Monday, 25 September 2023
Media release

Government cuts red tape for overseas trained doctors

Joint media release with the Hon Mark Butler MP

The Albanese Government is cutting red tape to make it easier to recruit doctors from overseas – a major step forward to ease skills shortages.

The Government will remove unnecessary regulatory barriers by ending the ‘Visas for GPs’ program and reducing the time and complexity for International Medical Graduates seeking an employer sponsored visa.

The changes are in line with key recommendations of the interim report of the Kruk Review, an independent review of regulatory settings for overseas trained health professionals.

The review consulted widely with a broad range of stakeholders to ensure recommendations were practical and can deliver the health workforce Australia needs to ensure high-quality, safe and timely health services.

From 16 September, International Medical Graduates looking to work in Australian primary care settings will no longer need to submit a Health Workforce Certificate (HWC) or Health Workforce Exemption Certificate (HWEC) from an employer as part of their Employer Sponsored visa application, removing unnecessary duplication of paperwork.

Applications for a HWC ceased on 5 September, while applications for HWEC were accepted until 13 September. Any applications received prior to these dates will be processed in line with the existing program guidelines.

Quotes attributable to Minister Butler

“The Albanese Government is determined to do everything we can so that when doctors and nurses come in from overseas, they go straight on to the hospital floor, or aged care facility, or general practice to deliver healthcare.

“We need to be very clear with patients and with the medical profession that we won't compromise on our very strong standards that we have here in Australia but there are things we can do to reduce red tape.

“To attract international health professionals in a highly competitive global market, regulatory settings need to be fit for purpose, competitive, and not impose unnecessary barriers, while preserving patient safety standards and quality of care.

“This initiative does all these things, improving the efficiency and effectiveness of the end-to-end regulatory journey for internationally qualified health practitioners.”

Quotes attributable to Minister Giles

“The Albanese Government is making it easier to hire overseas trained doctors who work in Australia to address chronic skills shortages.

“Visa applications in relation to healthcare occupations including GPs are still the highest priority amongst the Government’s processing directions, with assessment times down from approximately 30 days to 1-2 days for decision-ready applications.

“These measures will help the industry address these skill shortages where no suitably qualified Australians are available.”