Quarantine in Australia - Useful information for doctors looking to relocate

Our Principal Consultant Al Spinner has provided some useful information for Junior, Middle-grade doctors or GPs/Consultant Specialists interested in learning more about the current COVID-19 restrictions applying to doctors entering Australia and quarantine implications when you arrive. 

It summarises the main queries we have received over the last three months. Given the fluidity of the situation, policies can change overnight so please check the references at the end. 

Q: Can I still get a job in Australia?

Yes. During COVID-19 Hospital services and GP clinics continue to initiate recruitment, offer jobs to and relocate doctors who were trained outside of Australia. Priorities in workforce recruitment vary from State to State and within the States because of specific local requirements spread over large geographical areas. Demand for Emergency Medicine Specialists, for example, continues to be high and steady - as it has been for the last 12 months. ICU & Anaesthesia Specialists are also in high demand. GP demand has remained consistent despite some regulatory changes impacting certain locations. So all in all, if you are looking to relocate to Australia the demand continues to be there despite COVID-19 - for junior/ middle-grade doctors, GPs, Consultant/Specialists in ICU, Anaesthesia, EM, Psychiatry, Obs & Gyn, General Med. 

Q:  I’ve got a job and I’ve been accredited and registered. I heard only Australian Citizens can enter the country, is this true?

No. Once you get your visa approved by the Australian government, Healthcare workers who are not Australian citizens or permanent residents are eligible for an exemption and Head Medical coordinates this on your behalf, which allows you to enter Australia.

Q: I hear seats are limited on flights entering Australia, is this true? 

Yes, unfortunately, this is a challenge. The Australian Federal Government has limited the number of “seats” into the country which means airline companies are struggling with capacity. This means some Doctors waiting to travel have had economy class flights cancelled or rearranged at very short notice, meaning their work start dates have been pushed back considerably. Airline refund policy generally seems to be 3 months. Business class tickets seem not to be cancelled. Airlines - at time of writing - flying to Australia are British Airways, Etihad, Vietnam Airlines, Qatar Airlines, Cathay Pacific and Singapore Airlines. 

Melbourne – no international passenger arrivals;

Sydney – limit of 350 passenger arrivals per day;

Perth – limit of 525 passenger arrivals per week;

Brisbane – limit of 500 passenger arrivals per week;

Adelaide – limit of 500 passenger arrivals per week;

Canberra, Darwin – passenger limits on each flight to be discussed with jurisdictions on a case-by-case basis;

Hobart – no international flights.

The national government will review this policy on 24th October 2020. Until then, existing caps on international passenger arrivals will continue in order to manage and maintain quarantine arrangements across jurisdictions.

However, there is currently growing media attention and increasing political pressure for the government to review this asap. Thousands of Australian citizens overseas have been impacted and the Australian Government is under criticism for this policy, impacting not just the lives of thousands of stranded Australians and healthcare workers but also impacting the Australian economy.

Q: OK, so I get on a flight. What happens when I arrive?

When you land in Australia, following Customs and baggage pick up, you will be escorted to a government allocated hotel where you and your family will quarantine for 14 days. Quarantine applies to all overseas travellers, even if you are currently feeling well. Unfortunately, at present, you will be asked to contribute to the cost of your quarantine. Please see below the current status for each State and Territory.

NSW

There is a cap on arrivals into Sydney & you'll need to contribute to the cost of 14-day quarantine. 

VIC

There are no international flights landing in Melbourne.

QLD

There is a cap on arrivals into Brisbane and you’ll need to contribute to the cost of quarantine. 

SA

There is a cap on arrivals in Adelaide you’ll need to contribute to the cost of quarantine. 

WA

There is a cap on arrivals in Adelaide you’ll need to contribute to the cost of quarantine. 

TAS

There are no direct international flights into Hobart. You’d need to quarantine in the city of arrival (Sydney, for example) then seek an exemption to not quarantine again in Hobart after a domestic transfer.  

NT & ACT 

You’ll need to contribute to the cost of quarantine. 

Please note: some services have reimbursed quarantine costs but this is not guaranteed. Please check with your recruiter as your departure gets closer.

Q: What is quarantine like?

Most likely you will be put up in a large hotel or serviced apartment style accommodation chosen by the government. You have no choice in this. Food and drinks will be provided and are included in your quarantine costs. One GP was put in the Intercontinental Hotel in Sydney, had excellent wifi, food was ok but was not allowed access to the hotel grounds. Her day was taken up with documentation. An anaesthetist who quarantined with a child had a hotel apartment and struggled with the monotony - not just time but also the food - it was healthy, but the same for 14 days. All hotels/apartments allow food delivery at least once a day. Free wifi is available. As most Drs will have extensive credentialing to do - online and paperwork this has helped filled out time. 

Reference

If you are interested in learning more or looking to have an informal chat with a recruiter, please contact us on +44 (0)131 226 2200 or email info@headmedical.com

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