In recent events, Australian government granted 2,600 foreign nationals with the Australian 457 visas during the 2015 – 2016 financial year and offered them jobs that could not be filled by the local workers. Australian 457 visa is a temporary permit that enables Australian employers or any overseas employers to sponsor a skilled worker for a period stretching from one day to four years.
Out of the total 457 visas issued, a large number of workers were health professionals and a small percentage of them were public sector workers. Many of them were entitled a job in managerial role coupled with communications and technical roles in different departments. Doctors were recruited in the leading cities like Victoria, New South Wales, and Queensland. However, for the candidate to fill an application for 457 visas, he or she has to provide sufficient evidence that local labour market has been tested. This prevents the Australian citizens from missing out a job opportunity.
However, this criterion of labour market testing is not a mandatory requirement, as stated by the Australian Medical Association. Loraine Baker, the AMA’s president stated that there was a shortage of doctors in the country 10 years ago, but now that’s not the case. She also explained that there was a rise of 150 percent in medical schools since 2004.
There is a very disturbed distribution of doctors in Australia and 457 visa scheme had done nothing to tackle this situation. There is a shortage of doctors in rural areas whereas high-density medical practitioners in inner-metropolitan areas. Lack of nurses also posed a problem, where Victoria took in 88 registered nurses along with 5 surgeons, 11 midwives and 26 practitioners and New South Wales accepted 34 nurses along with 12 surgeons, 5 midwives and 64 other practitioners. The complete solution for doctors in Australia is not yet solved but there are hopes that measures will be taken to distribute health professionals evenly in the nation.