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Victoria puts on its gloves in the talent fight for international nurses

Melbourne, 27 February 2023: In response to ongoing workforce shortages, leading healthcare providers in Victoria are embarking on a large-scale recruitment drive to attract thousands of international healthcare workers to the state.

Ramsay Health Care, Monash Health, St John of God Healthcare, and Eastern Health are among the healthcare heavyweights set to participate in HealthSectorTalent’s Healthcare Job Fairs—the largest event series of its kind globally bringing together medical, nursing, allied health and care professionals seeking new job opportunities.

The fairs, which will be held in Australia and in nine cities across the UK, Ireland, Canada, and New Zealand, will attract more than 10,000 healthcare jobseekers. They will provide Australian employers, like Ramsay Health Care, with a unique opportunity to connect in person with international jobseekers and recruit on the spot.

Australia’s nursing shortages are well documented. Even prior to the pandemic, Australia faced shortages owing to population growth and an ageing population, fewer graduates, and a decline in nurses relocating to Australia from other countries. Covid-19 only compounded the issue, with more sick people to care for and healthcare workers continuing to experience burnout, fatigue, and job dissatisfaction.

Today Australia is increasingly under threat of losing talent to countries like Canada and New Zealand which are taking bold measures to lure healthcare workers to their shores. 

Canadian province Ontario recently announced its intention to introduce legislation that would immediately allow nurses from the rest of Canada to work in Ontario, which is currently not possible. If successful, this move by Ontario would likely see other provinces follow suit—resulting in greater mobility for nurses within Canada. 

Nathan Cox, managing director of HealthSectorTalent in Australia, says: “The restrictions on inter-provincial work and travel for international nurses in Canada have long acted as a deterrent to talent; with international health workers forced to obtain professional registration in each province. International nurses in Australia meanwhile have always enjoyed the freedom of being able to live and work wherever they want once registered.” 

“Given Canada is Australia’s biggest competitor for international nurses from the UK and Ireland, anything that makes the country more attractive to them is bad news for Australian hospitals. Victorian healthcare providers are wise to be putting themselves directly in front of the talent they need.”

Further intensifying the competition for talent, New Zealand has recently moved to grant international nurses, midwives, and specialist doctors’ immediate eligibility for permanent residency in a bid to ease its labour crunch.

Healthcare providers are acutely aware of the skill shortages they face and are therefore needing to adopt creative solutions to hire. Victoria is currently leading the charge in this area, with over 760 overseas healthcare workers taking up employment in Victorian public health services since April last year.

Chief People Officer, Caren Schadel, said domestic and international recruitment was a key strategy for Ramsay Health Care.

“We are looking forward to meeting with jobseekers at the upcoming Healthcare Job Fairs. We have a wealth of professional opportunities on offer to suit any stage of a person’s career. As Australia’s largest and most diverse private hospital operator, people are at the heart of our success, and recruitment and development of talent is a key strategy to help us continue to deliver outstanding patient care,” Ms Schadel said.

The Department of Health Victoria is the destination sponsor of HealthSectorTalent’s Healthcare Job Fairs globally. As part of the sponsorship, Victorian Government representatives and healthcare employers will attend fairs globally to attract and recruit international nurses into the Victorian public healthcare system.  

The first Healthcare Job Fair will be held on March 4 in Melbourne. For more information visit:

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