Australian Healthcare Demands Remain Unmet

Australia is entering a critical era where health care professionals are more in demand than ever before. This is greatly attributed to Australia’s aging, increasing and expanding population, therefore there is significant demand on a more prominent approach to the health care systems, which is currently crying out in desperation for an increase in healthcare professionals staff across all sectors. Health care professionals are in dire demand in both preventative care and quality of life care equally. It comes as no surprise then that Australians are demanding a more sophisticated approach to service delivery, and judging by recent social and media trends, the need for this change is more significant and vocal than ever before. All these factors combined, create a vacuum, which needs to be filled by skilled and qualified health professionals.

Requirements for Australian Health Work

To be employed as a nurse in Australia, the requirements are straight forward and include the general employment visa concepts, including that the applicant must complete and passes the necessary health requirements, and that the applicant has the necessary educational requirements. The educational requirements typically include; Tertiary education and/or equivalent level of medical training, which suffices the criteria to obtain the necessary certification from the Australian Nursing and Midwifery Council or the equivalent regulatory agency in the respective State or Territory within Australia.

Alternatively, a health care employer is also able to become an official sponsor for the health care professional that whishes to practice in Australia, this process is by way of the Temporary Medial Practitioner Visa. Its important to highlight that this visa is for doctors and specialists (including radiologists) only, and that it does not include nursing staff, who would be required to apply for a Business Visa. Under the Temporary Medical Practitioner Visa, doctors and specialists need to be aware that they are further requirements including that the applicant must be under 45 years of age; and that they need to have three (3) years of both medical training and work experience.


Health care employers, and in general the health care sector in Australia are fortunate to have a number of useful resources to turn to when in search potential medical professionals candidates. Among these great resources are Adzuna and Ochre Recruitment. Health care employers in New Zealand, are fortunate enough to have resources such as Ochre Recruitment who cover New Zealand medical positions and professionals as well as positions for medical staff within Australia.

Resources for Unsponsored Nurses

For nursing staff who feel are unable and/or do not wish to be sponsored by their potential future employer, should explore and apply through the Skilled Independent Visa. It is important to note that this is a permanent visa and requires specialised testing, including an English language test; an assessment of past and current work experience; and a through assessment of the applicants occupational skills.

If this type of visa does not seem like the one for you,  there is a similar, yet slightly different temporary visa available. This particular visa is based on a 12-month stay in Australia, and is suited for nursing staff aged between 18 and 30 and is defined as the Working Holiday Visa. This visa allows the applicant/nurse to work for up to three (3) months with any given employer, with the stipulation that such work must remain incidental to holiday travels and experiences noted in the application, rather than using the visa and its conditions for “holidaying” and “traveling”, the primary of this visa, and its conditions for entry and stay in Australia continue to be tied to employment in Australia.

A Broader Definition of Healthcare

With the ongoing debate surrounding Australia’s health care reforms and with the increase in demand for more professionals, it is no surprise then that the actual definition of what exactly healthcare in Australia is and what it includes is now also coming under scrutiny. The debate that recently arose is centered around mental health professionals and social works often overlooked as vital professionals in the healthcare arena, and therefore in the are often overlooked in visa applications, hiring and other professional programs and opportunities. 

Over the past decade or so, Australia’s health care system has seen a growing increase in the number of mental health illness presenting in Australia’s society, some present the argument that this is directly in line with and a correlating factor of Australia’s aging population. Whatever the cause for the increase might be, there is no doubt that mental health issues within Australia as we know it today, is no the rise and is coming to the foreground in health care discussions.

It has been noted that senior members of the community, particularly those in poor physical health and/or who suffer from chronic physical conditions, tend to also experience (simultaneously) symptoms of depression, anxiety and social isolation, which are all covered and under the umbrella of mental health. The concern is that, with the demand for improved medical care, a better health care system, and an increased in health care professionals, senior citizens may already have their physical health care needs unmet and presenting mental health symptoms undiagnosed. As noted previously, the demand for an increase in health care staff across all sectors is at a discerning stage across all sectors, with mental health professionals not being an exception to this.

The advantages or at least one positive aspect that social workers can benefit from in a professional sense is that not all mental health disorders result in institutionalisation, some mental health illness can be managed through the teaching and practice of self management techniques within the family home. This aspect allows social workers to utilize their skills (and expand employment options) not just to the governed health care institution, but also the community, private and non for profit sectors. 

Australia has been highlighted as a country that continues to grow and expand their market for in-demand professionals. Interested doctors, nurses, social workers and health care professionals are encouraged to explore their possibilities and the opportunities of future employment in Australia.

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