Migrating to Australia as a Doctor

For an International Medical Graduate (IMG) to work in Australia as a medical practitioner there are three key steps:

  • Obtain a successful skills assessment
  • Get registered with the Australian Medical Board (AMB)
  • Get a visa

But there is a little catch: In order to get registration with the AMB you will need a job offer unless you are successful in gaining registration as a specialist.

No matter how many years of experience you have in your home country, your initial registration in Australia will be either limited or provisional – with the exception of specialists. This means that you will need to complete 12 months of supervised practice (minimum of 47 weeks of full-time service) before gaining general registration.

Gaining registration is easier for doctors who trained and/or are registered to practice in the the UK, Canada, USA, New Zealand and Ireland. The Australian Medical Board recognises that practitioners from these countries have essentially equivalent qualifications. Therefore the skills assessment and registration process revolves around verification of those qualifications and work experience.

Practitioners from other countries are required to pass both a written (AMC CAT MCQ) examination and the AMC clinical examinations, which are administered by the Australian Medical Council (AMC). In some cases a workplace-based assessment can be substituted for the clinical examination. Upon successful completion, you can then apply for provisional registration.

Specialists have a different skills assessment and registration pathway which is administered by the College that represents that field of specialisation.

To find out more about the skills assessment process for International Medical Graduates (IMG’s), refer to our Registration and Skills Assessment Blog on this topic

Visa Pathways

Working Holiday Visa

For young doctors, (30 and under) one option may be to come to Australia on a working holiday visa (subclass 417) or a work and holiday visa (subclass 462). You will need to hold a passport from one of the countries participating in the working holiday or work and holiday visa programs. These visas will enable you to travel and work in Australia while looking for employment as a medical practitioner and before commencing the skills assessment and registration process. A working holiday in Australia could also be useful to young doctors who have secured a job offer in Australia; have completed the skills assessment and registration process and are keen to get to Australia quickly. Working holiday visas are usually processed in about 2 weeks.

Temporary Work (457) Visa

This is a common pathway for many medical practitioners and requires you be sponsored by an Australian medical practice. The medical practice must be an approved 457 Standard Business Sponsor. The Department of Immigration and Border Protection is currently taking about 3 months to process 457 visas. The visa is usually granted for 4 years and it enables the doctor to work for the sponsoring medical practice and other medical practices. This visa can provide a very useful stepping stone on the pathway to a permanent residence visa.

Employer Sponsored Migration

There are two programs under this general heading – the Regional Sponsored Migration Scheme (RSMS) Subclass 187 and the Employer Nomination Scheme (ENS) Subclass 186. Both are permanent residence visas but each has a slightly different set of requirements. Doctors generally work on a “self-employed” basis. The Subclass 187 and 186 visa programs require the nominated doctor to be directly employed by the medical practice. The DIBP processing time for these applications is currently 10 to 12 months. You need to have full medical (general or specialist) registration to apply for these visas.

General Skilled Migration

The General Skilled Migration program includes the Independent Skilled (189) Skilled Nominated (190) and Skilled Regional (489) visas. The 189 and 190 visas are permanent residence visas. The 489 visa is a provisional residence visa. – a sort of stepping stone visa. Permanent residence can be achieved by living and working in a regional area for 2 years and meeting additional visa application requirements. All three visas are applied for through Skillselect – which is a points tested program. Points are allocated for qualifications, age, experience and other factors. The 189 and 190 visas provide a swift pathway to permanent residence for doctors who can meet the visa requirements. The Department’s processing time for decision ready applications can be as little as 1 week. You need to have full medical (general or specialist) registration to apply for these visas.

Business Visitor Stream

Some doctors who do not have the qualifications to work in their profession in Australia can undertake a bridging program to gain registration with the relevant Australian Medical Authority. A business visitor stream visa is appropriate for a doctor to undertake a bridging program or to sit their medical board examination.

