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Skilled migration program

​​Visas for GPs initiative

The Visas for GPs initiative will manage growth in Australia’s medical workforce by regulating the number of doctors entering Australia to work in the primary healthcare sector through the skilled migration program. The Visas for GPs initiative will commence on 11 March 2019.

All employers (including hospital employers) nominating a position that will be filled by a doctor who needs a visa to work in one of the following three occupations are required to obtain certification in the form of a Health Workforce Certificate (HWC) or a Health Workforce Exemption Certificate (HWEC), as applicable from a Rural Workforce Agency (RWA):

  • General Practitioner (ANZSCO 253111)
  • Resident Medical Officer (ANZSCO 253112)
  • Medical Practitioners not elsewhere classified (ANZSCO 253999)

These certificates are letters issued by a RWA confirming the genuine need to fill a primary healthcare position at a given location in Australia by an overseas doctor. Employers are required to attach the applicable certificate to their nomination application as specified in the table below:

​Employer Sponsored visas
Primary care positions​
​Hospital based positions
​Temporary Skill Shortage (TSS) (subclass 482)
​Skilled Employer Sponsored Regional (Provisional) (SESR) (subclass 494)
​Employer Nomination Scheme (ENS) (subclass 186)
​Regional Sponsored Migration Scheme (RSMS) (subclass 187)

HWECs are valid for 12 months and hospital employers are able to use the same HWEC repeatedly within the 12 month validity period to nominate all overseas doctors for temporary and provisional employer sponsored visas in the three occupations above. HWCs continue to be single use only.

Employers will be required to attach a Health Workforce Certificate to their nomination application for any of the following employer sponsored visas:

  • Temporary Skill Shortage (subclass 482) visa
  • Employer Nomination Scheme (subclass 186) visa
  • Regional Sponsored Migration Scheme (subclass 187) visa.

Changes to the nomination forms

When one of the three occupations is selected on any of the TSS, ENS or RSMS nomination forms you will now see a new page appear advising that a caveat applies to the nominated occupation (noting that the name of the occupation that you have selected will appear where ‘Corporate General Manager’ appears in the sample below).

Sample image of content that appears when selecting an occupation that a caveat applies to  

When you click Add the following pop-up box will appear:

Pop up box asking you to select a drop list as to why a "caveat does not apply'  

The following list of reasons is available:

  • Business turnover more than specified minimum 
  • Salary more than specified minimum 
  • Employee numbers more than specified minimum
  • Position is not in an excluded location
  • Position does not involve low-skilled tasks
  • International trade obligation applies 
  • Other

List of reasons that is available to select 

Select ‘Position has been endorsed / certified by relevant body’ from the list of reasons.

You will then be taken back to the original screen and you will see your reason in the table.

You can edit or delete this reason if you selected the wrong one.

Example of reason 'Edit' or 'Delete' options 

Attaching the Health Workforce Certificate 

When you reach the end of the form you will be prompted to attach the Health Workforce Certificate to your application before you submit it.

Screenshot of ImmiAccount showing where the attach documents button is 

If you click on Endorsement/Certification, the section will expand and give you the opportunity to upload the file.

'Endorsement/ Certification' section expanded allowing users to upload their file 

You should select ‘Health workforce certificate’ as the Document type.

'Document type' drop down expanded displaying options  

When you complete this section, you should put your nominee’s name in the description (in the example below we have used Jane Smith) and name the file Health Workforce Certificate – <nominee name>.

You can ‘Browse’ to find the relevant file on your PC and then click Attach.

'Browse' pop-up example allowing you to browse to the file you wish to upload  

You will then see that the document has been attached and the indicator has changed to 1 Received.

Example of how the display changes to '1 Received' when you have successfully uploaded the file

If you try to progress to the next page without attaching your Health Workforce Certificate you will see the following message.

Example of the error message that will display if you do not attach your Health Workforce Certificate  

Technical support

If you experience any technical problems when trying to lodge your nomination, you should complete the Technical support form on the Department's website.