Visa Planning for Doctors

Whether you are already in Australia working as a doctor, or planning to migrate to Australia, there are some basic facts which will be important as you, whether you intend to stay only for a few years, or want to become a permanent resident

Initial Visa Options for IMG’s

For an International Medical Graduate (IMG) to work in Australia as a medical practitioner the most common pathway is:

  1. Get a job offer
  2. Obtain a successful skills assessment
  3. Get registered with the Australian Medical Board (AMB)
  4. Get a visa

For most IMG’s migrating to Australia, (if you do not already hold General or Specialist registration), the main pathway is the 457 visa program.

Temporary Work (457) Visa

This is the most common pathway for medical practitioners and requires you be sponsored by an Australian medical practice or hospital. The medical practice or hospital 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 up to 4 years and it enables the doctor to work for the sponsoring medical practice or hospital and in some circumstances, other medical practices. This visa can provide a very useful stepping stone on the pathway to a permanent residence visa. To apply for a 457 visa, your occupation must be on the Combined List of Eligible Occupations. We have created an abbreviated version of the Combined List of Eligible Occupations for medical professions below so that you can easily check whether your occupation is listed  (most medical occupations are).

Temporary Skills Shortage (TSS) Visa

This will replace the 457 visa in March 2018 and is likely to become the most common pathway for medical practitioners to migrate to Australia. We anticipate that the requirements and conditions will be similar to the 457 program for medical professionals, however this visa is considerably more expensive. 457 visas issued before March 2018 will continue to be valid until their normal expiry date.

Permanent Residence Options

Doctors who want to stay in Australia may have several different visa options, dependent on a number of factors. The table below shows which visas are available to the various medical professions and specialisations. You can use the SEARCH function to find your occupation. Once you have found your occupation, see the Visa Types for Doctors section below for details of the various visas as they apply to medical professionals.

