Anger over migration plan

furious man

Readers outraged over pharmacy being added to the skilled occupation list and the impact it may have on existing wages and workloads in community pharmacy   

Our readers have been vocal in their response to some of our recent stories.

Readers were especially vociferous on the addition of pharmacists to the Priority Migration Skilled Occupation List (PMSOL), announced by Federal Minister for Immigration, Alex Hawke, and resultant comments from Professional Pharmacists Australia that we should put wages before imports. 

Many readers also linked the decision to ongoing issues relating to sluggish wages growth and increasing workloads in the community pharmacy sector.

Here’s what a selection of what our readers were saying:

Unbelievable, they actually did it. I’m only halfway through my internship but I’m already working on an exit plan. The Guild’s response to workforce attrition is not to improve any of the obvious problems that drive people away, but to open up the ranks to more easily exploited workers.

This is not a knock on immigrants at all – I think there is an abundant supply of intelligent and skilled people in other countries that would make good pharmacists in Australia. But these people are going to face the same problems that employee pharmacists currently do (high workloads, high stress, low support, low wages) with the added stressor of their visa being tied to their employment.

Unscrupulous employers now have even more leverage over their employees when asking them to pull longer shifts and put their registration on the line by taking on ridiculous workloads.

At the end of the day, this will probably harm good pharmacy owners who now have to compete with even more profitable discounters.



Great work Alex Hawke and federal government. It’s pleasing to know our pharmacy ‘leaders’ are advocating to government and taking all steps to mitigate the vaccination status of Australians immediately.

It’s an intelligent act to bring in non-Australian accredited and non- vaccine accredited (in Australia) pharmacists into an oversupplied industry over next 6-12 months that will require examination and months to years of training during COVID and when qualified will further drive drown pharmacist wages. By the time they are in the system COVID will be a routine infection.

Here’s a bright idea- federal government covers cost of first aid, anaphylaxis training and the $700+ vaccination course fee for the tens of thousands of non-vaccine accredited pharmacists standing in pharmacy dispensaries RIGHT NOW!

The Guild will make a fortune in training income and will continue to claim no net increase to pharmacist workload, Win win for the Guild and benefit to the community.

Michael Post


COVID in pharmacy immunisation has an average profit of $21 per shot in metro.
Cost of goods $0, consumables negligible, labour $37 an hour (or fixed if sole pharmacist), rent + electricity etc – FIXED.

To say that they aren’t expecting to make money out of this is disingenuous.

I encourage you apply to work in a mass vaccination centre instead as there is higher pay, better support, work environment, and progression and BEST of all you’re punishing the actions of your greedy owners.

If I was in your shoes getting $37 p/h i’d rather be on a covid disaster payment than risk getting covid at work for a paltry sum.



I work at a really busy discount pharmacy in one of the Western Sydney LGAs currently under strict lockdown and we have been told a positive case attended our pharmacy for over 30 minutes while infectious on Tuesday.

The pharmacy owner has never taken Covid seriously. Thinks the risks are being exagerated. There were no limits on how many people were coming in. Many customers didn’t wear their masks properly.

Now my team and I are isolating and had to be tested. He hasn’t said a word to us expect to follow NSW Health orders.

Tbh, this was the final nail in the coffin for me. Regardless of what my test results will be, I won’t be returning to community pharmacy.

Good luck to these overseas pharmacists flying in. Enjoy your PTSD and peanuts for a salary.

My husband couldn’t believe what I was getting paid when we met until I showed him my payslip! This profession is no profession at all.

Serena Alkhoury


We just got our approval to receive 300 AZ doses next week. The pharmacy owners are both very excited and have been meticulously planning its roll out. As advised by other members on this board, I approached them regarding asking for a bonus or a portion of the vaccination fee since I’m the only qualified immuniser at the pharmacy. One laughed and the other one said this is going to be a community service. We’re not expecting to make any money out of this.

Anyone has any advice on what I should do next? I’m currently thinking to resign. The pandemic has thoroughly burnt out any ounce of passion I had left for this profession. I’m studying engineering part-time anyways. I can always try my hand at entering an intern role at an engineering firm.

James O’Loughlin


The idea that Coles and Woolworths will treat us better seems like a pipe dream to me. The issue is not ownership rules per se (although there are huge problems there), it’s the retail business model combined with the lack of representation for employees.

As long as pharmacy revenue is dominated by dispensing fees and front-of-shop sales, the incentive will be to crank out as many scripts as possible while minimising wages. This wouldn’t necessarily be a problem if there was regulation in place to cap workloads and guarantee fair wages, but there simply isn’t. Supermarkets will just continue the exact same business practices as we have now, probably with a more aggressive push for casualisation and automation.

Side note: I’m actually not against automation, as long as it’s done with the intention to improve working conditions and patient outcomes.



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1 Comment

  1. Paul Sapardanis

    With an explosion in corporate like discount pharmacies that require low wages to be sustainable the guild has decided to make a submission to place pharmacists on the skilled shortage list. The government was always going to say yes. Instead of allowing the pharmacist mass exodus to create wages to rise, and force these owners to question to continue this model the guild decides to make a submission. Long live discount pharmacies and low wages to boot.

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