Medicine is an exciting and rewarding career in Australia – this beautiful and prosperous country has one of the best healthcare systems in the world. In addition, Australia offers great programs, incentives, diverse career opportunities and teaching hospitals, not to mention a high standard of living.

Here are five things you need to know if you’re considering becoming a GP in Australia.

1. Your skills need to be recognised by the Australian Medical Council

Overseas Trained Doctors (OTDs) – referred to as international medical graduates by the Medical Board of Australia (MBA) – whose medical qualifications are from a medical school outside of Australia or New Zealand, and who are seeking registration to practise medicine in Australia, must provide evidence of eligibility to undertake one of the following assessment pathways:Competent Authority pathway, Standard pathway or the Specialist pathway. The assessment process assesses the knowledge and clinical skills of OTDs seeking to qualify for medical registration in Australia. For more information, visit the Medical Board of Australia .

The Australian Medical Council (AMC) is the accreditation authority for the medical profession. One of its roles is to assess the knowledge, clinical skills and professional attributes of OTDs seeking registration to practise in Australia via the Standard pathway. All OTDs, regardless of registration pathway, must apply to the AMC for primary source verification of their medical qualifications. Next up, you will need to meet the requirements of the MBA’s English language skills registration standard.

2. Know your restrictions

OTDs may be eligible to practise, under supervision, in a declared area of need position in Australia. The Medical Board of Australia (MBA) has an approved registration standard for limited registration for areas of need. Where an OTD is seeking to work in a general practice area of need position, an assessment of prior general practice experience and a pre-employment structured clinical interview (PESCI) may be required to assess your skills, knowledge and relevant experience. Detailed information is available on the MBA website. Your residency status will determine any restrictions on obtaining a Medicare Provider Number (MPN).If your residency status changes, you must notify the Department of Human Services (Medicare) as soon as possible, as this will affect your eligibility for a MPN.

3. There’s a process if you have a job offer

If you already have a job offer – well done, you – the next step is to lodge an application for registration with the MBA through Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency (AHPRA).You are again likely to be required to do a PESCI to assess your clinical suitability for the job. AHPRA supports the 15 National Health Practitioner Boards to implement the National Registration and Accreditation Scheme.

You’ll then need to apply to the Department of Home Affairs for a visa to practice in Australia. General practitioners, specialists and hospital non-specialists can apply for a visa if you got your primary medical qualification in a country other than Australia or you got your medical qualifications in Australia but you’re not an Australian permanent resident. Visit Doctor Connect for more information.

4. Recruitment agencies can help you find a job

If you don’t currently have a job in Australia, it’s advisable that you contact a recruitment agency or Rural Workforce Agencies (RWAs) to land yourself that perfect role. RWAs’ main focus is recruitment and retention of general practitioners (family physicians) in rural and remote areas of Australia. If you’re interested in working as a rural general practitioner, contact an RWA near you to guide you through each of the processes, including how to apply to the Department of Home Affairs for a visa to practice in Australia. Find out more information at Doctor Connect.

5. You can get support with your relocation

Once you’ve organised your visas, employment and medical registration for Australia, there is a still a lot to organise, so put your list-making skills to the fore. Rural Workforce Agencies can provide additional support and assistance to OTDs moving to Australia and the Department of Home Affairs has put together handy checklists to help you plan your move, and to set out the important things you need to do before you leave for Australia and once you get here.

Here are some useful links to external websites:

Australian Government’s Department of Home Affairs

Doctor Connect

RACGP

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