Seeking help from overseas


Pharmacists have been added to the skilled migrant list to boost vaccine rollout, government says

The Federal Minister for Immigration has announced that pharmacists have been included on the Priority Migration Skilled Occupation List (PMSOL), with the aim of “supporting Australia’s COVID-19 vaccine rollout through skilled migration”.

Alex Hawke, the Minister for Immigration, Citizenship, Migrant Services and Multicultural Affairs, announced the inclusion of pharmacists on the PMSOL today (27 July). 

“With thousands of community pharmacies across Australia being invited to join the COVID-19 vaccine rollout, it’s all hands to the pump as the COVID-19 vaccine rollout continues,” Mr Hawke said.

“The Morrison Government will support pharmacies across Australia, including through skilled migration, as supply of COVID-19 vaccine doses increases over the coming weeks,” he added.

The announcement comes as more pharmacies are being activated into the vaccination program, following much criticism of their initial lack of involvement.

Speaking on radio this morning, Federal Health Minister Greg Hunt said “the opening up of the pharmacy program is continuing and expanding. We will have 251 pharmacies on board around Australia this week. That will increase shortly to 470, and over the course of August, over 3,900 pharmacies are qualified”.

A spokesperson for the Pharmacy Guild of Australia said the Guild was “examining the decision” to see what impact it would have on the pharmacy workforce.  

The new inclusions on the list as announced by Mr Hawke are (including ANZSCO codes):

  • Hospital Pharmacist (251511)
  • Retail Pharmacist (251513)
  • Industrial Pharmacist (251512)

This addition of three occupations brings the PMSOL to 44 in total. Priority visa processing will be given to those occupations on the PMSOL, Mr Hawke said.

Existing skilled migration occupation lists remain active, and all skilled migrants are subject to quarantine arrangements at their own expense.



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  1. Michael Post

    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!

    Here’s a good issue for Adjunct Professor Trent Twomey to aggressively take to the powers that be- the Guild will make a fortune in training income and will continue to claim no nett increase to pharmacist workload, Win win for the Guild and benefit to the community,

  2. Paul Sapardanis

    Extremely disappointed in the guilds decision to make a submission to put pharmacists on the skilled shortage list. As a guild member I am paying the guild to make decisions to help my major competitor ( no guild members btw ). Unfortunately community pharmacy is condemned to be a JOB done by immigrants in the future.

  3. Sean

    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.

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