NEW INSTRUMENT: Migration (Removal of health workforce certificate requirements) Amendment Instrument (LIN 23/065) 2023

 Regulation 5.19 of the Regulations sets out requirements that must be met for the approval of a nomination of a position in connection with an application for a Subclass 186 (Employer Nomination Scheme) visa (subclass 186 visa) or a Subclass 187 (Regional Sponsored Migration Scheme) visa (subclass 187 visa).  These include general requirements for approval, and further requirements for nomination applications in the Temporary Residence Transition stream (TRT stream) and Direct Entry stream (DE stream). 

One of the requirements is that the application must identify an occupation in relation to the nominated position.  Under various provisions in regulation 5.19, the Minister has powers to specify, by legislative instrument, occupations in relation to the nominated position.  The Minister may further specify any matters for the purposes of determining whether the occupation applies to an identified person under:

·           paragraph 5.19(8)(c) of the Regulations for either a subclass 186 visa or subclass 187 visa application in the TRT stream;

·           subregulation 5.19(11) of the Regulations for a subclass 186 visa in the DE stream; and

·           subregulation 5.19(13) of the Regulations for a subclass 187 visa in the DE stream.

 Such matters include circumstances in which the occupation is undertaken and circumstances in which the person is to be employed in the position (see subparagraphs 5.19(8)(c)(v) and (vi), paragraphs 5.19(11)(e) and (f) and paragraphs 5.19(13)(e) and (f)).  

  Subclause 186.234(2) of Schedule 2 to the Regulations sets out some of the criteria that must be satisfied by applicants for a subclass 186 visa in the DE stream at time of decision. Under paragraph 186.234(2)(a), an applicant’s skills must be assessed as suitable for the applicant’s nominated occupation by an assessing authority specified by the Minister in a legislative instrument as the assessing authority for that occupation. 

  Under the powers mentioned above, the Minister specified in LIN 19/047 and LIN 19/049 a requirement that a health workforce certificate (HWC) from a health workforce certifier be provided when an employer nominates a position in certain medical occupations. In LIN 19/047, these medical occupations were general practitioner (ANZSCO code: 253111); resident medical officer (ANZSCO code: 253112); and medical practitioners (nec) (ANZSCO code: 253999). In LIN 19/049, these were general practitioner and medical practitioners (nec).

The HWC requirement formed a measure introduced as part of a joint program between the Department of Health and the Department of Home Affairs.  The purpose of the program was to manage the growth of overseas trained doctors entering primary care in well-serviced major capital cities and metropolitan areas.  Given widespread shortages of doctors in Australia, the measure is no longer fit for purpose.  The Minister for Health and Aged Care and Minister for Immigration, Citizenship and Multicultural Affairs have agreed to end the program, and as such the HWC is no longer required.

The purpose of this instrument is to amend LIN 19/047 and LIN 19/049 to remove the requirement for employers to provide a HWC for the abovementioned medical occupations.  The amendments remove all definitions and references to HWCs and health workforce certifiers.  

 The amendments made by this instrument enable employers to nominate a position in Australia which identifies a medical occupation, in relation to a person seeking to apply for a subclass 186 or a subclass 187 visa in the TRT stream or DE stream, without being required to provide a HWC. 

These changes remove the administrative burden for health workforce certifiers to issue certificates, and benefit employers and intending migrants by streamlining the visa assessment process.  As a result, it is expected to attract more overseas doctors to work in Australia and increase community access to doctors.

Migration (Removal of health workforce certificate requirements) Amendment Instrument (LIN 23/065) 2023Migration (Removal of health workforce certificate requirements) Amendment Instrument (LIN 23/065) 2023 (legislation.gov.au)

Written by Ross Ahmadzai

16 Sep, 2023

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