Australian physiotherapists step up to hire refugees
8 Nov, 2021 Written By Jessie Mawson
In response to the crisis in Afghanistan, the Australian Physiotherapy Council (APC) and Australian Physiotherapy Association (APA) are partnering with TBB to launch Physios for Refugees – which aims to facilitate local jobs for Afghan physiotherapists who are in urgent need of a pathway to safety.
Having a job offer in Australia, and an employer willing to sponsor them, will enable Afghan and other refugee physiotherapists and their families to travel to Australia on skilled visas (a much faster and more certain route than waiting for a place through the oversubscribed humanitarian program).
The process for employers interested in participating in this project:
1) Email Talent Beyond Boundaries to request a copy of our physiotherapist candidate list
If you are an Australian employer interested in hiring a physiotherapist through this project, please email Louna Ghawi from Refugee Talent (TBB’s recruitment partner is Australia) stating your full name, and your business ABN.
Louna will send you a copy of the candidate list (candidates will be de-identified, for security reasons) and schedule a briefing to discuss the hiring process.
Note: If you are an employer outside of Australia, you too can hire refugees from our pool of forcibly displaced physiotherapists. Simply fill out our Request to Hire form and we’ll be in touch.
2) Conduct job interviews
Working with Refugee Talent, TBB will support you through the remote recruitment process. This includes facilitating video link interviews and any other validation/testing employers require.
3) Issue job offer
If the candidate is a good fit, you issue a job offer and contracts are signed. The job offer must:
- Meet Australia’s National Employment Standards;
- Be a full-time employment contract for at least two years with the possibility of renewal;
- Offer at least a base salary $53,900 or market salary, whichever is greater.
4) Apply for visa
Engage a migration agent to assist with the visa application process (TBB can recommend a suitable practitioner if necessary). TBB will issue an endorsement for you to access the Government’s Skilled Refugee Labour Agreement Pilot Program.
5) Settlement planning
TBB will help you prepare for the arrival of your new recruit, including engaging the relevant settlement services in your area.
6) Post-arrival support
TBB and Refugee Talent will provide ongoing support via regular check-ins with your new recruit and their direct manager for 12 months post-arrival.
Accreditation in Australia
The candidates shortlisted for this program are qualified and experienced, but they may not be able to practice as physiotherapists in Australia straight away. They will need to go through a process to have their qualifications recognised and apply for registration with the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency (Ahpra).
Therefore, we’re seeking employers who are willing to bring physiotherapists to Australia in roles such as:
- Aged & Disability Carer
- Personal Care Assistant
- Therapy Aid
Once in Australia candidates can apply to the APC to progress through the assessment process. The APC will provide support through the process for these new recruits.
Timelines for relocation
For physiotherapists still situated within Afghanistan, the situation is precarious. It may not be safe for them to exit the country for some time. For this reason, we’re asking employers to make candidates a ‘standing offer’, and be patient while the candidate, along with TBB and our partners, determine when/how relocation is possible.
For physiotherapists living displaced outside Afghanistan, the situation is more straightforward. In most cases, these candidates and their families could be in Australia as soon as 8-12 weeks after their visa application is lodged.
The overall cost of hiring a displaced physiotherapist from overseas is comparable with that of any normal international hire. To participate in this program, employers must be willing to cover the below costs:
- Visa-related costs
Visa charges for the candidate (and their spouse and children, if applicable); the Skilling Australians Fund levy; migration agent fees, etc
- Relocation costs
Contribution to flights for the candidate (and their spouse and children, if applicable); temporary accommodation upon arrival, local settlement support (if required), etc
The above costs are highly variable depending on the size and circumstances of your chosen candidate and their family. Read more about costs and timelines here.
Note: Neither TBB nor Refugee Talent charge a fee for our services.
I already know a refugee physiotherapist that I want to bring to Australia. Can you help me?
Maybe. This depends on the candidate’s individual circumstances. As a first step, direct any displaced person seeking international employment to register on TBB’s Talent Catalog. Then complete TBB’s Request to Hire form and we’ll contact you to discuss.
Will candidates be able to complete the NDIS Worker Screening Check?
If a NDIS Worker Screening Check is required you will need to assist the candidate to obtain this check. TBB can help the candidate gather the necessary visa and identity documents.
Can I employ refugee physiotherapists from countries other than Afghanistan?
Yes! TBB is also working with displaced physiotherapists from other countries – Syrians, Iraqis, and Palestinians – and would be delighted to share these candidates with employers for consideration.
Won’t Covid-19 travel restrictions prevent people from entering Australia?
Candidates coming to Australia on permanent visas through the Skilled Refugee Labour Agreement Pilot program are treated like any other Australian permanent resident and are able to enter the country without a travel exemption.
For more information:
Contact Sathya Gnarakaran, TBB’s ANZ Director.