First Steps

Migrating successfully to Australia as a doctor requires an in-depth understanding of the medical registration and visa application process. Engaging an experienced Australian Registered Migration Agent who is able to provide professional guidance on visa pathways and medical registration requirements can be an important first step. Once your pathway is clearly mapped out, an experienced agent can skilfully navigate you through the hoops and hurdles of the application process. Get in touch today to discuss your visa options and find out how we can help you come to, or remain in Australia

38 thoughts on “Migrating to Australia as a Doctor

  1. hello sir
    am lina from jordan am 31year old am a doctor and a radiologist in my country
    if I apply for specialist pathway what could be my possible outcome
    do I need for AMC examination part 1 and 2 or just 2 on none ??
    I have experience in Jordan for a year and half after my training in radiology
    could you help me please to find my way am lost actually

    tthank you
    best regards
    lina

    • Post Author markstevens

      Hello Lina

      If you are applying for specialist pathway registration as a radiologist then the steps are as we have described in our blog: http://easivisa.com/2017/03/31/registration-and-skills-assessment-for-doctors-imgs/ . For a radiologist this would be:

      Step 1. Confirm that your primary qualification is recognized by the AMC by checking here: http://www.amc.org.au/assessment/list-of-medical-schools. For standard pathway and specialist pathway applicants, your qualification must also be recognized by the World Directory of Medical Schools https://search.wdoms.org/ .

      Step 2. Get Primary Source Verification on all your qualifications. You need to create an EPIC account and submit all your qualifications. You can do this here: http://www.ecfmgepic.org/physicians.html

      Step 3. Once you have an EPIC Account, you need to nominate the Australian Medical Council (AMC) to receive verification status updates.

      Step 4. Establish an AMC Portfolio. They will receive the verifications from EPIC which will be used for your skills assessment. You can apply for an AMC account here: https://account.amc.org.au/sign_in

      Step 5. Start the skills assessment process via the relevant pathway: If you are applying for specialist pathway registration as a radiologist then you need to apply to the Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Radiologists as they are the assessing body. They will advise you what you need to do. Their process is described here: https://www.ranzcr.com/join-our-professions/img/recognition-for-img . On this page you will see that there are two possible pathways – full registration and Area of Need.

      If we can assist you with the visa process once you have your registration, please contact us and we would be happy to help.

  2. my brother in law is a urologist specialist (qualification from UHS Lahore Pakistan) and my sister has worked in hospital for over 10 years and has finished her Gyne/Obs specialist training but is yet to complete part 2 of MRCOG program. Which visas are they eligible to work as doctors in Australia?

    • Post Author markstevens

      Hello Ali,
      Your brother in law and sister may both have different visa options. I would be happy to arrange a skype or phone call with our Principal Migration Agent, Carol-Ann Lynch for them to discuss this.
      Please ask them to email info@easivisa.com so we can arrange a time.

  3. I have a question that I can’t find the answer anywhere. I am an International medical graduate on a 457 visa, working as a Resident Medical Officer in Australia for almost 2 years (at least 12 months being in South Australia). I recently got General Registration with AHPRA but at this stage it is conditional (restricted to work with emergency and General medicine). I can see that Resident Medical Officer is on the skilled list in South Australia and I meet all the requirements (points, work experience etc) for the 190 visa, but I am not sure if I have suitable skills assessment, since my general Registration has conditions.
    Am I eligible for a 190 visa in South Australia as a resident medical officer with a General Registration with conditions ? Since my 457 was granted as resident medical officer, I feel maybe there is a chance that they have already considered my skills suitable.
    Please, help me !

  4. Hi I’m a resident medical officer (243112) currently working in australia on 457. I have full general registration from Med BA. Id like to apply for subclass 189. Can I apply as General Practitioner (253111) as RMO 253112 is not on this years MTSTSO list. Please advise.
    Thanks

  5. Hi. I am currently studying medecine (MBBS) in china. I am from an african country. I will be finishing my undergraduate mbbs next year. I would like to continue my training in australia, perhabs at a hospital.

    What visa options are available to me?

  6. YOUGESH PAL BHANDARI

    Sir, I am MD Anesthesia from india and opted standard pathway and clearedAMC MCQ, now will prepare for AMC clinical. Kindly guide me what are best possible options for me to work in australia as GP and further in my specilised field as soon as possible.

    • Hello Yougesh,

      Thank you very much for your enquiry and I apologise for the delay in coming back to you. I will be pleased to offer guidance on visa pathways for doctors and will send you an email in a moment requesting information.

    • Hi Yougesh

      Congratulations for clearing the AMC exam and good luck for clinicals. Could you please advise how long the process has taken to complete AMC MCQ exam, do we need to register with AMC to assess qualifications. Could you please provide the guidelines when you get a chance.

      Best wishes
      Sri

  7. Hi

    I study medicine in Iran and will finish it the next year; would you please tell me which exams are required to pass in order to get in residency in australia? and which reference texts I should study for?

