Australia welcomes doctors trained overseas—as a matter of fact, almost 25 per cent of the doctors in Australia fall into this category.
If you hold a medical qualification from a medical school outside of Australia or New Zealand and are seeking registration to practise medicine in Australia, you must first be registered with the Medical Board of Australia.
What are the options for assessment?
There are three assessment pathways for International Medical Graduates (IMGs) to achieve registration:
1. Competent Authority pathway
Non-specialists or specialists can seek general registration with the Medical Board of Australia once they have received a job offer. There are a number of international authorities deemed competent to assess the applied medical knowledge and basic clinical skills of IMGs. These authorities are:
- General Medical Council (United Kingdom)
- Medical Council of Canada (LMCC)
- Educational Commission for Foreign Medical Graduates of the United States
- Medical Council of New Zealand
- Medical Council of Ireland
Once your qualification is verified, you can apply for provisional registration. After that is approved, you will complete 12 months of supervised practice, after which you may apply for general registration.
2. Specialist pathway
If you completed your primary study in medicine and surgery at an institution listed in the International Medical Education Directory (IMED) of the Foundation for Advancement of International Medical Education and Research (FAIMER), and you have satisfied all of the training and examination requirements for practising in a particular specialty in your country of training, you can apply using this pathway. There are three routes within the Specialist pathway:
- Specialist recognition: An application to the relevant specialist college to assess capability as a specialist
- Area of need: An application to the relevant specialist college to assess capability in terms of the criteria of an area in need of a particular specialty
- Short-term training (specialist-in-training): An application to the relevant specialist college to complete a period of training in Australia. This does not lead to registration, and one of the other two routes must still be followed after short-term training is complete
3. Standard pathway
If you are not eligible for the Competent Authority or Specialist pathway, the Standard pathway will be for you. If you completed your study at an institution listed in the International Medical Education Directory (IMED) of the Foundation for Advancement of International Medical Education and Research (FAIMER), you can apply using this pathway.
Following approval of your application, you will need to complete a written examination (CAT MCQ) as well as the structured clinical examination of the Australian Medical Council (AMC) or an approved workplace-based assessment program. You will then be able to apply for provisional registration. Finally, you will complete 12 months of supervised practice, after which you may apply for general registration.
Why is a pre-employment interview required?
You may also be required to complete a pre-employment structured clinical interview (PESCI). A PESCI is an objective assessment by the Medical Board of Australia of your knowledge, skills, clinical experience and attributes to determine whether you are suitable to practice in a specific position. If you are planning to work in general practice, you will be required to complete a PESCI as part of the assessment process.
Who conducts the PESCI?
The actual interview is conducted by three people, two of whom will be registered medical practitioners. They will ask questions and provide scenarios to determine your suitability to the clinical and professional demands of your chosen specialty. In Queensland, you can choose to sit the PESCI with any of the following accredited providers:
- Australian College of Rural and Remote Medicine
- AHPRA (in conjunction with the Australian College of Rural and Remote Medicine)
- Queensland Health
What is Australian life and culture like?
Australia is a diverse country, and your experience of it will differ depending on where you live and work. It is a large country with relatively sparse population that is concentrated around the coastline. Australians have a tendency to be humble and laid back in their approach to life, but they are also more than willing to stand up for their countrymen and others when they perceive it to be necessary. They hold their government to task at all times, and leaders of the community are strongly committed to honesty and humanity.
Multiculturalism is ingrained in Australian life, from Aboriginal culture—which permeates much of contemporary Australia by way of children’s stories and notable figures—to immigrant culture, with well-established communities and networks all over the country.
According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics, the top ten countries of origin for Australian residents are:
Communities of people from these countries make up 27 per cent of the Australian population. Over time, this has moulded Australian life into the experience of rich cultural diversity that exists today.
A wide variety of entertainment, architecture and history can be found wherever you end up in Australia, but most significantly in the capital cities: Sydney, Melbourne, Adelaide, Darwin, Brisbane, Perth and Hobart. In all of these locations, it is easy to lose yourself in the untouched wilderness; the vast, rusty desert; the fecund wetlands and the spectacular surf beaches that make Australia so unique.
There is a wealth of information about what to do and see in Australia and in the capital cities, but for more information on some of the hidden gems in Queensland, see our town profiles.
What is the 10-year moratorium for GPs?
Australian legislation affects where many overseas-trained doctors can train and practice as GPs. This means you may only be permitted to work in areas where there are doctor shortages. However, after 10 years, you can work anywhere in Australia.
You might be covered by this legislation if you fit either of the below criteria:
- You did not obtain your primary qualification in Australia or New Zealand and were not registered as a medical practitioner prior to January 1997
- You are an overseas-trained doctor who obtained your primary medical qualification in Australia, but you were not an Australian permanent resident or Australian citizen when you started your study
If either of these applies, the moratorium will as well.
Since 1 July, 2010, the moratorium time requirement may be reduced based on where you work. The more remote the area where you work, the shorter the time requirement becomes, as outlined in the following table:
|RA Classification||RA Category||Scaling % Discount||Restriction Period Reduced to:|
|RA 1||Major cities||Nil||10 years|
|RA 2||Inner Regional||10%||9 years|
|RA 3||Outer Regional||30%||7 years|
|RA 4||Remote||40%||6 years|
|RA 5||Very Remote||50%||5 years|