Since the Australian borders have opened, and with healthcare professionals looking to get a better work-life balance after the two years of COVID, Australia more than ever has become a destination for a new start. The good news is that there are vacancies available across Australia, with a number of health districts looking at overseas candidates to form part of their recruitment pipeline.
One of the first considerations for anybody looking to work in Australia permanently is what visa should they go over on. While many are quick to overlook the TSS visa, in preference for PR Sponsorship, it would be important to consider all options, especially if you want to get over to Oz sooner rather than later.
TSS Visa (also known as subclass 482)
This is a sponsored visa, which means you need an approved employer to sponsor you. Presently it is the hospital’s preferred visa route for overseas candidates. It allows for quicker movement of candidates from the interview to the start date. There is no requirement for a skills assessment (ANMAC) for the TSS visa, reducing waiting time and cost factors. It also allows people to test the locations and job opportunities to make sure it is what they want.
PR Visa (Independent and Sponsored)
With this visa, you can get yourself through a points system, or get an approved employer to sponsor you. It does require a skills assessment (ANMAC), which takes time and costs more. It gives visa holders the same rights as other permanent residents. However, for most payments and concessions available a newly arrived residents waiting period (NARWP) applies. This is from one to four years. (find out more). If a hospital provides direct PR sponsorship they will seek assurances that employees are committed to the hospital for a minimum of 2-3 yrs.
Pathway to PR
Currently, the preference for hospitals is to allow overseas candidates to follow a pathway to PR. This means they start their journey on a TSS Visa before moving on to a PR nomination. This allows new employees to get accustomed to their new role and life in Australia. Additionally, it ensures they are happy with the hospital and location before settling down. A decision to support a PR nomination is made after the employee completes their probationary period, which normally occurs between 6 – 12 months. Once both parties agree, the hospital nominates the candidate for a PR visa (PR 186 Direct Entry).
Benefits of taking the pathway to PR for candidates
- Candidates get a chance to test out if they like the location, hospital and role before making a decision to settle permanently.
- Quicker timeframe moving over on a TSS visa, with a planned PR status within 2-3 years.
- You get to complete your PR application in Australia, which is easier in terms of being in the same time zone and getting documents notarised (justices of the peace are easily accessible and free in Australia).
- It also allows candidates to start their life in Australia instead of doing it from an off-shore position. You get to enjoy the lifestyle, weather and remuneration packages while waiting for your PR visa to come through.
- You are working in the Australian Health system, building a professional network, developing your clinical skills and accessing career opportunities while waiting for your PR visa.
General Concerns with starting on TSS Visa
Additional School Charges (applicable in NSW)
Applicants on a TSS visa in NSW, are liable to pay a temporary resident administration and education fee to enrol in a government school (Temporary Resident Programme). The costs range from $5600 to $6400 per year (40 school weeks) per child. It is paid upfront or half a year in advance.
The pathway to PR has a 2 to 3-year timeframe, all goes well, this means that your liability for the additional school fees is not forever. Additionally, this cost is not applicable if your child is not of school-going age. The cost of the school fees for one child, in one year, is approx. 6% of the annual salary of an RN8 in NSW. Where it will get tricky is if you have more than 2 children of school-going age, or where there is only one income in your household.
Getting a mortgage when you are a Temporary Resident
As a temporary resident, your job is temporary and reliant on your visa. Therefore, it is unlikely a bank will support your request for a mortgage. This may impact your ability to buy a house immediately.
Realistically, how often do you move to a new place and instantly buy a house within the first year or two? The first few years of a big change like moving country is finding the lay of the land. It is important to experience what public transport is like, how far are the amenities, where are your friends located and what commuting times are before settling down in your forever Australian home. Moving to Australia will be no different. By the time you are ready to buy, you will be close to, if not already, enjoying PR status.
Permanent Move, want stability for the family
A temporary resident visa is temporary in name and nature. This means technically, should anything unexpected happen your role is temporary and there are no guarantees.
When you are nominated for a TSS visa you will be offered a two or four-year visa. A hospital offering a pathway to PR is looking to have that completed within 2 to 3 years. Hospitals are aware of the need for security for families, and their commitment to this security is to facilitate conversion to PR186 if both parties agree. This is advantageous because a PR 186 (Direct Entry) visa does not require any points as it is sponsored by your employer. Remember you always have the option to control your PR Journey by applying for your own PR Independent visa (in or outside of Australia), however, many are put off by the highly competitive nature of the visa points process.
Some people don’t want to stay longer than 2 years, some people want to stay forever from the moment they land. It’s very hard to get a one size fits all approach to these individualised scenarios. Ultimately, you decide what is best for you and your family. However, Hospitals that have committed to a defined, transitionary pathway to get you settled in your long-term position are worth considering, as an alternative to waiting for a PR visa off-shore. The majority of public hospitals prefer this route, as they feel it is fair to both sides, allowing all parties time for the transition. This preference may change over the next 18 months as shortages become more acute, but worth considering if you want to start your journey sooner!
ICE Group have a number of vacancies for all specialities of Nurses in NSW, if you want to see what opportunities are available visit our website on www.icejobs.ie or find out about our Healthcare Recruitment opportunities here.
ICE Group are not a registered migration agent, therefore, this blog provides considerations to issues that candidates raise during the recruitment process. If you want to find out specific advice or guidance on Australia visas, please refer to the Government Website – Department of Home Affairs, or contact a registered migration agent.