Support for healthcare workers, including advice on self-isolation, quarantine and emergency accommodation.
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Protecting our healthcare workers

Victoria’s healthcare workers are the last line in our defence against coronavirus (COVID-19).

Protecting our healthcare workers (PDF) sets out the very latest in our understanding of coronavirus (COVID-19) and how it can spread within healthcare settings – both hospitals and aged care facilities.

It also outlines the additional steps that will be taken in order to help address these challenges.

Advice for frontline workers

If your normal work involves moving between health services, you can continue to do this to provide care and do your job.  

But you must not go to work if you are unwell.

For more details, see:

Getting tested as a healthcare or aged care worker

If you have symptoms of coronavirus you should get tested. When you get tested you should tell the person taking your test that you are a healthcare or aged care worker to ensure your test results are given priority.

For more information, please see the Assessment and testing criteria for coronavirus (COVID-19) page.

A healthcare worker is a worker who is a regulated health professional. This includes:

  • Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health practice
  • Chinese medicine (acupuncturists, Chinese herbal medicine practitioners and Chinese herbal dispenser)
  • chiropractic
  • dental (dentists, dental specialists, dental hygienists, dental prosthetists, dental therapists and oral health therapists)
  • medical
  • medical radiation practice (diagnostic radiographers, nuclear medicine technologists and radiation therapists)
  • nursing and midwifery (registered nurses, enrolled nurses, nurse practitioners, and midwives)
  • occupational therapy
  • optometry
  • pharmacy
  • physiotherapy
  • podiatry
  • psychology.

When do I have to quarantine or self-isolate?

You must quarantine for 14 days if you have come into close contact with a confirmed case of coronavirus (COVID-19).

If you have been diagnosed with coronavirus (COVID-19), you are required to self-isolate until you receive a clearance from isolation from the Department of Health and Human Services. The Department will discuss these requirements with you.

Healthcare workers who have returned from overseas will be placed in mandatory quarantine for 14 days.

You must not enter or remain at a hospital in Victoria if:

  • you have been diagnosed with coronavirus (COVID-19) and not yet met the criteria for discharge from isolation.
  • you have arrived in Australia from any country in the past 14 days.
  • you have had known contact with a person who is a confirmed coronavirus (COVID-19) case without using recommended infection control precautions, including use of recommended Personal Protective Equipment (PPE).

If you have taken the recommended infection control precautions while caring for a suspected or confirmed case of coronavirus (COVID-19), including use of recommended Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), you are not considered to be a close contact and do not need to quarantine.

Emergency accommodation for healthcare workers

Frontline worker accommodation (formerly known as Hotels for Heroes) is for workers leading the public health and safety response to coronavirus (COVID-19) who need support to quarantine or isolate safely.

For more information, please see Frontline worker accommodation on the Coronavirus (COVID-19) Victoria website.

Mental health resources

It's important to look after your mental health during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

More information on looking after your mental health is available on the Mental health resources - coronavirus (COVID-19) page.

Coronavirus (COVID-19) health workforce response

Expressions of interest are sought for all clinical skillsets – doctors (general, limited and specialist registrants), nurses, midwives, allied health professionals (therapies and sciences) and paramedics. For further information please visit coronavirus (COVID-19) health worker response.

International Healthcare Professionals – moving to Victoria

  • Are you fully vaccinated and looking for job opportunities in the Victorian health system?
  • Are you ready to return home to Australia or eager for a new adventure?
  • Would you like to combine lifestyle with career choice?

The Victorian Department of Health (the department) continues to support health professionals who are currently located overseas that are seeking to work in health services across metropolitan and regional Victoria. 

This includes Australian healthcare professionals returning to Australia, or those wishing to work in Australia for the first time. 

Why work in Victoria

Victoria is known for its amazing climate, lifestyle and employment opportunities. This is an opportunity to work in our world class public health system and make a difference to the health of the 6.7 million people who live in Victoria.

Health professionals working in our public health sector are able to further develop their career by accessing ongoing education and high-quality, innovative training and development opportunities. 

A range of exciting opportunities exist for doctors, nurses, and allied health professionals working across our excellent facilities with committed multidisciplinary teams across the state.

How we can help

There are currently travel restrictions and quarantine requirements for individuals wanting to come to Australia. This initiative will support overseas healthcare workers recruited by Victorian health services to have a clear and supported pathway into the state. 

