How the new ‘Visas for GPs’ initiative will impact your GP recruitment strategy

How the new ‘Visas for GPs’ initiative will impact your GP recruitment strategy

  • March 12, 2019

From Monday 11th March 2019 the new ‘Visas for GPs’ initiative will require all overseas trained doctors (OTDs) to obtain a position eligible for the new Health Workforce Certificate (HWC).

The objective of the initiative is to redirect overseas trained doctors from areas that are well serviced, to areas that have lower access to services such as rural, remote and regional areas of Australia.

The key points that all medical practices and Overseas Trained Doctors (OTDs) need to know:

  • Health Workforce Certificates (HWCs) are linked to a position and not to an OTD or a location. Practices will need multiple HWCs should they be looking to recruit a number of OTDs requiring a visa.
  • HWCs are not linked to DPA in any way. Eligibility will be judged on an individual basis, based on a tool developed by the Department of Health. OTDs will still need to satisfy Section 19AA and 19AB of the Health Insurance Act.
  • A pending HWC will be granted for a 3-month period for eligible positions where an OTD still needs to be sourced by a practice for a specific position.

A new application will be required if an OTD cannot be sourced during this period. There is no guarantee that a new pending or full HWC will be granted because of a previously granted pending or full HWC.

  • A HWC will be issued for an eligible position if a specific OTD has been noted on the application. This will last for 3 months and it is essential for the practice to lodge the visa nomination within this period.

A new HWC application will be required if a nomination cannot be made during this period.

  • MMM3+ locations will be expedited but will still need to be DPA for an OTD to commence work.
  • There is no cost for the application process and applications will take 2 working days for expedited applications – see FAQs) and 5-10 working days for standard applications.
  • OTDs already practicing in Australia on a 457 or 482/TSS will need any new position in another location to be eligible for a HWC, even though the location they are currently working in may not be eligible for a HWC.

What does this mean for in-process candidates and current / future GP recruitment?

  1. In-process candidates

All OTDs who have signed contracts of engagement prior to 11th March will be automatically granted a HWC, even if the location would not meet the new HWC criteria.

Practices need to apply ASAP using the below method and providing evidence (signed contract). Following the granting of the HWC, the practice will have 3 months to lodge the visa nomination.

2. Current GP recruitment requirements

Practices should apply now for a HWC for each position at every practice that they expect they may fill with an OTD.

DXC Medical recommends lodging one application per location first, with subsequent applications to follow once a HWC has been granted. There is no guarantee that multiple HWCs will be granted.

3. Future GP recruitment requirements

It is advised that when a practice is considering future GP recruitment requirements, a decision is made on if/when an application for a HWC is made.

We expect that ‘HWC certificate available’ will become a key selling tool for practices.

It will be important to develop a HWC policy and to track all successful certificates and pending applications when they are granted.

How do I apply for a Health Workforce Certificate?

1. Request an application form for a Health Workforce Certificate from

2. Fill in the form with details of the position

3. Submit to HR+ Tasmania via

4. HR+ Tasmania will organise processing of the application

5. Employers will be emailed with the outcome of the assessment

The Application form

  1. For applications where the OTD has already been identified

The practice will need to complete the Practitioner Details section of the form.

If successful, this will generate a HWC which is valid for 3 months. There is no ‘pending’ stage where the OTD has already been sourced.

  • If the OTD is not able to apply for a visa within this 3-month period, then the practice will need to re-apply for a HWC (there is no guarantee that this will be granted just because a position was previously eligible)

2. For applications where the OTD has not yet been identified

The practice leaves the Practitioner Details section blank.

Once successful, this will generate a ‘pending’ HWC, which give the practice 3 months to identify an OTD.

  • If the practice cannot identify an OTD in this time, they need to re-apply for the HWC towards the end of the 3 months
  • If the practice does recruit an OTD they then need to notify HR+ to access the full HWC, which gives them 3 more months to lodge the visa nomination.

For more information on anything covered in this blog and to discuss your specific practice recruitment strategy, please call:

Darren Compton
Managing Director
0405 234 852

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