Changes to orthotist/prosthetist migration arrangements

On the 1st of July 2017, Australian Orthotic Prosthetic Association (AOPA) was formally announced as the Assessing Authority responsible for conducting migration skill assessments for the profession of Orthotist/Prosthetist (251912). All internationally qualified orthotic/prosthetic practitioners must now complete AOPA’s competency assessment process prior to being granted a Skilled Migration Visa. “This is a major change in Government policy that has been influenced by AOPA’s recent work to develop robust Entry Level

Competency Standards and Assessment of Competence processes” states AOPA Chair, Harvey Blackney. “This change will ensure orthotic and prosthetic services are only delivered by appropriately trained and certified practitioners, and is a public protection mechanism”.

AOPA is the peak professional body responsible for representing and self regulating the orthotic/prosthetic profession in Australia. Orthotist/Prosthetists are allied health practitioners who assess the physical and functional limitations of people resulting from illnesses and disabilities, including limb amputations, and provide orthoses and prostheses to restore function or compensate for muscular and skeletal disabilities. The orthotic/prosthetic profession is critically small in Australia, with an estimated 450 – 500 practitioners providing amputee and disability services nationally. “We have a pipeline issue for the development of the workforce”,

“We have a pipeline issue for the development of the workforce”, explains Mr Blackney, “however it is important that skilled migration to address workforce gaps is appropriately regulated”.

Up until 1st July, the skills assessment for migration as an orthotist/prosthetist was being conducted by an external organisation without regulatory involvement in the profession of orthotist/prosthetists. This process was conducted based on an assessment of qualifications, skills and experience for the orthotic/prosthetic profession and was not in alignment with entry level practice requirements and certification standards for the profession.

AOPA has been working closely with the Department of Education and Training to take responsibility for skills assessment for orthotist/prosthetists wishing to migrate to Australia. This process was formalised following approval by the Minister for Immigration, Peter Dutton, with AOPA listed as the official Assessing Authority for skilled migration on 1st July 2017. This change ensures that all internationally qualified practitioners seeking migration based on the skilled profession orthotist/prosthetist (251912) are assessed against robust practitioner
competency standards.

It is the achievement of major change in Government policy which is most rewarding for AOPA and important to Australian consumers. AOPA Executive Officer, Leigh Clarke states this change “highlights the essential role of AOPA and other self-regulating bodies in practitioner certification. It supports growth of an appropriately qualified and competent allied health workforce to deliver safe and effective services to the Australian community”.

More detailed information about the skills assessment application process can be found on the AOPA website:
https://www.aopa.org.au/membership?information/skills?assessment?for?migration

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