    Thanks

    • Hi Sanaz,

      Apologies for the delay in responding to your questions. I have just been taught how to use the Blog software so that I can quickly respond to questions. I have just sent you an email requesting further information.

  8. Hello
    This is sheen
    I am Indian resident and I currently pursuing my MD in philippines
    My husband is Australian permanent resident
    What are the Visa condition and processing for me to become doctor over there in short time
    Pls help !

    • Hello Sheen,

      Thank you for your enquiry. It seems that you may have a number of potential visa pathways. I will happy to help you explore your visa options and will send you an email requesting more information.

  9. Hi, I have been working as a hospital doctor for almost two years in Australia. I’m on 457 visa and I only got limited registration with AHPRA. My visa sponsorship is for four years and my hospital is happy to sponsor me for permanent residency. I’m wondering whether I will be eligible for temporary resident transition stream. Is my limited registration a problem at this stage? Please advise me what to do as my next step. Thanks in advance.

    • Hello Isuru. It is possible for a hospital doctor with limited registration to be nominated for permanent residence (186/187 visa) under the direct entry and temporary residence transition stream pathways. It all depends on your particular circumstances, your age etc. If you would like our team to assess your eligibility, please let me know.

  10. Hi. I was pleased to see this blog on IMG doctors and the visa pathway options that can be explored. Im a 36 year old Filipino IMG, graduated from the Philippines, trained and certified in internal medicine in the Philippines, now currently employed as a clinical associate/ medical officer in a hospital in Singapore with a temporary registration. I have been looking into acquiring a subclass 189 visa and Im in a stump and a bit confused as to the part wherein skill select will require you to have your skill assessed by a skills authority (in my case for doctors its the australian medical board). My question is if Im planning to apply for a 189 visa, do I need to pass the australian medical council MCQ and clinicals first before actually submitting an EOI? Or can I proceed with the submission of an EOI, acquire the 189 visa, and make the move to australia and just take the AMC MCQ and clinicals there? Or perhaps you can help me with a suggestion as to what visa pathway is best for me given my situation. Thanks

    • Hi Edwin. In order to apply for a 189 visa, an IMG doctor must be able to provide evidence that they have been issued with a certificate of general medical registration (full/unconditional) or conditional specialist registration by the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency (AHPRA).

      Our team advises doctors on their visa options and registration pathways. If you would like more information on medical registration for IMGs and visa pathways for doctors, please email carol-ann@easivisa.com

  11. Hi I wondering something, I’m doctor as general practice in my country (Indonesia) but my husband is permanent resident Australia , my question is can I work be doctor in Australia as well

    • Hello Noval, it may be possible for you to work in Australia as a GP. The first step is to obtain a certificate of medical registration from AHPRA and this can be a complicated process.

      Our team advises doctors on their visa options and registration pathways. If you would like more information on medical registration for IMGs and visa pathways for doctors, please email carol-ann@easivisa.com

  12. Hello , I hope everyone are fine. I’m doctor in my country as GP , I would like come here and keep my studies . Could I have all the information about the next steps

  13. Hi,
    I have limited registration and have been working in Australia on visa 457 for 2yrs+.Can you assess me regarding my options to obtain permanent residency?My visa lasts for another 3 years.I am working towards getting general registration ,need to know if I can get PR earlier through other pathways as general registration will take some time.Thanks.

  14. Hi, I am a second year medical student from Malaysia, I am keen to find out the pathway possible for me to get residency in Australia upon graduation in year 2020.

  15. Hi Laura,.

    In many instances it is possible for doctors with limited registration to apply for permanent residence. I’ll be pleased to assess your options for applying for permanent residence. Please can you send a quick “hello” email to carol-ann@easivisa.com so that I guide you on next steps. Cheers.

  16. HI,
    My wife and I are both doctors in Malaysia, and we are currently in the midst of a discussion to secure jobs in one of Melbourne hospitals. I am in a very tight timeline to secure the VISA. Can I have a chat with you on the detail of the process / timeline, and my VISA options? Thanks!

  17. Hi,
    I am a medical student studying in Ireland for my finals. I plan on looking for work in Australia after completing my 12 months in Ireland as an intern. I have heard rumours about visa changes and I would need to work 2 years in Ireland before being able to get a job in Australia. Is this true? Thanks

  18. Hi
    I need help

    I’m an IMG. I got a job in Australia under standard pathway. AHPRA sent me In Principle Approval and the hospital opened me a 457 visa nomination.

