NACCHO Aboriginal Health #457 Workforce Survey : Will your ACCHO be effected by #457visa changes ?

 ” NACCHO would like to know if your service is effected by the Australian Government’s abolition of 457 visas in over 200 occupations which could have adverse effects on the supply of health services in rural areas and remote regions?”

The health sector /ACCHO’s has yesterday (20 April ) had a press release and video response from Assistant Health Minister, Dr David Gillespie (see above extract and in full below )

 ” The changes announced this week will not have any significant impact on the ability of rural and regional areas to recruit temporary skilled overseas trained health professionals”

WATCH VIDEO HERE

But according to National Rural Health Alliance Chief Executive David Butt (see press release 2 below )  there were nearly 4,000 medical practitioners in Australia on 457 visas, as well as 1,800 nurses, 500 allied health workers, nearly 400 specialists, around 200 dental professionals, and nearly 650 other health professionals, including aged care, disability, health administration and medical science workers.

Read yesterdays NACCHO post with press release concerns /responses from National Rural Health Alliance , the AMA and the Rural Doctors Association of Australia

NACCHO Aboriginal Health Workforce and #457visas : Overseas trained doctors still essential in the bush: assurances needed on 457

Let us know if you have any concerns about your workforce issue regarding health care workers on a 457 visa and the occupations in your service impacted by the proposed changes.

You can email your concerns to NACCHO NEWS Or

or leave your comments at the end of this post

Please note: On 18 April 2017, the Government announced that the Temporary Work (Skilled) visa (subclass 457 visa) will be abolished and replaced with the completely new Temporary Skill Shortage (TSS) visa in March 2018.

The TSS visa programme will be comprised of a Short-Term stream of up to two years and a Medium-Term stream of up to four years and will support businesses in addressing genuine skill shortages in their workforce and will contain a number of safeguards which prioritise Australian workers.

Rural doctors not affected by 457 visa changes says Minister

Assistant Health Minister, Dr David Gillespie ( Pictured above visiting his local ACCHO last month ) has reassured doctors and rural communities on the impacts of the Coalition Government’s changes to the temporary and permanent employer sponsored skilled migration schemes.

Download the Press Release HERE 457 Visas

“The changes announced this week will not have any significant impact on the ability of rural and regional areas to recruit temporary skilled overseas trained health professionals,

“While I note the concerns of the Australian Medical Association and the Rural Doctors’ Association of Australia about the future of international medical graduates in rural communities, appropriately qualified health professionals will continue to have access to Australia’s Temporary Migration scheme.”

Minister Gillespie said the changes are intended to prioritise opportunities for Australian workers and professionals, and will be introduced in stages through to March 2018.

“Initially, the skilled occupation lists have been tightened to remove some occupations, including some health occupations where very few people had accessed the visa over the last four years.

This will have minimal impact, with less than a handful of overseas professionals currently working in Australia,” Minister Gillespie said.

Minister Gillespie said the visa assessment process for overseas trained doctors is already quite stringent.

“All overseas trained doctors, regardless of their visa category, are assessed against their prior work experience and their English language skills before they can enter Australia.

This testing is conducted as part of the medical registration and credentialing processes that inform visa application assessments,” Minister Gillespie said.

Many temporary resident overseas trained doctors who have entered Australia under the current 457 visa arrangements are being employed to work in state-approved supervised Area of Need positions.

“These positions are approved only after the prospective employer has completed labour market testing and can demonstrate a need for an overseas-trained doctor to fill a position.

“In addition, the Medicare legislation places a requirement on overseas trained doctors to work in areas recognised as districts of workforce shortage.”

Minister Gillespie said there will be consultation process ahead of the more significant changes in March next year.

“The Department of Health will continue to ensure that any future changes to the skilled occupation lists support health workforce requirements.

He said the Coalition Government remains heavily invested in boosting the Australian-trained regional and rural workforce through initiatives such as the Rural Health Multidisciplinary Training program.

As part of this initiative, we’ve recently announced an additional $54.4 million over two years to 2018-19 for 26 regional training hubs and three additional University Departments of Rural Health,” Minister Gillespie said.

“This will provide additional opportunities for health and medical students to live, study and work in rural and regional Australia and improve access to health services for the people that live in those communities.”

Press Release 2 :Abolition of 457 visas could lead to rural health service shortages

‘While we fully support education and training strategies to build a strong health workforce within Australia, it’s a fact that it is still a challenge to fill some roles, particularly in regional and rural areas’, said AHHA Chief Executive Alison Verhoeven.

Download Press Release NRH AHHA 457 Visas

National Rural Health Alliance Chief Executive David Butt said there were nearly 4,000 medical practitioners in Australia on 457 visas, as well as 1,800 nurses, 500 allied health workers, nearly 400 specialists, around 200 dental professionals, and nearly 650 other health professionals, including aged care, disability, health administration and medical science workers.

‘Many of these people are working in rural and regional areas’, Mr Butt said.

‘These skilled clinicians and other health professionals who have come to Australia on 457 visas have made a substantial contribution to our capacity to provide to provide health services, particularly to people in the bush.

Many have stayed on to become permanent residents, and are highly valued members of our community.’

Ms Verhoeven said feedback from AHHA members ‘on the ground’ in rural areas is that the opportunity to transition from a 457 visa to permanent residency was a significant incentive for much-needed overseas-trained doctors to take up positions in Australia, and especially in rural areas. This ability to transition is not part of the replacement 2- and 4-year visas now being offered.

‘We think that there could well be a negative impact, not only on availability of clinicians, but on continuity of care if visas are only issued for 2 or 4 years’, Ms Verhoeven said.

‘We also think that this impact will stretch beyond medical practitioners to a range of health and disability and aged care workers, including administrative staff who code and collect the health data that are so important to health services planning and funding.’

Mr Butt said people in rural and regional areas, including Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians, already experience reduced access to health services, and more illness and injury compared with other Australians.

‘We must ensure that market testing is not the cause of further delay to these communities. I also strongly urge the Government to look at these issues as part of a more comprehensive plan to address workforce distribution.

‘Changes to the visa program must therefore take into account our need to ensure good health services are available for all community members—skill shortages cannot be fixed overnight and require long term planning and investment’, Mr Butt said.

 

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