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International medical migration: what is the future for Australia?

This is a republished version of an article previously published in MJA Open

Despite goals for self-sufficiency, migration seems certain to remain an imperative for Australia for the foreseeable future

Australia has developed extraordinary reliance on international medical graduates (IMGs) compared with other OECD (Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development) countries. Based on analysis of an unprecedented range of secondary data, I aim to define the recent scale and sources of medical migration, IMGs’ immigration categories, their distribution, their performance in the Australian Medical Council examinations, and the impact of the Competent Authority Pathway.

From the 2005–06 financial year to 2010–11, 17 910 IMGs were sponsored to Australia on a temporary basis, with a further 2790 selected as permanent skilled migrants.1,2 Thousands of additional IMGs arrived unfiltered in advance for human capital attributes, admitted as spouses and through Australia’s family or humanitarian categories. Recent IMGs have trained in highly diverse countries, associated with very…