    All I have to do is to submit a Visa application. The problem is that I’m 44 now and I can’t get general registration to apply for 189 visa befor the age of 45.

    The only available route to PR is 186 if I decided to move to Australia and start the job.

    After 4 years from now I will be eligible for 186 but how to know that my hospital is eligible to sponse 186, knowing that they sponsered my 457 already.

    If the hospital is able to sponser 457, does this mean that it’s able to sponser 186?

    Please help me taking my decision because I am about to apologise for the hospital and cancel the whole thing if getting PR is too risky.

  19. Hi
    I need help

    I’m an IMG. I got a job in Australia under standard pathway. AHPRA sent me In Principle Approval and the hospital opened me a 457 visa nomination.

    All I have to do is to submit a Visa application. The problem is that I’m 44 now and I can’t get general registration to apply for 189 visa befor the age of 45.

    The only available route to PR is 186 if I decided to move to Australia and start the job.

    After 4 years from now I will be eligible for 186 but how to know that my hospital is eligible to sponse 186, knowing that they sponsered my 457 already.

    If the hospital is able to sponser 457, does this mean that it’s able to sponser 186?

    Please help me taking my decision because I am about to apologise for the hospital and cancel the whole thing if getting PR is too risky.

  20. Hi , I am a MBBS doctor from India, currently working in United Kingdom, after clearing PLAB, i still have to apply for the registration with the Australian Medical Council,

    but i want to apply for the Permanent Resident VISA before coming to Australia,

    can you please let me know, which is the best pathway for me to apply for the PR Visa.

  21. Dr.Raihanatul Zannat

    Hi,
    I am bangladeshi doctor with more than 4 year work experience in my home country and till working as medical officer in a govt organization. I have passed AMC MCQ last year.Now I want to move Australia and want to carry my husband and two child (7&1 year) also.And then I want to attend any bridging course to prepare myself for my Clinical exam.can you please guide me how can i proceed, and which visa should I apply?

    Dr.Zannat

  22. Hello
    I am 24 year old MBBS graduate from India with 1 year of internship experience. I am appearing for the AMC MCQ in feb and also the PTE in March.i wanted to know what would be the options for some one like me with limited internship experience of 1 year .
    Appreciate the help

  23. Hello:
    Me and my wife are 46 years old, I have done MBBs form Pakistan in 1995 and MRCP ( Medicine) form ireland in 2013, currently working in Tertiay care teching hospital in K.S.A as Registrar.
    My wife did MBBs form Pakistan in 1995, done FCPS (Obs & Gynae) form Paksitan in 2015 and MRCP ( Obs & gynae) from Ireland in 2016, currently working in teahing hospital as Registrar.
    What are our chance in Australia, which pathway better suits us?
    Regards

  24. Hi,
    I’m a specialist doctor from SriLanka and obtained Australian fellowship and specialist registration under AHPRA.
    I have obtained permanent residency under visa 189. If my spouse comes to Australia in this visa, can he work as a non VR GP in the metropolitan region ( without general registration)

    Thanks,
    Fathima

  25. Hi, we are pakistanis, my husband has more than 10 years of experience of working in saudi arabia as general practitioner. We look forward to moving to Australia .what is thw first step ..i heard ielts should be taken first .what score should he get on it and if i take the test will it be of any help ? . After that he has to apply for AMC? ..i need to know what are the steps and what are the chances of getting immigration visa .also how can he get job and sponsorship from one of the hospital there in Australia before going there. Thank you .
    Eagerly waiting for reply

  26. Hi , I’m a doctor who is living in Australia currently, I have a general registration restricted to the field of paediatrics , would that be considered okay if I apply for permanent reisdency (189)?

  27. hello,

    i am a 26 year old graduate of medicine in the phillipines with one year of internship experience. i want to work as a doctor in australia, but i do not know what is the first step and the succeeding steps to take. i plan to either work as a general practitioner or a family medicine resident. what do i need to do?

    as i have read, if you take the course of amc exam, you will still be given salary or compensation every month while training for the exam. is that true?

    please enlighten me. thank you very much.

  28. hi my friend is an anesthetic and he wants to work in.australia but he has no.clue how to.start can you please help us with that ….

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