
9.0
Malaysia
280
30
300
8.4
Ireland, Republic of
220
0
220
6.2
Sri Lanka
180
20
190
5.3
Canada
150
10
160
4.5
Pakistan
120
0
120
3.4
Philippines
100
10
100
2.8
Singapore
80
20
100
2.8
United States of America
90
10
100
2.8
Other countries
650
100
760
21.3
Total
3,300
260
3,560
100.0

Table 5.3 shows the total number of medical practitioners who held each of the three main subclasses of visa at the end of the 2010-11 and 2011-12 financial years, with 5,320 medical practitioners holding visas in the two subclasses at 30 June 2012. There was a slight decrease of 3.3% on the 5,500 in the previous year. This suggests a downward trend in migration as opposed to the previous year, which had anecdotally been attributed to both the Global Financial Crisis and negative media about Australia in some countries, specifically India.

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Table 5.3: Primary visa holders where the occupation is medical practitioner by visa subclass, 2010-11 and 2011-12(a)

(a) Figures are rounded to the nearest 10.

Source: Australian Government Department of Immigration and Citizenship administrative data, 2012

Visa typeVisa holders at 30/06/2011Visa holders at 30/06/2012Change 2010-11 to 2011-12 (%)
457
4,980
5,020
0.8
422
330
110
-66.7
442
190
190
0.0
Total
5,500
5,320
-3.3