The Australian pharmacy profession may see more support to address ongoing workforce shortages as we receive record numbers in applications from overseas-qualified pharmacists. For the fifth consecutive month, the Australian Pharmacy Council (APC) has received record numbers in skills eligibility applications.

Since July, the APC has seen a more than 100% increase in applications compared the same period last year, indicating that overseas trained pharmacists are wanting to register in Australia. This could mean increased pressure on APC staff and the Department of Home Affairs (DHA) to process applications within standard timeframes. However, APC's operations have been further streamlined to manage the high demand.

The DHA has announced their first priority is processing visa applications in relation to a healthcare or teaching occupation. Visa application processing times are at the discretion of the DHA, not the APC.

To address the high demand, the APC has increased capacity in the Skills Assessment team by hiring more people to assess applications and process Skills Assessment Outcomes.

The APC's user-centred approach to operations also now includes a dedicated Candidate Relationship Team providing support through what can be a complex and at times challenging journey for candidates.

"Candidates migrate to Australia for various reasons and can often be leaving behind difficult situations. Whilst the Assessment Team process the high number of applications, the Candidate Relationship Team is here to ensure that people's concerns are being heard and unique circumstances are being prioritised," said Chief Operating Officer, Brett Streatfeild.

High numbers are also anticipated for the next KAPS Exam session being held in March 2023. This follows APC's most recent exams in July and November being the largest ever undertaken by the APC. KAPS candidates are eligible applicants wishing to migrate from all countries other than UK, USA, Canada and Ireland.

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