Once you have found a suitable position in Victoria and committed to being employed the department can:

  • support your application to obtain registration to practice if necessary 
  • support your application for relevant visas and border exemptions where necessary, and 
  • help you and your immediate family make arrangements to travel to Australia and meet your quarantine and other requirements. 

In addition, the first 1000 workers who arrive and commence employment with a Victorian health service from 1 November 2021 will be eligible for relocation assistance of up to $2,000.

Who can access this program?

Health professionals who:

  • are Australian citizens or residents, or international candidates who have secured a job with a Victorian health service
  • can access Australian registration for their profession. 
  • can obtain an appropriate visa and a COVID-19 border exemption.
  • are fully vaccinated for COVID-19 
  • can be ready to travel to Australia before the end of March 2022. 

Frequently asked questions

Do I need to be vaccinated for COVID-19?

Yes. You will need proof of vaccination for COVID-19. The Australian Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation (ATAGI) has provided advice on a range COVID-19 vaccines that are considered valid in Australia.

COVID-19 vaccines that are currently registered and available for use in Australia are:

  • Comirnaty (Pfizer) – registered for use in people aged 12 years or over
  • mRNA-1273, by Moderna
  • COVID-19 Vaccine AstraZeneca – registered for use in people aged 18 years or over.

For further information regarding recognition of other vaccines please refer to the current ATAGI advice.

Do I require a visa?

If you are an Australian citizen who is returning home you do not require an additional visa.

If you are an international resident you will need to apply for a Visa once you have secured employment with a Victorian public health service. In order to access travel support through this program, your occupation must be listed on the Priority Migration Skilled Occupation List.

What is the Priority Migration Skilled Occupation List?

If you are not a citizen or permanent resident of Australia, in order to obtain a visa you must be included on the Priority Migration Skilled Occupation List (PMSOL).

Currently for health professionals this includes the following professions: 

  • Medical Laboratory Scientist (234611)
  • Hospital Pharmacist (251511)*
  • Industrial Pharmacist (251512)*
  • Retail Pharmacist (251513)*
  • Orthotist or Prosthetist (251912)
  • General Practitioner (253111)
  • Resident Medical Officer (253112)
  • Psychiatrist (253411)
  • Medical Practitioners nec (253999)
  • Midwife (254111)
  • Registered Nurse (Aged Care) (254412)
  • Registered Nurse (Critical Care and Emergency) (254415)
  • Registered Nurse (Medical) (254418)
  • Registered Nurse (Mental Health) (254422)
  • Registered Nurse (Perioperative) (254423)
  • Registered Nurses nec (254499)
  • Social Worker (272511)

For further information regarding who is eligible to enter Australia on the PMSOL please refer to the Commonwealth Department of Home Affairs information

Are my health professional qualifications eligible for recognition and registration in Victoria?

For most healthcare professionals, working in Australia requires registration under the National Registration and Accreditation Scheme. This is to ensure the community has access to a safe healthcare workforce and receive high-quality healthcare services.

The process for gaining registration as a health practitioner in Australia is overseen by the relevant National Boards of Australia, which is supported in its functions by the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency (Ahpra).

Please refer to the relevant National Board websites to see your eligibility for registration.

What is a COVID-19 border exemption?

Australia’s borders are currently closed and entry to Australia is restricted to help prevent the spread of COVID-19. Travel to Australia is currently only available if you are exempt or you have been granted an individual exemption.

In our experience health professionals travelling to Australia under this program are able to access an exemption because you have a critical skill and are working in an occupation listed on the Priority Migration Skilled Occupation List (PMSOL).

For further information on border exemptions please visit Australian Government: Travel restrictions and exemptions.

Can I bring my family?

Yes. Immediate family members are eligible to travel under this scheme with the health care worker if they are Australian citizens, or if they qualify for an appropriate visa. 

Please refer to the department of immigration website to confirm if your family will qualify for a Subsequent entrant visa: Temporary Skill Shortage visa (subclass 482) Subsequent entrant (homeaffairs.gov.au)

Definitions of family can be found on the Commonwealth website.

When will I need to travel?

As soon as possible. This scheme is available for health care professionals who are able to travel between now and March 2022.  

Your employment arrangements should commence following completion of quarantine requirements and your subsequent community relocation into Victoria.

How much will this cost?

Relocating across countries can be an expensive business. By using this pathway you will receive assistance to book flights at the most reasonably available fares, and travel at a time that suits you best. You will also need to pay for your health professional registration, visas and other quarantine expenses.

Some employers have local programs to assist international candidates with expenses and other relocation needs.

