With the ageing population set to continue growing by 3.5% each year until 2022, Australia has adjusted its migration policies to ensure it is able to attract and retain skilled health professionals. Medical practitioners, nurses and allied health professionals are prioritised to ensure adequate supply is met. In the current financial year, the Department of Immigration and Border Protection (DIBP) has allocated 13,872 positions for registered nurses, 3,558 for general medical practitioners and 6,000 for medical specialists (surgeons, anesthetists, etc.).

Medical professionals looking to migrate to Australia independently are required to complete a skills assessment process administered either by the Medical Board of Australia or the Australian Nursing and Midwifery Accreditation Council. These authorities are tasked with ensuring prospective professionals are suitably skilled at a level which is comparable to an Australian medical professional. This involves examining the persons’ qualification, English language ability, work experience and registration level/type. In certain cases, applicants are required to sit for a written and oral exam. This skills assessment process can take months to complete.

DIBP recognises that Australian employers are in need of the medical professionals quickly and if they are able to verify the skills of the prospective employee, that person would not be subjected to the stringent skills assessment process.