Health Practitioners: Visa Options to Travel and Work in Australia

Health Practitioners vs Medical Practitioners vs International Medical Graduates

Health Practitioners is a term that refers to the overarching occupational group of skilled workers within the medical sector. This is often used interchangeably with Medical Practitioners; however, it is important to note that Medical Practitioners sit under the umbrella of Health Practitioners. Similarly, International Medical Graduates are doctors who have obtained their degree overseas and form a subset group under Health Practitioners.

If you are a Health Practitioner planning to travel to Australia, work in Australia or migrate to Australia, the information below relates to initial visa options, permanent visa options and temporary visa options.

Visa Options for Health Practitioners

Health Practitioners undergo a complex process to become eligible to practice medicine in Australia. The most common pathway for Health Practitioners is:

If you are an International Medical Graduate which is a subset of Health Practitioners that is seeking information on obtaining registration in Australia, click here to view our page on International Medical Graduates and Registration in Australia.

Initial Options to Travel and Work as a Health Practitioner in Australia

If you are seeking to travel and work in Australia as a Health Practitioner, the initial visa option that is most common is the Subclass 482 TSS Visa – Temporary Skills Shortage.

Subclass 482 TSS Visa – Temporary Skills Shortage

Subclass 482 Visa is a temporary skill shortage visa that enables employers to fulfil labour market shortages with skilled migrant workers where they are unable to find an appropriately skilled Australian worker. This is an employer-sponsored visa that requires Health Practitioners to be sponsored by an employer whether that be a medical practice or hospital. Most medical occupations are on the Medium-Term List and therefore are applicable to the Medium-Term Stream of the Subclass 482 Visa. This stream permits visa applicants to remain in Australia for four years. 90% of Medium-Term Subclass 482 Visas are processed within 8 months of the visa application. However, it can be inferred that due to the current global health crisis if there is high demand for medical professionals in particular areas of Australia, a visa application may be processed quicker to fulfil the gap in the labour market.

Permanent Options to Remain in Australia as a Health Practitioner

If you are hoping to travel and work in Australia and remain as a permanent resident, there are several options available to Health Practitioners which are dependent on your nominated occupation and other factors. Select your occupation below table to find the relevant visas available.

Occupation ANZSCO Code
Anaesthetic Technician 311211
Anaesthetist 253211
Audiologist 252711
Cardiac Technician 311212
Cardiologist 253312
Cardiothoracic Surgeon 253512
Clinical Haematologist 253313
Clinical Psychologist 272311
Dental Specialist 252311
Dental Technician 411213
Dentist 252312
Dermatologist 253911
Diagnostic and Interventional Radiologist 253917
Emergency Medicine Specialist 253912
Endocrinologist 253315
Enrolled Nurse 411411
Gastroenterologist 253316
General Practitioner 253111
Hospital Pharmacist 251511
Intensive Care Ambulance Paramedic 411112
Intensive Care Specialist 253317
Medical Diagnostic Radiographer 251211
Medical Oncologist 253314
Medical Practitioners (nec) 253999
Medical Radiation Therapist 251212
Neurologist 253318
Neurosurgeon 253513
Nuclear Medicine Technologist 251213
Nurse Educator 254211
Nurse Manager 254311
Nurse Practitioner 254411
Nurse Researcher 254212
Nursing Clinical Director 134212
Obstetrician & Gynaecologist 253913
Occupational Therapist 252411
Ophthalmologist 253914
Optometrist 251411
Orthopaedic Surgeon 253514
Orthoptist 251412
Orthotist or Prosthetist 251912
Osteopath 252112
Otorhinolaryngologist 253515
Paediatric Surgeon 253516
Paediatrician 253321
Pathologist 253915
Physiotherapist 252511
Plastic & Reconstructive Surgeon 253517
Podiatrist 252611
Psychiatrist 253411
Radiation Oncologist 253918
Registered Nurse (Aged Care) 254412
Registered Nurse (Child & Family Health) 254413
Registered Nurse (Community Health) 254414
Registered Nurse (Critical Care & Emergency) 254415
Registered Nurse (Developmental Disability) 254416
Registered Nurse (Disability & Rehabilitation) 254417
Registered Nurse (Medical Practice) 254421
Registered Nurse (Medical) 254418
Registered Nurse (Mental Health) 254422
Registered Nurse (Paediatrics) 254425
Registered Nurse (Perioperative) 254423
Registered Nurse (Surgical) 254424
Registered Nurses (nec) 254499
Renal Medicine Specialist 253322
Resident Medical Officer 253112
Rheumatologist 253323
Sonographer 251214
Specialist Physician (General Medicine) 253311
Specialist Physicians (nec) 253399
Speech Pathologist 252712
Surgeon (General) 253511
Thoracic Medicine Specialist 253324
Urologist 253518
Vascular Surgeon 253521
Medical Administrator 134211
General Skilled Migration

