GP & the Skilled Occupation List

Published on January 25, 2017

Removing General Practitioners from the Skilled Occupation List?

There have been many articles written, many words spoken and many hearts broken about an oversupply of doctors and the bid to have several health professionals removed from the “Skilled Occupation List (SOL)” identifying where Australia has a skills shortage.


Among those, which are nearest and dearest to our hearts, is General Practitioners.


The People team came together yesterday to discuss one of the more recent articles published in the Sydney Morning Herald on 7th January offering the view from names such as Dr Bastian Seidel, head of the Royal Australian College of General Practitioners and spokespersons from the former Minister for Health, Ms Sussan Ley and the health department.


Take a look at the article we mention HERE


We have identified a few key points in the article that we wanted to examine ourselves – just to check the figures. Facts are important in forming an opinion after all!


Skilled Occupation List and 457

The article refers to the Skilled Occupation List (SOL), however Kellee Gray, Registered Migration Agent with People, advises that this list does not relate to the 457 visas’ that the article goes on to discuss. The 457 programme is based on occupations on the Consolidated Sponsored Occupation List (CSOL) which has not been mentioned in talks of removing GPs.


So, based on this knowledge, until they start referring to the CSOL – don’t panic.


In addition, if we look at the 457 programme, based on the Quarterly report released by the Department of Immigration and Border Protection (DIBP) in June 2016, for the financial year 2015-2016 the number of General Practitioners nominated for a 457 visa dropped by 1.5% for same period of the previous year. Only 1,120 Nominations were lodged for General Practitioners out of the 33,275 General Practitioners that the Australian Medical Association (AMA) list as currently practising in Australia. The below is taken from Health Workforce Queensland’s Annual report showing the number of Australian Trained General Practitioners and the number of Overseas Trained General Practitioners in Rural Queensland. The Rural Health Workforce in South Australia claimed in their 2015-2016 annual report that they “now have Australian Trained graduates (AMGs) taking up positions in rural as they complete their training. Again, this year they outnumbered the International Medical Graduates (IMGs) we have recruited”


With less doctors entering on 457 visas, the evidence does not back the claim.


Skilled Occupation List and other Visas

If we return to what the article has described, the actual Skilled Occupation List, this relates to the Independent (Skilled) subclass 189 visa, which is a permanent, skilled-based visa. This would not be the easiest application for a General Practitioner coming to Australia, due to the higher registration requirements. A GP must have either General Registration or Specialist Registration with AHPRA to be eligible for this visa type. For this reason, most applicants would have already been working in Australia on another visa before being eligible to apply for this. For the 2015-2016 financial year DIBP allocated 3,558 positions to GPs within the skilled migration program, however only 400 invitations were issued which is only 11.2% of the overall allocation. In our opinion, 400 Skilled visa applications out of 33,275 GPs in Australia is not exactly flooding the system. Considering these 400 would be the only reduction if they removed GPs off the list, it is more effort than it is worth.


Based on the evidence above, at this stage it is unlikely that General Practitioners will be taken from the Skilled Occupation List.
The article also argues an oversupply of doctors which our People recruitment team would refute. This is something we would like to go into in greater details however we have given you enough to think about for now.


Cowritten by Megan Shorter, People Medical Consulting & Kellee Gray, People Migration Consulting

MARA 1678793