Your Australian Doctor Visa questions answered

GP Visa Temporary and Permanent Residency Visa Options Explained

An important question and consideration when you’re planning to move abroad is which visa to apply for and if you are planning a permanent move, which PR option is right for you.

Our immigration advisers have put together some information below to help guide you. Please do get in touch to discuss your specific circumstances.

What are my GP Visa options?

As a General Practitioner (GP) you are eligible to move to Australia on either a temporary visa or on a permanent basis as your occupation is currently on the Long-term Strategic Skills List (MLTSSL). Common to all pathways is the requirement that applicants meet the Skill, Health and Character requirements. In the case of GPs, the Skill requirement is evidenced by successful registration with the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency (AHPRA). To be able to hold AHPRA registration, you first need to have signed an agreement with a practice in Australia.

Permanent Residency Applications

There are several visa pathways to achieving the objective of Permanent Residency (PR). In this short article, we’ll be explaining the pathways in a straightforward way to help you choose the most appropriate option.

In simple terms, there are 3 primary pathways to Permanent Residency which we’ll discuss today. The Skilled Independent visa (sub class 189) which is a points-tested stream and two Employer Sponsored pathways to PR are the Transitional Pathway (Sub class 482 and then 186) and the Direct Entry pathway (186).

The Transitional Pathway (482 Visa leading to 186 Visa)

All of our employers in Australia prefer to employ GPs on a temporary visa initially (482). This visa can be granted for up to 4 years before a second 482 visa is applied for, making a total stay in Australia of 8 years possible. See our blog post here for more information on this visa.

From a practical perspective GPs can enter Australia much faster by applying for the 482, rather than by applying from the UK for the permanent visa (186). At the time of writing, the average processing time for the 482 visa is 48-57 days while the 186 visa takes 13-19 months.

Under the 482-visa regime, as a GP you can either be employed on a full-time employment contract or you can be an independent sub-contractor and provide your services to the employer on an hourly / weekly pay rate or profit share arrangement. The majority of the positions we advertise fall under the latter.

The 482 visa provides temporary residency status. As the holder of a 482 visa you are free to travel to / from Australia, your family can accompany you and your spouse is free to work or study without restriction. If you are a UK passport holder you will be entitled to Medicare health services once enrolled. Until this time when you arrive in Australia, you will need to hold Private health cover. Most states prescribe that the children of 482 visa holders cannot access free public education so there is a moderate fee to pay on an annual basis.

Temporary Transition Stream

Having worked as a GP for the same employer for three out of the four previous years, you will be eligible to apply for the 186 visa and gain PR.

Generally speaking applicants for the 186 visa must be under the age of 45 at the time of application, however there are a couple of exemptions which can apply to GPs to allow for applications at the age of 45+.

  • Firstly, if you have worked in Regional Australia for at least 2 of the 3 -year qualifying period.
  • Secondly, if you earn over the Fair Work High Income Threshold (currently $145,000 per annum).

To then apply for the 186, you will need the support of your employer. You will be able to apply for PR at this time even if you have worked for the same employer as an independent sub- contractor.

Direct Entry Pathway (186 Visa only)

If you are employed under a full-time employment contract and are not an independent sub-contractor, it is possible to apply for PR without waiting for the passage of three years. This can be done under the 186 Direct Entry pathway. Many of our practices offer the option of this sponsorship to allow you to apply for PR as soon as you arrive.

Skilled Independent visa (subclass 189)

This is a points-based option for skilled workers. For this application, you need to submit an expression of interest. The eligibility criteria area; you must have a relevant occupation and complete a suitable skills assessment for this. The Skill requirement will again be evidenced by successful registration with the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency (AHPRA).

You will be required to meet the points test pass mark of 65 and be under 45 years old at the time you are invited to apply.

Further Reading:

PR 189 Skilled Independent Visa

PR 186 Employer Sponsored Visa

For further information or to discuss your circumstances directly please get in touch with one of the team here at Transition Medical. Richard, our Specialist Immigration Advisor and Lawyer is on hand to help.