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Record number of aged care workers and health professionals moving to Australia

The Department of Health and Aged Care has released data showing international health professionals are immigrating to Australia in record numbers.

Since the Albanese government came to power, the country has seen an increase in skilled migration, helping to ease the strain of staffing shortages in the aged care and nursing sectors.

What are the numbers?

The government confirms that 42,086 skilled healthcare professionals have registered to practise in Australia since July 2022.
 
For this financial year to date, 22,797 practitioners from overseas have been added to the workforce, more than double the amount from the year preceding Covid-19 (2018/19), which saw 10,547 healthcare workers enter the country.

Doctors are also arriving in record numbers, with half of all doctors who first registered to practise in the 2022/23 financial year educated overseas.

What does the government say?

Mark Butler, Minister for Health and Aged Care, says the Albanese government has "cut unnecessary red tape" to allow more skilled healthcare workers into the country, funding targeted visa programs and streamlining the migration process so that migrants are able to enter the workforce faster.
 
“This boom in health workers is a vote of confidence in the Australian health system and proves that our reforms to strengthen Medicare are working, after a decade of Coalition cuts and neglect.
 
“Close to 43,000 health professionals have joined the workforce since the Albanese Government was elected, making it easier to get the care you need from a doctor, nurse or other health professional.
 
“In the May Budget, we invested another $90 million to ensure that when doctors and nurses come in from overseas, they go straight on to the hospital floor, aged care facility, or general practice to deliver health care.”

Where are people emigrating from?

According to the data, 60 per cent of all doctors crossing our borders are from just four countries, all of which have a large English-speaking population including the United Kingdom, Ireland, India and the Philippines.

For aged care workers and nurses we see an increase in numbers from countries such as Timor-Leste, Nepal, New Zealand and the Pacific.

How is the government helping skilled workers enter the country?

Under the Aged Care Industry Labour Agreement and migration schemes such as SkillSelect and the PALM Aged Care Expansion (ACE) program, the aged care sector has been able to capitalise on the skills of overseas workers.

Minister for Aged Care Anika Wells spoke of the ACE program in April as the largest cohort to date of Pacific aged care workers arrived in Australia.

“We warmly welcome the PALM scheme workers from Fiji under the PALM Aged Care Expansion program, who join the growing cohort of skilled Pacific and Timor-Leste workers making a commitment to care for older Australians," Minister Wells said.

“From day one of the Albanese Government, we have committed to supporting and increasing the number of trained staff who care for older Australians.

“The professionalism, skills and compassion these workers bring to aged care homes enriches the lives of older Australians and helps restore dignity to the sector.”

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