What Visa Do I Need to Work as a Vet in Australia?

By Corinne Wigfall BVMBVS(hons)

Thinking of heading to the land down under? This large and beautiful continent is currently experiencing what can only be described as a veterinary drought so any interest in working in Australia, even short term is greatly appreciated. With its large array of unique species and a vast land mass of varying scenery, Australia is a world of its own. It’s not without risks though, so pack your sunscreen and nerves of steel, as Australia can be wild with a hint of danger from the local wildlife.

Still with us? Great, sounds like you’re keen on an Aussie adventure! As a veterinarian wanting to work in Australia, getting a visa is fairly easy and employers are keen to help. Australia has a huge range of job options available, from high-intensity inner-city emergency work to remote towns in the outback using helicopters to fly between station farms. Aussies are very used to vets traveling for an overseas experience, and job offers are often geared to attract you to remoter areas with perks such as accommodation or even a holiday at the end of your stay!

Register Today with The Vet Service and explore your options. we have many Australia Vet Job opportunities and our expert area advisor will be more than happy to help with visa discussions. Contact us today!

Veterinary registration

To work as a veterinarian in Australia, you must be registered with the veterinary board, and each state e.g. Queensland has its own licensing authority. This is important if you are considering being a locum or traveling between states for work, as multiple registrations can become expensive. Degrees obtained in the UK, NZ, and America are recognized, but for some other countries registration may be restricted or denied, so always check if you are eligible for registration before applying for a visa.

Visa types

So, what visa should you apply for? The four visas below should cover most situations, but there are many different visas a veterinarian can apply for to work in Australia. This means that there are lots of options, and the chances of successfully obtaining a visa to work in Australia as a veterinarian are high! For a more detailed understanding of your visa options make sure to speak with our expert team of advisors.

Temporary Skill Shortage Visa subclass 482

This visa allows you to stay up to two years, with unrestricted travel in and out of the country. The skills shortage visa is a pathway to permanent residency should you decide to stay longer. Usually, 75% of applications are processed within 30 days. For full eligibility information get in touch with our Area Advisors.

Employer Nomination Scheme Visa (subclass 186)

This visa gives you the right to live and work and study indefinitely in Australia, and there is the option of bringing eligible family members with you on this visa. This visa is a pathway to citizenship if you decide to stay longer. Processing times are longer than the temporary visas. For application requirements and processing time details connect with us at your earliest convenience.

Skilled Independent visa subclass 189

If you are considering permanently relocating to Australia and are under 45, with or without the family, this is the visa for you. It’s a points-based system that gives permanent residency in Australia. You do not need to be tied to a job offer to apply, and you are permitted to use the Australian health system.

Skilled Employer Sponsored Regional (Provisional) Visa subclass 494

Wanting to go bush or remote? This visa allows you to work anywhere in Australia that is not Sydney, Melbourne, or Brisbane. With this visa, you can stay and work for up to 5 years working for the same employer.

There are a few restrictions for this visa so it’s best to have a chat with our expert area advisors to prepare yourself.

With this visa, you can apply for family to accompany you, and apply for residency after 3 years if you like the lifestyle. This visa is costly and can take around a year to be approved.

Top Tips

Working in a foreign country can be tough, particularly when moving to a country that has a different disease prevalence such as cane toad toxicity or snake bites. Ask your future employer for a cheat sheet or consider joining the popular Facebook group ‘Australian Veterinarian Network’ for an idea on the caseload commonly seen in this country.

Working in the outback or rural communities can be tough, and you are often in sole charge with on-call responsibilities. Really consider if you have enough experience to be able to handle cases alone without backup or the ability to refer cases to specialists/emergency facilities easily.

Health insurance is essential, as the Australian Health system is only accessible to Citizens or permanent residents. Talk to potential employers to learn more about what cover you will need.


The thought of moving overseas can be daunting, but getting a visa to work in Australia is actually very easy, with ten different types of visas available to veterinarians with at least two years of work experience. Employers are very motivated to help you move to Australia because of the severe staffing shortages, and will often include benefits such as health cover, accommodation, or a car if living in remote areas.

Australia is on many a bucket list for a reason, and you will not be short of a story to tell on your return from a visit down under!

Get in touch today to see how we can help with your vet career. We have lots of opportunities available in Australia and Globally! Register Today!

Once you have registered you can take a browse at the full range of Veterinary Jobs we offer worldwide: Vet Jobs in Australia, Vet Jobs in New Zealand, Vet Jobs in Canada, Vet Jobs in The USA, Vet Jobs in The UK, Vet Jobs in Ireland , and further International Vet Jobs.  

Don’t forget to check out our other visa blogs:

Ready to Find your Ideal Veterinary Role?

Please fill out the form below to register for our international veterinary job finding service.

Once we have some initial ideas on your preferences, we will be in touch with the most suitable vet jobs for you.

Our service is 100% free for vet job seekers!