Visas for Overseas GPs - New Health Workforce Certificate Requirement
What is changing?
From 11 March 2019, a Health Workforce Certificate will be required for an employer to nominate a position relating to the following occupations:
- General Practitioner (ANZSCO 253111);
- Resident Medical Officer (ANZSCO 253112); and
- Medical Practitioners not elsewhere classified (ANZSCO 253999)
Which visas will be affected?
The following visas will require a Health Workforce Certificate for employer nominations for positions in the above occupations:
- Employer Nomination Scheme (subclass 186) visa;
- Regional Sponsored Migration Scheme (subclass 187) visa; and
- Temporary Skill Shortage (subclass 482) visa
What is a Health Workforce Certificate?
A Health Workforce Certificate is a letter issued by a Rural Workforce Agency (RWA) confirming the genuine need to fill a primary healthcare position in Australia with an Overseas Trained Doctor (OTD).
What if the Health Workforce Certificate isn’t obtained?
The Health Workforce Certificate is a nomination caveat/inapplicability condition for the relevant occupations. Without the Certificate, the nomination will be refused and the related visa cannot be granted.
How are Health Workforce Certificates issued for hospital-based positions?
Health Workforce Certificates for hospital-based positions will be issued automatically and expedited endorsement will be available for:
- Positions located in rural, remote and regional areas of Australia (as defined by the Modified Monash Model e.g. MM categories 3-7);
- Positions where Australian trained doctors require a visa;
- Doctors seeking an extension of their existing working arrangements in the same position, same location with the same employer; and
- Positions nominated for filling by an OTD at an Aboriginal Medical Service (AMS).
How can I obtain a Health Workforce Certificate?
An application needs to be lodged with HR+ Tasmania: firstname.lastname@example.org. HR+ Tasmania will work with the relevant RWA to assess the application. The application form for GP positions can be downloaded at: https://visasforgps.com.au/volumes/documents/Fillable-Standard-Application-Form.pdf. Another form applies to hospital-based positions. If the placement is through Wavelength, we can make the application on behalf of the employer.
Is the Health Workforce Certificate Doctor-specific?
Yes, the application form captures the Doctor, the position location and the service type (e.g. hospital; GP clinic; after-hours service, etc) and the Doctor is named on the certificate. However, it is possible to seek pre-approval of the position and have the Doctor’s details added to the application later.
How long does it take to obtain a Health Workforce Certificate?
A standard assessment takes 5 to 10 business days, with expedited Certificates issued within 2 business days. The Certificates are valid for a period of 3 months from the date of issue.
What are the criteria for a Health Workforce Certificate to be issued?
The endorsement criteria will be based on a new data planning tool developed by the Department of Health called “Health Demand and Supply Utilisation Patterns Planning (HeaDSUPP)” Tool. The tool is based on a range of data instead of just one classification method (such as the Modified Monash Model). Whether this will be made available to the public is not known at this stage.
Does this affect Specialists?
Positions to be filled by non-GP Specialists do not require a Health Workforce Certificate, unless the Doctor is nominated under Medical Practitioner NEC (not elsewhere classified).
Does this affect Junior/Middle-Grade Doctors?
An employer needs to seek a Health Workforce Certificate when nominating a Junior or Middle Grade Doctor under GP, RMO or Medical Practitioner NEC. However, these are issued automatically for hospital-based positions.
For more info, see this factsheet released by the Department of Health: https://visasforgps.com.au/volumes/documents/Factsheet-Visas-for-GPs-initiative.pdf.
If you have any further questions, our in-house Regulatory & Migration team is here to help. Contact us today!