Further changes to the registration pathway for GPs from overseas have been announced by the RACGP last week, adding to an already turbulent 12 months of change for OTDs. The policy changes point to a very strong desire to reduce the numbers of OTDs working in metropolitan areas, and to push them towards regional and rural locations. So far, we have seen:
- *NEW*Closure of RACGP’s Specialist Recognition Program – GPs as of 1 September 2019 will no longer be able to obtain FAEG upon arrival in Australia. They will be required to work under the PEP-Specialist Stream for 12 months under supervision prior to being awarded fellowship. They will also be required to work in a MMM2+ location during the supervision period. The RACGP has ensured that these GPs are eligible for full A1 rates during this period. For more information – https://www.racgp.org.au/education/imgs/fellowship-pathways/fellowship-programs-for-imgs/practice-experience-program/practice-experience-program-specialist-stream.
- Visas for GPs – an initiative which requires practices to obtain a Health Workforce Certificate for their location to provide visa sponsorship. Most areas are not receiving certificates under this program unless they are in a regional location. DWS status is not considered in this process. GPs currently on temporary visas cannot move clinics unless an HWC is obtained so its encouraged that those who can should apply for PR. If you have not already applied for a HWC we strongly encourage you to. You may not need to recruit right now, but this will tell you what your options are in the future. If you can let us know whether or not you are successful, it would be very helpful. You can apply at https://visasforgps.com.au/for-practices
- MDRAP and PEP – The introduction of the MDRAP and PEP programs in January this year along with the abolishment of RLRP and potentially the SAPP
- Limitation on MDS services – Many MDS services have shut down due to increased difficulties passing renewal for their accreditation and due to MBS rule changes.
- Virtual suspension of PR (189) visas – Since April 2019 the Department of Home Affairs has virtually suspended the granting of 189 (skilled permanent) visas and the points required have been increased. There was no announcement of this change and there is no indication for how long this will continue, it is very difficult to predict what will happen with this PR visa stream.
What else may happen?
At Alecto we always have our ear to the ground to help predict what may happen next in the industry. We believe the DWS system will be changed significantly sometime this year, most likely around July – and may be abolished altogether. The government has directed all new policies mentioned above to be based on the Modified Monash Model status of locations, therefore it is reasonable to accept that the ‘new system’ they are working on will be based on the MMM status of a location.
Whilst there will always be some exceptions to the rule, this change would require amendments to legislation and 19AB/19AA guidance documents, therefore it may also be possible that other exemptions are changed as well.
As part of our role working with the Australian and New Zealand Medical Recruiters Association (AMRANZ) we would like to ask you as practice managers and owners to provide us with any stories of hardship you are facing due to these changes. We will be compiling evidence of the effects of these changes and lobbying the government for solutions to these issues. Please send any responses to firstname.lastname@example.org