OccupationANZSCO189485190489SS489FS186457ListAssessing Authority
Anaesthetic Technician311211YYYYSTSOLVETASSESS
Anaesthetist253211YYYYSTSOLMedical Board of Australia
Audiologist252711YYYYYYYMLTSSLVETASSESS
Cardiac Technician311212YYYYSTSOLVETASSESS
Cardiologist253312YYYYYYYMLTSSLMedical Board of Australia
Cardiothoracic Surgeon253512YYYYYYYMLTSSLMedical Board of Australia
Clinical Haematologist253313YYYYYYYMLTSSLMedical Board of Australia
Clinical Psychologist272311YYYYYYYMLTSSLAPS
Dental Specialist252311YYYYSTSOLADC
Dental Technician411213YYYYSTSOLTRA
Dentist252312YYYYSTSOLADC
Dermatologist253911YYYYYYYMLTSSLMedical Board of Australia
Diagnostic and Interventional Radiologist253917YYYYYYYMLTSSLMedical Board of Australia
Emergency Medicine Specialist253912YYYYYYYMLTSSLMedical Board of Australia
Endocrinologist253315YYYYYYYMLTSSLMedical Board of Australia
Enrolled Nurse411411YYYYSTSOLANMAC
Gastroenterologist253316YYYYYYYMLTSSLMedical Board of Australia
General Practitioner253111YYYYYYYMLTSSLMedical Board of Australia
Hospital Pharmacist251511YYYYSTSOLAPharmC
Intensive Care Ambulance Paramedic411112YYYYSTSOLVETASSESS
Intensive Care Specialist253317YYYYYYYMLTSSLMedical Board of Australia
Medical Administrator134211YYYYYMLTSSLTRA
Medical Diagnostic Radiographer251211YYYYYYYMLTSSLASMIRT
Medical Oncologist253314YYYYYYYMLTSSLMedical Board of Australia
Medical Practitioners (nec)253999YYYYYYYMLTSSLMedical Board of Australia
Medical Radiation Therapist251212YYYYYYYMLTSSLASMIRT
Neurologist253318YYYYYYYMLTSSLMedical Board of Australia
Neurosurgeon253513YYYYYYYMLTSSLMedical Board of Australia
Nuclear Medicine Technologist251213YYYYYYYMLTSSLANZSNM
Nurse Educator254211YYYYSTSOLANMAC
Nurse Manager254311YYYYSTSOLANMAC
Nurse Practitioner254411YYYYYYYMLTSSLANMAC
Nurse Researcher254212YYYYSTSOLANMAC
Nursing Clinical Director134212YYYYYYYMLTSSLANMAC
Obstetrician & Gynaecologist253913YYYYYYYMLTSSLMedical Board of Australia
Occupational Therapist252411YYYYYYYMLTSSLOTC
Ophthalmologist253914YYYYYYYMLTSSLMedical Board of Australia
Optometrist251411YYYYYYYMLTSSLOCANZ
Orthopaedic Surgeon253514YYYYYYYMLTSSLMedical Board of Australia
Orthoptist251412YYYYSTSOLVETASSESS
Orthotist or Prosthetist251912YYYYYYYMLTSSLAOPA
Osteopath252112YYYYYYYMLTSSLANZOC
Otorhinolaryngologist253515YYYYYYYMLTSSLMedical Board of Australia
Paediatric Surgeon253516YYYYYYYMLTSSLMedical Board of Australia
Paediatrician253321YYYYYYYMLTSSLMedical Board of Australia
Pathologist253915YYYYYYYMLTSSLMedical Board of Australia
Physiotherapist252511YYYYYYYMLTSSLAPC
Plastic & Reconstructive Surgeon253517YYYYYYYMLTSSLMedical Board of Australia
Podiatrist252611YYYYYYYMLTSSLAPodC/ANZPAC
Psychiatrist253411YYYYYYYMLTSSLMedical Board of Australia
Radiation Oncologist253918YYYYYYYMLTSSLMedical Board of Australia
Registered Nurse (Aged Care)254412YYYYYYYMLTSSLANMAC
Registered Nurse (Child & Family Health)254413YYYYYYYMLTSSLANMAC
Registered Nurse (Community Health)254414YYYYYYYMLTSSLANMAC
Registered Nurse (Critical Care & Emergency)254415YYYYYYYMLTSSLANMAC
Registered Nurse (Developmental Disability)254416YYYYYYYMLTSSLANMAC
Registered Nurse (Disability & Rehabilitation)254417YYYYYYYMLTSSLANMAC
Registered Nurse (Medical Practice)254421YYYYYYYMLTSSLANMAC
Registered Nurse (Medical)254418YYYYYYYMLTSSLANMAC
Registered Nurse (Mental Health)254422YYYYYYYMLTSSLANMAC
Registered Nurse (Paediatrics)254425YYYYYYYMLTSSLANMAC
Registered Nurse (Perioperative)254423YYYYYYYMLTSSLANMAC
Registered Nurse (Surgical)254424YYYYYYYMLTSSLANMAC
Registered Nurses (nec)254499YYYYYYYMLTSSLANMAC
Renal Medicine Specialist253322YYYYYYYMLTSSLMedical Board of Australia
Resident Medical Officer253112YYYYSTSOLMedical Board of Australia
Rheumatologist253323YYYYYYYMLTSSLMedical Board of Australia
Sonographer251214YYYYYYYMLTSSLASMIRT
Specialist Physician (General Medicine)253311YYYYYYYMLTSSLMedical Board of Australia
Specialist Physicians (nec)253399YYYYYYYMLTSSLMedical Board of Australia
Speech Pathologist252712YYYYYYYMLTSSLSPA
Surgeon (General)253511YYYYYYYMLTSSLMedical Board of Australia
Thoracic Medicine Specialist253324YYYYYYYMLTSSLMedical Board of Australia
Urologist253518YYYYYYYMLTSSLMedical Board of Australia
Vascular Surgeon253521YYYYYYYMLTSSLMedical Board of Australia

Visa Types for Doctors

This is a list of the most common visa types for doctors migrating to Australia as skilled workers and highlights special provisions made for the medical profession. For a more complete general description of these visas, click the links to the relevant page of our website.

Temporary Visas

Temporary Work Visa (Subclass 457) – this visa is the most common pathway for medical practitioners and requires you be sponsored by an Australian medical practice or hospital. Once the visa application is approved, the employee must work for their sponsor whilst the visa remains in effect. However there are certain provisions which apply to doctors which allow them to work under a contract arrangement or take on additional work (such as private patients) outside of their normal working hours with their sponsor. There is no age limit for this visa.

TSS Visa (Subclass TBA) replaces the 457 visa in March 2018 and requires you be sponsored by an Australian medical practice or hospital. There is no age limit for this visa.

Working Holiday Visa (Subclass 417 or 462) These visas may be used by young doctors (30 and under) to:

  • travel and work in Australia while looking for employment as a medical practitioner or,
  • if you have secured a job offer in Australia, have completed the skills assessment and registration process and are keen to get to Australia quickly.

Temporary Graduate Visa (Subclass 485) is only applicable if you studied for more than 2 years full time in Australia and want to stay in Australia to gain work experience (for instance to complete your internship)

Permanent Residence Visas – General Skilled Migration

If you are interested in any of the SkillSelect visa programs below, you can check your eligibility HERE.

