Veterinarians had been added to Australia’s precedence migration record however the trade has extra points than simply workers

Veterinarians say measures to accelerate the arrival of foreign veterinarians in Australia will not be enough to fill crucial gaps in regional and rural areas.

  • Veterinarians have been added to the list of priority migrant professions
  • Rural and remote vets hope it will attract more vets to Australia
  • The president of the Australian Veterinary Association said there were no promises about where the vets would work

The federal government this month added veterinarians to Australia’s list of priority migrant occupations (PMSOL) in response to critical staff shortages in the US.

Warwick Vale, president of the Australian Veterinary Association, said having veterinarians on the priority migration list would bring more professionals into the country, but not necessarily where they were most needed.

“It is hoped that some of these vets will end up in rural and regional areas,” he said.

“But it’s also possible that it doesn’t get as great results as people expect.”

A veterinary industry spokesman says the business model for providing veterinary services to countries and regional areas has been broken. (

ABC North West Queensland: Kelly Butterworth


“Broken” business model

Dr. Vale said there were broader issues in the industry, including wear and tear.

“People find that vet careers are simply not sustainable in the long run. So they quit full-time and mostly do part-time in these circumstances, or leave their job altogether.” ,” he said.

“‘I am concerned that, by and large, the business model for providing veterinary services to countries and regional areas has been broken.

“If you can graduate from a veterinary school in Australia and you are in debt up to $ 300,000 on graduation and then you can start on a starting salary of [$47,000] Up to $ 50,000 for a full-time job can quickly and easily get you paid for it and find that it is unsustainable. “

Dr. Vale has led the fight to improve the industry to the fair work ombudsman.

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Long days for lonely vets

Gillian Tenni of Mount Isa Veterinary Surgery said recruiting has always been difficult but now nearly impossible.

“There is a shortage of veterinary medicine, it is very difficult for a lot of clinics to recruit veterinarians, and I know there are hundreds and hundreds of jobs right now if you look at veterinary recruitment positions,” she said.

“We’ve been running an ad since September and we haven’t let anyone reply.

“It was very stressful and difficult.”

Dr. Tenni has owned the clinic for three years.

“Some days we work 12-14 hours a day, and we’re a clinic outside of business hours on top of that, so being on call 24/7 only adds to exhaustion,” she said.

“Sometimes you have many, many missions at midnight or two in the morning … but that’s not always the case.”

Dr. Tenni said adding veterinarians to the qualification list for migration during the pandemic was something she hoped would benefit rural areas.

“I really hope it will help, and I hope they give preference to rural areas that have problems … like we did on Mount Isa,” she said.

A young veterinarian with glasses is holding a cat. Vet Katelyn Stretton said there have been some applications from migrants since the visa was changed.

ABC North West Queensland: Emma Cillekens


Customer training ‘key’

Katelyn Stretton, who owns North West Veterinary Surgery, said how Dr. Tenni, she worked alone after a former vet resigned in February 2020.

She said there is no easy solution, but public education is crucial.

“I think getting more veterinarians to apply for jobs is definitely important,” said Dr. Stretton.

“I think it definitely has a lot to do with customer understanding and expectations, I think.

“We need a tool that customers can use to understand what is going on in a veterinary clinic, how it works, and what they ultimately are.

“Medicare doesn’t exist for pets, we’re all just trying to run a business and save all pets.”

Dr. Stretton said new changes to the visa system had caused them to push again on migrant workers.

“Since veterinarians were added to this priority list, there have actually been quite a few applications in the past three or four days, which is very exciting,” she said.

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