Subclass 189 – Skilled Independent Visa

Subclass 189 Visa is a points-tested visa for skilled workers that allows individuals who are not sponsored by an employer to travel to Australia to live and work as a Permanent Resident. For an Health Practitioner to be eligible for the Subclass 189 Visa the following criteria apply:

  • Medical Registration
  • Under the age of 45 at the time of invitation

To estimate your Skilled Migration Points, use our Australian Immigration PR Points Calculator – 2021.

Subclass 190 – Skilled Nominated Visa

Subclass 190 Visa is a points-based visa that allows skilled workers who are nominated by an Australian State or Territory to travel to Australia to live and work as a Permanent Resident. For an Health Practitioner to be eligible for the Subclass 190 Visa the following criteria apply:

  • Must be nominated by an Australian State or Territory
  • Medical Registration
  • Under the age of 45 at the time of invitation

To estimate your Skilled Migration Points, use our Australian Immigration PR Points Calculator – 2021.

Subclass 491 – Skilled Work Regional

Subclass 491 is a skilled work visa that enables individuals to travel to a regional area of Australia to live, work and study for five years. For an Health Practitioner to be eligible for the Subclass 491 Visa the following criteria apply:

  • Must be nominated by an Australia State or Territory
  • Medical Registration
  • Under the age of 45 at the time of invitation

To estimate your Skilled Migration Points, use our Australian Immigration PR Points Calculator – 2021.

Employer Sponsored

Subclass 186 – Employer Nomination Scheme Visa

Subclass 186 is an employer nomination scheme visa that provides a pathway for skilled workers through employer sponsorship to permanent residency in Australia. For an Health Practitioner to be eligible for the Subclass 186 Visa, the following criteria apply:

  • Medical Registration – must align with your employment level
  • Direct Entry Stream
  • Must have at least three years of relevant work experience in the medical profession
    • Under the age of 45 at the time of application
  • Temporary Residence Stream
    • Must have worked for your employer full-time for at least three years
    • Under the age of 45 at the time of application – except if you are a medical practitioner who worked in their nominated occupation for at least 3 years as a 457 or 452 visa holder and for 2 of those three years were employed in regional Australia

Subclass 494 – Regional Employer Sponsored Scheme Visa

Subclass 494 is a regional employer sponsored visa that allows businesses in regional areas of Australia to address labour shortages by sourcing internationally skilled workers. For an Health Practitioner to be eligible for the Subclass 494, the following criteria apply:

  • Under the age of 45 at the time of application – except if you are a medical practitioner who worked in their nominated occupation for at least 3 years as a 457 or 482 visa holder and for 2 of those three years were employed in regional Australia Medical registration requirement does not apply
  • Must have at least three years of relevant work experience in the medical profession

Other Temporary options for Health Practitioners

Subclass 482 – Temporary Skill Shortage Visa

Subclass 482 is a temporary skill shortage visa that enables employers to supplement labour shortages with skilled workers from overseas. For an Health Practitioner to be eligible for the Subclass 482 Visa, the following criteria apply:

  • Medical Registration
  • Must work for the Sponsor Employer – except where your occupation is on the exemption list that allows medical professionals to work in a different capacity i.e. contractual arrangement, additional work in a private practice or working outside normal hours with Sponsor Employer
  • No age limits
Subclass 417 or 462 – Working Holding Visa

Subclasses 417 and 462 are temporary working holiday visas that allow international travelers to travel to Australia on a short-term basis to work or study.

Subclass 417 has the following criteria:

  • Must be from 18 to 30 years old – except for Canadian, French, and Irish citizens who can be 18 to 35 years old
  • Must apply from outside Australia
  • Must not have previously entered Australia on a working holiday visa

Subclass 462 has the same criteria as Subclass 417 except for the age limit exception. The Working Holiday Visa that you apply for is dependent on the country of passport you hold.