Skilled Independent Visa (Subclass 189*) is part of the SkillSelect program and is a points tested visa.

  • General or Specialist registration is required.
  • The age limit for this visa is 44 at time of invitation to apply (except for eligible New Zealand Citizens)

Skilled Nominated Visa (Subclass 190*) is part of the SkillSelect program and is a points tested visa.

  • You must be nominated by a State or Territory of Australia.
  • General or Specialist registration is required.
  • The age limit for this visa is 44 at time of invitation to apply

Skilled Regional Visa (Subclass 489*) is part of the SkillSelect program and is a points tested visa.

  • You must be nominated by a State or Territory of Australia or an eligible relative.
  • General or Specialist registration is required.
  • The age limit for this visa is 44 at time of invitation to apply

* These visas are part of the SkillSelect program. More details on how this program works can be found here.

Permanent Residence Visas -Employer Sponsored 

Employer Nomination Scheme Visa (Subclass 186) requires that you are nominated by an Australian medical practice or hospital:

  • you must have the level of registration required to perform the duties of the position for which you are nominated* 
  • you must be a full time employee of that practice or hospital (direct entry stream)
  • you may be a contractor or a full time employee of that practice or hospital (temporary residence transition (TRT) stream)
  • The age limit for this visa is 44 at time of application for Direct Entry Stream and 50 for TRT Stream. There are certain exemptions for Doctors.

Regional Sponsored Migration Scheme Visa (Subclass 187) requires that you be nominated by an Australian medical practice or hospital in a Regional part of Australia (as defined by the Department of Immigration) :

  • you must obtain Regional Certifying Body (RCB) approval for the Region where the practice or hospital is located
  • you must have the level of registration required to perform the duties of the position for which you are nominated* 
  • you must be a full time employee of that practice or hospital (direct entry stream)
  • you may be a contractor or a full time employee of that practice or hospital (temporary residence transition stream)
  • The age limit for this visa is 44 at time of application. There are certain exemptions for Doctors

*EXAMPLE
A hospital has nominated Dr Smith under the Employer Nomination Scheme with the full understanding that the applicant is the holder of ‘Limited registration – Area of Need (Supervision Level 4)’. For the purposes of this visa program, Dr Smith is, at time of application, the holder of a licence and/or registration that enables him to perform the duties of the occupation in which the hospital has nominated him. Based on this, the applicant is considered to have met the licensing and/or registration requirements for the occupation of Medical Practitioner. (This is an abridged version of the DIBP policy)

Age Exemptions for Doctors

Applicants for all General Skilled Migration visas must be less than 45 years of age at time of invitation to apply.

Applicants for Subclass 186 and Subclass 187 who are not required to be below the age of 45 (Direct Entry Stream) or 50 (TRT Stream) at time of application must meet the following requirements:

  • The applicant must be a Medical Practitioner (ANZSCO Minor Group 253)
  • the applicant must have been employed as a medical practitioner for a period of at least four years immediately before applying for the Subclass 186 or 187 visa.
  • during that period the applicant must have been a holder of a Subclass 457 visa
  • the applicant must have been employed in regional Australia for at least two years during the period of four years
  • the nominated position must be located in regional Australia

NOTE: If you were previously the holder of a 422 visa contact us

Alternate Visa Pathways

While most IMG’s come to Australia on a 457 visa, in some circumstances there may be alternate pathways, for instance:

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.

Partner Visa

You may be eligible for a partner visa if you are in a married or defacto relationship with an Australian citizen or permanent resident or an eligible New Zealand Citizen. Both opposite sex and same sex couples may apply for a partner visa. This visa has no age limit.

The 10 Year Moratorium

To treat private patients in Australia, you need to have a Medicare provider number. This number allows your patients to claim Medicare benefits for the services you provide.

Section 19AB of the Health Insurance Act (the Act) restricts Overseas Trained Doctors (OTD)s and Foreign Graduates from Accredited Medical Schools (FGAMS) from accessing Medicare benefits arrangements for a period of generally 10 years from the date of their first Australian medical registration. These restrictions are referred to as the ‘the 10 year moratorium requirement’. 

Exemptions

OTDs and FGAMS may obtain an exemption under section 19AB of the Act if they choose to practise within a District of Workforce Shortage (DWS) for their specialty. If an OTD or FGAMS holds a valid section 19AB exemption for a particular location, they can access Medicare benefits arrangements for professional services they provide at that location. 

You can read more about this on the Doctorconnect website

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