Head Medical's Australia team has answered your important questions concerning relocation to Australia.
This piece is for Junior/Middle-grade doctors or GPs, Consultant/Specialists interested in a summary about the current state of play in respect to COVID-19 restrictions applying to doctors entering Australia and quarantine implications when you arrive.
It summarises the main queries we have received. Given the fluidity of the situation, it goes without saying policies can change overnight so please check the websites below.
Q: Can I still get a job in Australia?
Yes. Despite the border closures in Australia, Hospitals, Health Services and GP clinics are still recruiting health professionals from overseas. Doctors, nurses, midwives and allied health professionals are all in demand. Priorities in workforce recruitment vary from State to State and within the States because of specific local requirements spread over large geographical areas. Essentially there are opportunities for junior/middle-grade doctors, GPs, Consultant/Specialists in ICU, Anaesthetics, Emergency Medicine, Psychiatry, General Medicine and Obstetrics & Gynaecology.
Q: I heard only Australian Citizens can enter the country, is this true?
No. The Priority Migration Skilled Occupation List (PMSOL) identifies critical skills needed to support Australia’s economic recovery from COVID-19.
As doctors are on the PMSOL, our Registration Team will apply for a travel exemption for you and your family when they apply for your Temporary Skill Shortage visa (subclass 482).
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 arrivals 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. The airline refund policy generally seems to be 3 months. Business class tickets seem not to be cancelled. As more Australians receive the COVID vaccine the country will open up. It is anticipated borders will be open by January 2022 for fully vaccinated travellers.
Sydney – limit of 1505 passenger arrivals per week;
Melbourne – limit of 500 passenger arrivals per week;
Brisbane – limit of 500 passenger arrivals per week;
Adelaide – limit of 265 passenger arrivals per week;
Perth – limit of 265 passenger arrivals per week;
Hobart – no international flights.
The national government will review this policy, but 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.
What happens when I arrive?
When you land in Australia, following Customs, baggage pick-up and biosecurity 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 and vaccinated. You will be charged for the cost of your quarantine, but most health services are reimbursing consultants for this cost.
You will need to quarantine at your port of arrival into Australia. You can't travel domestically until you've completed the mandatory quarantine period.
Please see below State and Territory websites for information and costs:
• New South Wales: www.nsw.gov.au/covid-19
• Queensland: www.qld.gov.au/about/newsroom/queensland-border-restrictions
• Victoria: www.dhhs.vic.gov.au/coronavirus
• Australian Capital Territory: www.covid19.act.gov.au/home
• South Australia: www.sa.gov.au/covid-19
• Northern Territory: https://coronavirus.nt.gov.au/travel
Q: What is quarantine like?
Accommodation varies depending on the size of the party travelling and the State you arrive into, but 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 wasn’t 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 a 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. If you are travelling with children, I would recommend taking a lot of toys, games, activities to keep them busy. One valuable tip that I can provide is I’ve also seen eggs being boiled in a kettle and toast made with an iron – take some aluminium foil with you and you will be sorted!
If you would like to find out more about the opportunities available with Head Medical or an informal chat with our team, contact Karen Prosser at firstname.lastname@example.org or call