Australia has lifted visa restrictions that would have limited the work hours of 20,000 foreign student nurses to help deal with the Coronavirus pandemic.
The ease of restrictions, concerning the foreign student nurses working hours, comes as part of an effort by the government of Australia to ease the pressure placed on their aged care sector under the strain of the global Coronavirus (Covid-19) outbreak.
According to Jenny Noyes, writing for Sydney Morning Herald, Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison said that the foreign student nurses who are already studying or working in the country will be made available “to help and support the health effort right across the country, as directed by our health officials.”
Foreign student nurses work in Australia previously limited to 40 hours a fortnight
The article for the Sydney Morning Herald stated that, under their prior visa arrangements, these foreign student nurses were restricted to a maximum of 40 hours work a fortnight.
This initiative will enable a greater support for the acute health sector.
The new legislation will now enable these foreign student nurses in Australia to work the same number of hours as their Australian nursing peers.
Initiative will enable greater support for Australian healthcare during Coronavirus pandemic
According to Jenny Noyes, a New South Wales Health spokesperson said that this “welcome” initiative would enable the foreign student nurses to better support Australia’s healthcare sector in the midst of the Coronavirus pandemic.
Brett Holmes, General Secretary of the NSW Nurses and Midwives Association, did welcome the announcement in a statement to the Sydney Morning Herald, but placed significant stress on ensuring that these foreign student nurses were working under safe, supervised conditions.
“There’s already a high level of demand for nursing staff, particularly in the aged care sector, but also in the public health system, and that will only increase in the coming months.
“There’s definitely an opportunity for nursing students to assist in this health crisis, but measures must be in place to ensure they can practice safely.”
He also stressed the need for personal protective equipment, such as face masks, to be made readily available for frontline nursing staff.
Josephine Walbank is a reporter for Global Education Times (GET News) with a focus on education in the UK, Asia-Pacific, and Americas, and student experience and lifestyle news.
Josephine is an experienced journalist who previously served as the Editor-in-Chief of The Falmouth Anchor. She is also the former Deputy Editor of Voices, the Falmouth & Exeter Students’ Union’s publication, and has written for various food and lifestyle publications.
You can reach her at email@example.com