Australia is currently facing a shortage of pharmacists, which has opened up opportunities for international pharmacists to immigrate and gain employment in the country. In addition, the country offers the possibility of permanent residency after three years of practice, which is an attractive incentive for pharmacists who are considering immigration.
To begin the immigration process, pharmacists must register with the Pharmacy Board of Australia (AHPRA) and complete an International Criminal History Check. They must then apply for the Skilled Employer Sponsored Regional (Provisional) 494 VISA, which requires finding suitable employment with an employer that has approval from the Regional Certifying Body in the nominated area. The position must be full-time and likely to be available for three years until the candidate applies for a 191 Visa for permanent residency. Retail pharmacy must be on the occupation list, which it currently is. Applicants must also be under 45 years of age, have at least three years of full-time and relevant work experience, and have a demonstrable English competence prior to lodgement (IELTS 6.0).
After applying for the 494 VISA, pharmacists must pass the Australian Pharmacy Council Exam, which involves either the knowledge stream or competency stream. Candidates in the knowledge stream must complete an internship, while competency stream candidates need to pass the Competency Assessment of Overseas Pharmacists (CAOP) Examination. Both streams require passing an eligibility test and an exam, which cost AU$1,290 and AU$2,140, respectively.
Once candidates have passed the exam and met all the requirements, they can complete a period of supervised practice with their new employer. On completion of 75% of the practice hours, candidates in both competency and knowledge streams can take a registration assessment directed by the Pharmacy Board, which includes oral and/or written exams and assesses a candidate’s knowledge of pharmacy law and ethics.
After completing the supervised practice hours, candidates can obtain their general registration and apply for a Skilled Regional 191 Permanent Residency VISA. This VISA allows pharmacists to stay and work in Australia permanently and grants the power to sponsor relatives to Australia, and if eligible, apply for citizenship.
In summary, immigrating pharmacists to Australia have a structured process to follow, beginning with registering with the Pharmacy Board of Australia and completing an International Criminal History Check. After that, they can apply for the 494 VISA and pass the Australian Pharmacy Council Exam. Finally, they must complete a period of supervised practice and apply for a Skilled Regional 191 Permanent Residency VISA.