Visas for International Medical Graduates

An article appeared in The Australian on Tuesday 9 August 2016 under the heading “Visa plan to stop foreign doctor flow”. The article was based on a submission from the Department of Health to the 2016 review of the immigration Skilled Occupations List (SOL) by the Department of Education and Training. The implication of the article is that removal of medical occupations from the SOL would result in overseas trained doctors no longer being granted visas to work in Australia. This is not correct.

The SOL applies to points-based independent skilled migration and family reunion points-tested migration. The proposal to flag certain medical occupations (Anaesthetists, Obstetrician and Gynaecologists and Medical Practitioners, including occupational medical specialists, public health physicians and sports physicians) does not mean that these categories are not able to enter Australia – it flags them for monitoring and possible review. Even if these professions were to be removed from the SOL, it would not prevent individuals with these qualifications from entering Australia, it would merely remove the points incentive for the relevant category of points-tested migration.

The article does not mention the fact that the bulk of overseas trained doctors and specialists who are recruited to work in Australia are granted entry under the 457 (Temporary Work – Skilled) visa category. The listing of occupations for this category, including all medical specialties, is on the Consolidated Sponsored Occupations List (CSOL). Currently there is no proposal to restrict or alter this list.

For more information on Australian visas please contact the Department of Immigration and Border Protection: