Banning 457 visas will have an immediate and potentially significant impact on the recruitment of health professionals in rural and remote Australia.
Despite the increase in the number of health professionals graduating from Australian universities, recruiting professionals to work in rural and remote Australia is still difficult.
“I would love to be in the situation where we rely on locally trained health professionals to fill all vacancies in rural and remote communities”, said David Butt, Chief Executive Officer of the National Rural Health Alliance, “but that is still many years away. Without overseas trained health professionals, many rural and remote communities would simply be without access to health care.”
“I note that a new class of visa will be available, and while I have not yet seen the requirements, I would urge the Government to be mindful of the need to ensure implementation does not impact negatively on the health needs of the seven million people living outside Australia’s major cities,” said Mr Butt.
“The people who live in rural and remote Australia have higher rates of diseases than their city cousins, and have poorer health outcomes, with death rates up to 60% higher for Coronary heart disease and 35% higher for lung cancer.
“Whatever replaces the 457 visa must ensure we do not put the health of these seven million people at further risk,” concluded Mr Butt.