In recognition of some of these costs, you may be eligible for a one-off payment of $2,000 AUD to health care professionals who work for one of our services. These funds will be transferred to the worker by the employer according to their individual agreements. Please speak to your employing health service about this.

How do I find a job in Victoria?

As is usually the case in Victoria, health services will continue to be responsible for recruiting and on-boarding their own incoming employees.  

There are several ways you can find relevant employment at a public health service in Victoria including: 

  • Contacting a health service that interests you directly - this interactive map will list different hospitals across the state that may be of interest to you.
  • Exploring local employment websites such as seek.com.au
  • For rural and regional roles consider Rural Workforce Agency Victoria
  • Searching for roles via our government websites: Careers.vic

Further information on working in Victoria can be found on Health.vic

Once you have confirmed a role in a Victorian public health service, they will work with our team to support your entry into Victoria.

Health service recruitment sites for international health professionals

Job websites for individual health services can be found here: Victorian health service recruitment sites - COVID-19 (Word)

Metropolitan health services

Regional health services

Bush nursing hospitals

Hospital Surge Support Allowance for hospitals workers and Ambulance Victoria paramedics

Find out who is eligible, how much the Allowance payments are, how long it will be in place and how to receive it. 

About the allowance

The Hospital Surge Support Allowance encourages public hospital and Ambulance Victoria employees to continue their work in priority areas over the COVID surge period. 

Who is eligible for the allowance?

  • Employees of health services (in full-time, part-time roles, and fixed-term roles), Ambulance Victoria and Forensicare are eligible for the Allowance.
  • Health services’ casual bank staff are also eligible for the Allowance.
  • Employees who work patient-facing shifts are eligible for the Allowance. Patient-facing roles are employees in a health-care setting that provide direct face-to-face care to patients in-person (not virtual care).  

Payment amounts

Hospital and Ambulance Victoria employees

Employees working in areas directly supporting face-to-face care to COVID-19 patients in health-services and in Ambulance Victoria callouts (Red Zone) will be eligible to receive an allowance of $60 or $20 depending on their role. Red Zone working environments eligible for each level of Allowance are indicated below.

Workers in areas where they are directly supporting patients in hospitals (Amber Zone) will be eligible to receive an allowance of $30 or $15 depending on their role. Amber Zone working environments eligible for each level of Allowances are indicated below.

Three employee groups working in the following eligible working environments:

Zone Group 1 - Doctors, nurses, midwifery, and allied health professionals, employed students, providing direct, face-to-face care for patients Group 2 - Ambulance Victoria paramedics Group 3 - Patient care attendants and assistants, orderlies, ward clerks, oral health staff, hotel services (e.g., cleaning staff located on wards), technicians that are directly engaging with patients in our hospitals

Red zone

  • Care of patients in Intensive Care Units in COVID-19 streaming health services
  • Care of COVID-19 patients in hospital ward settings (and COVID-19 hospital in the home settings where face-to-face visits are deployed)
  • Emergency departments and maternity assessment services in hospitals
  • Ambulance Victoria callouts and patient transfers
$60 $60 $20

Amber zone

  • Care of patients in Intensive Care Units in non-COVID-19 streaming health services
  • Care of non-COVID-19 patients in all other hospital ward settings (including maternity and acute mental health settings)
  • Care of patients in suspected COVID (SCOVID) areas
  • Urgent care centres
$30 - $15

How long will the allowance be in place?

The allowance will be in place from 11 October 2021 until 10 February 2022. 

How to apply

  • The allowance will be provided to hospital employees by their health service in accordance with existing health service payroll processes, whether those be monthly or fortnightly. 
  • A lump sum payment or backpay may be required while the program is being established. 
  • Health services are required to identify these payments within their systems. Some services may require workers or managers to complete timesheets to claim for this Allowance.

Who is not eligible for the allowance?

The following workers/arrangements are not eligible for the allowance:

  • Workers who are not direct employees of public health services, Ambulance Victoria or Forensicare.
  • Workers in testing and vaccination roles/sites. 
  • Those with working-from-home arrangements or providing telehealth services while working remotely.
  • Workers in administrative, office management, communication, clerical, research and other functions that are not patient facing.
  • Workers in ‘on call’ arrangements where they are not called in.
  • Workers that are employed through third party agencies or who are otherwise not directly employed
  • The allowance will not be payable during absences on leave or where the employee is otherwise absent from work. 

Additional information

Additional information/guidance about this Allowance will be provided to health services, Forensicare and Ambulance Victoria.