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Thursday, October 21, 2021

1,000 overseas healthcare staff to be recruited in Vic COVID fight

The Victorian Government will recruit up to a thousand healthcare workers currently living overseas, including Australian healthcare workers wanting to return home, as part of a package designed to help ease the pressure on staff in the state’s hospital system.

The Government will also establish a new allowance to better support nurses, paramedics and doctors working hard on the frontline to protect Victorians, Health Minister Martin Foley (pictured) announced today.

“We understand there are many Australian healthcare workers overseas keen to return home and roll up their sleeves to help the local workforce at our most critical time,” the Minister said.

“This is about easing the pressure placed on our paramedics, nurses, midwives, doctors and other health professionals by helping more healthcare workers to seamlessly return to these crucial jobs that need to be done.

“We’ve always respected the work of our skilled and hardworking health workforce. This allowance will support the incredible work that our health professionals are doing day-in day out to deliver Victorians safely to the other side of this pandemic.”

He said the next few months would be incredibly hard on healthcare workers in hospitals and ambulance services as they continued to care for record numbers of patients.

These people are our health system’s backbone, and we need to support them so that they can continue to deliver the very best care, when Victorians need it most, the Minister said.

The new ‘Hospital Surge Support Allowance’ will be paid to patient-facing healthcare workers, providing direct care in public hospital services and Ambulance Victoria, over the next four months. Workers in these roles will be eligible for up to $60 per shift. 

The Minister said Victorian health services would work to recruit up to 1,000 healthcare workers from overseas with a $2.5 million investment to help fund their relocation and provide dedicated support so they can get to work in Victoria as soon as possible.

“The group will include both returning Australian healthcare workers and international recruits. These professionals will be nurses, doctors, midwives and allied health professionals, recruited on the basis of service and system needs,” Mr Foley said.

He said all recruited healthcare workers would have an occupation identified on the Priority Migration Skilled Occupation List. To be eligible, healthcare workers will need to have an existing employment contract with a Victorian health service, have active professional registration, and be ready to travel.

Priority for relocation assistance will be given to the first 1,000 healthcare workers who arrive and commence employment with a Victorian health service, noting the need to support our system as soon as possible, Mr Foley said.

He said the Government would continue to work with the Commonwealth to ensure that access to flights and quarantine for international or Australian healthcare workers does not disadvantage other Australians returning home.

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