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Australia is to facing a shortage of 109,000 nurses by 2025 and “drastic” action needs to be taken soon, warned a report by Health Workforce Australia this week. It says that the primary concern for the country is finding enough people to fill the thousands of new jobs and this demand has resulted in better visa opportunities for British nurses.
“There’s never been a better time for nurses to move to Australia” the report says as nursing and other healthcare professions are experiencing unexpected growth rates. Although statistics by the Australian Bureau of Statistics show that more qualified nurses entered Australia on a so-called 457 visa in the first eight months of the current financial year than the entire previous year, healthcare providers have complained it is difficult to attract and retain nursing staff, particularly in the more remote areas of the country.
A 457 visa is a three-year provisional visa for skilled workers which allows the holder to live and work in Australia for up to three years, after which, if the holder has lived in Australia for two years and completed at least 12 months of work, the holder is eligible to apply for permanent residency.
Leonie Cotton, Casework Department Manager at the Australian Visa Bureau, said that “Nurses are always in demand everywhere in the world, they provide such an essential service and, with industries across Australia, particularly Western Australia, continuing to grow and expand, more and more communities need nurses.”
Some healthcare providers are now even lobbying for a relaxation of immigration rules to allow more nursing staff to remain in the country in what could become a mass recruitment drive for British nurses.