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Australian Government - Department of Immigration and Citizenship

Visa Options for Doctors

Closure of the Subclass 422 – Medical Practitioner Visa

From 1 July 2010, as a result of the closure of the Subclass 422 – Medical Practitioner (Temporary) visa, IMGs applying under the subclass 457 visa program will be required to seek employer sponsorship from an approved standard business sponsor under the subclass 457 visa program.

Doctors can apply for either a temporary or permanent visa.

For immigration purposes, doctors seeking permanent residency in Australia must hold full medical registration. The department will accept one of the following certificates issued by the State or Territory Medical Board as evidence of full registration:

  • full/unconditional/general medical registration
  • conditional specialist registration – this registration allows you to practise only in your particular speciality, with no further training or supervision requirements.

Note: The Australian State and Territory Medical Boards are responsible for the registration of all medical practitioners. However, in the case of specialists, the Medical Boards require an assessment from the relevant Australian Specialist Medical College before registering a doctor for practice in their field of specialisation. The decision to grant medical registration is entirely up to the relevant State and Territory Medical Board.

Temporary Visa Options for Doctors

Doctors who do not yet hold full medical registration in Australia can be employed and sponsored as a temporary resident while they are in the process of meeting the requirements to obtain full medical registration.

Permanent Visa Options for Doctors

There are several different permanent visas available for doctors who have full medical registration in Australia.

Visa Options for Nurses

Nurses sponsored by an employer

Temporary Business (Long Stay) visa (subclass 457)

For registered nurses to work in Australia for an approved business sponsor, for up to four years. Your accompanying family members can work and study in Australia.

Employer Nomination Scheme

Overseas nurses under 45 years of age with qualifications and work experience as a registered nurse, may be eligible for a permanent visa under this scheme.

Regional Sponsored Migration Scheme

Overseas nurses with qualifications equivalent to an Australian diploma level qualification (two years full-time study) or higher may be eligible for a permanent visa. Under this scheme, nurses will be sponsored by an Australian employer to work and live in regional Australia.

General Skilled Migration

There is a range of visa options under General Skilled Migration (GSM) for skilled workers who want to live in Australia and who do not have an employer sponsoring them. These include options for skilled people applying as an independent migrant as well as those sponsored by an eligible Australian relative or nominated by a state or territory government. To be eligible to apply for GSM, nurses must pass a points test and meet a range of basic requirements.
See: Visa Options

Applicants for General Skilled Migration must obtain a skills assessment from the Australia Nursing and Midwifery Council (ANMC) even if currently registered to work as a nurse in an Australian state or territory.

Working Holidays

Working Holidays

If you are between 18 and 30, you may be able to come to Australia temporarily for a working holiday. This visa allows you to stay for 12 months and work as a nurse with any one employer for a maximum of six months, provided your work remains incidental to your holidays.

Improving your skills

Nurses who do not have the qualifications to work as a nurse in Australia can do a bridging program to improve their skills. There are some temporary visa options available for you to do this.

Occupational Trainee visa

For nurses to undertake a supervised, workplace-based training program in Australia. This option is good for training programs of three months or longer.

Business (Short Stay) visa (subclass 456)

Ideal for nurses to undertake an approved bridging or pre-registration program for less than three months. Nurses who successfully complete the course may be able to apply in Australia for a Business Long Stay visa.

Student visa

To obtain a student visa, your nursing course must be registered.
See: Commonwealth Register of Institutions and Courses for Overseas Students (CRICOS)

Further information on student visas is available.
See: Student Visa Options