Subclass 485 – Temporary Graduate Visa

Subclass 485 is a temporary graduate visa that permits individuals who have studied in Australia for at least two years to extend their stay and gain valuable employment experience. Health Practitioners who have studied in Australia as international students and wish to remain in the country to improve their chances of obtaining a permanent or provisional skilled visa may find this visa suitable. For a Health Practitioner to be eligible, the following criteria apply:

  • Must be under 50 years of age at date of application
  • Must have held a student visa in the previous 6 months
  • Must have a qualification in your nominated occupation and applied for a skills assessment
  • Must maintain health insurance
  • Obtain an AFP check
  • Provide evidence of English language requirements
Partner Visa

If you are in a relationship with an Australian citizen or permanent resident, Health Practitioners may be able to obtain a partner visa. This visa allows you to live, work and study in Australia. There is no age limit requirement for a partner visa however you must meet the relevant requirements to prove your relationship is committed and genuine.

Age Exemption for Medical Practitioners

All general skilled migration categories require that visa applicants are under 45 years of age at the time of invitation to apply. However, Subclass 186 Employer Nomination Scheme Visa allows for an exemption to the age limit requirement for Regional Medical Practitioner Applicants if the Medical Practitioner meets the following criteria:

  • Nominated in a position in a regional area of Australia
  • Medical Practitioner in the ANZSCO Minor Group 253
  • Must have been employed as a medical practitioner for the three years prior to lodging the application
  • Must have spent at least two years during the three years above employed as a Medical Practitioner in a regional area of Australia
    • The two years are not required to be consecutive, this can be made up of several periods
  • Must have held a subclass 457 or subclass 482 visa for most of the time throughout the three-year period

High Income Exemption for Medical Practitioners

Visa holders of Subclass 186 and 494 who earn an income that is above the High-Income Threshold are exempt from the age requirement. The current high-income threshold for 2022 is $158,500. The earnings that contribute to the high-income threshold are wages, fringe benefits and salary sacrifice amounts. This does not include superannuation. The following criteria must be met for the visa applicant to meet the high-income exemption:

  • Throughout the three years prior to making the visa application the person was employed by the employer who made the nomination AND in the nominated occupation
  • In each of those three years, the persons’ earnings were equal to or greater than the high-income threshold
  • Must have held a subclass 457 or subclass 482 visa for most of the time throughout the three-year period

Medicare Provider Number Requirement for Overseas Trained Doctors and Foreign Graduates of an Accredited Medical School

10 Year Moratorium

Medicare forms part of Australia’s healthcare system, this is a public service that provides health insurance to eligible individuals in Australia. As an Overseas Trained Doctor or Foreign Graduate, you are required to provide a Medicare Provider Number to bill your work under Medicare. To ensure that Australia’s health services remain of high quality, there are Medicare Billing Restrictions in place if you:

  • Obtained your medical degree outside of Australia or New Zealand; or
  • Enrolled in a degree in Australia or New Zealand as a temporary resident

These Medicare Billing Restrictions and other regulations are set out under the Health Insurance Act 1973 (Cth) (“Health Insurance Act”). Under section 19AB of the Health Insurance Act overseas trained doctors and foreign graduates of an accredited medical school are restricted from accessing Medicare benefits for a period of 10 years once registered. The effect of these restrictions are that overseas trained doctors and foreign graduates of an accredited medical school are required to work in Designated Priority Area (DPA) or a District of Workforce Shortage (DWS) for at least 10 years to ensure that the medical services rendered are covered by Medicare.

Exemptions

There are exemptions available under the Act that provide specific means by which you can reduce the 10-year caveat on your practice as an Overseas Trained Doctor or Foreign Graduate through scaling.

Indefinite exemptions are provided to Health Practitioners who work in a Designated Priority Area (DPA) or District of Workforce Shortage (DWS) location.

For Further Information: Doctor Connect

Doctor Connect is a government website that provides information to assist international medical graduates and employers in navigating the steps and regulations to work as a doctor in Australia.

Jamie Lim

Jamie is an Australian Regulated Migration Advisor (RMA 1799460).  Jamie has extensive immigration services experience across multiple visa subclasses and specialises in employer sponsored visas. He has a wide range of experience in corporate migration, including employer-sponsored visas and immigration compliance, and has managed small to large multinational corporate clients. Jamie also has specific experience with medical professionals, skills assessments, state sponsorships as well as partner visas. Book a time with Jamie here.

Jamie holds a Bachelor of Laws (Hons) from Monash University. Jamie speaks Mandarin Chinese as a second language.

His specialities include but not limited to:

Recent News

Labor’s Win and Likely Changes to Australian Immigration

Marrying someone from Overseas in Australia

Visa Free Countries for Australians

Sponsorship Visas

Role Swapping and 888 Visa