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

56 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

    • 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.

    • Hey Paul, how did you go? What did you apply as in the end? I’m kind in a similar boat and not sure what to put down as for occupation. Cheers, Jessie . (jessie.jingjing@hotmail.com)

  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?


    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.

    • 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

  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?


    • 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. Edwin Baniqued

    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 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.

  12. 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.

  13. 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

  14. 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.

  15. 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.

  16. 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?

  17. 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.

    • At this stage we recommend that you contact the medical employment services department at one or more of our Australian hospitals for advice on your prospects of securing a position in an Australian hospital.

  18. 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 ….

  19. Hi,

    I currently hold a provisional AHPRA registration and have been working in Australia for 7 months. Just wondering can I start applying for permanent residency now with the provisional APHRA registration?


  20. Hi
    I have been working in Australia on Provisional AHPRA Registration for 7 months now and I am wondering if I can apply for permanent residency with provisional AHPRA registration now?

  21. Hello ,
    I am 24 year old graduate of medicine from Philippines but am Indian citizen
    Currently am holding a permanent residency of Australia as my husband is Australian .
    This year I came Boston for internship and now I wants to permanently settle in Australia as a doctor
    Can anyone pls suggest me the pathway of amc which will suit me
    , does holding PR will help me in getting registration there easily on any benefit of having residency

  22. Hi,
    I am am Orthopedic Surgeon, done MBBS & PG in Orthopedics from India, with more than 5 years experience after the post-graduation in Orthopedics. I am currently working as Specialist-Orthopedics in Saudi Arabia for last 3 years. I want to go to Australia as Specialist- Orthopedics. I have already done my EPIC psv. Now can you please guide me what should I do the next. Where should I apply for the same. What other requirements do I have to fulfill for the same. Kindly guide. Thank you.

  23. Hi.I will be gaining general registration through AHPRA after working for 1 yr in Australian.I’m coming through the competent authority pathway as I’m working in the UK for the last 2.5 years in A&E(ED).I was a clinical fellow (SHO)for about 1 year and 18 months and later promoted to a registrar.I have now offered a position in A&E registrar(medium term 4 yrs visa).

    I have previously worked in Australia on AON limited registration as a RMO in different departments including a 2 yrs experience as a RMO in A&E.My age is 38 now.

    In order to get the PR,I require my previous experience to be recognized.But I have concerns that my previous experience in Australia is working as a RMO.Will they consider my experience.

    Kindly advice.Thanks.

  24. Hi there , i am in the last year of general medicine in Romania , and i want to do the residency in Australia , i cannot find where or how to apply for it. Can anyone help me with some informations.

  25. Hi Lina,
    Good day
    I have 7+ years Experience in Cardiac Anesthetist ( completed doctorate in Medicine in Anesthesia from India). I am planning to write a medical assessment Examination to quality in AMB. I would like to know the Process of AMB. Please do needful

    Thanks you
    S N

  26. Dear Sir/Madam
    I am currently working as a Paediatric Surgical Provisional Fellow in Perth, WA since February 2015. I have completed the AMC and now have been granted General registration by AHPRA restricted to Paediatric Surgery. Am I eligible to apply for the skilled independent visa 189?

  27. Hi i am Dr Madhuri from India.I did MD pathology in india and have 1 and half year experience in my field.I have australian permanent residency.Do i need to write Amc exams in australia to practice pathology.Kindly guide me regarding specialist training in pathology and job options later in australia


  28. DR. kubendrakumar

    Hi.I am an ophthalmologist with FRCS (GLASGOW) and my wife is a microbiologist. what should we do to work in Australia. Can you please guide us.

  29. Hi,

    Turkish radiologist with perfect language skills and more than 8 years of experience currently 43 and didn’t start the application process yet.

    Does the age limit tolerate a larger marge for doctors or is it still 45 no matter the field ?
    Are there any other options we can consider? I mean what if we start the process now and by the time we got the registration mu husband turns 45 by the time he applies for visa? No exemptions ?

    In advance, thanks.

  30. Hi Dr. Zannat
    I am from Bangladesh and my sister will be passing mbbs after 3 years and willing to move to Australia to practice there. Could you please tell me what is your current situation regarding you visa and moving process to Australia? And what steps are you taking to be a resident there as a practitioner there? It will be a great help to her.

    Thank you

    • Hi Taufiq,

      As mentioned above, in order to migrate to Australia as an IMG, most doctors will need a job offer as part of the AHPRA registration process. Your sister could consider applying for a junior position at an Australian hospital. Almost all Australian hospitals have IMGs working on 407 or 482 visas.

  31. hello
    working as GP in Australia last one year and got my full registration. Currently i have 60 points for 189. Could u plz tell at which lowest point doctors are getting invitation for pr.

  32. Hi, my name is basem. I am a fifth-year medical student and I am about to do my internship. if I want to apply for medical residency in Australia I know that I have to go through AMC examination, but I don’t know what to do next? what determines my specialty? should I contact specific hospitals myself?

    if anyone has an answer, please…

  33. hi .i am 26 years general physician in iran i would like to come to australia with my husband to either work as GP or family medician OR ACCEPT AS ANY FIELD RESIDENCY if my husband can work there can u help me where to find all information i need
    pllllllllzzzzz thanks a lot

    • Migrating to Australia as a medical practitioner can be a complex process and there are a number of hurdles to overcome. These hurdles include the Australian medical registration requirements. These are explained on the- The Medical Board of Australia

      If you trained as a medical practitioner in Iran, you will need to focus on the Standard Pathway.

    • Hi Hasibeh, as mentioned above … at this stage I’d suggest that you contact the medical employment services department at one or more of our Australian hospitals for advice on your prospects of securing a position in an Australian hospital. Some IMGs come to Australia as international students, which might be worth considering if you cannot secure a job offer.


    Hi! I am a radiologist from Brazil, and soon I will be interviewed by the Australian College of Radiology. I’m almost 43yo, and I was wondering if it could be a problem to get a PR in the future.

    • Hi Alexandre, age is an important factor as far as skilled migration to Australia is concerned. However, pathways to permanent residence do still exist for IMGs aged 45 years and above. Happy to discuss on the phone or on Skype. It is really important to have a solid plan in place and then stick to the plan.

  35. Hi, I am 27 years old, UK qualified DR and have worked in Aus as RMO for a year. I obtained my full registration and have 70 points. I am keen to do my EOI for a 189 Visa. In your experience – do DR (ANZSCO 253111) get invited to submit a 189 visa application?

    • Hi Manda, IMGs with ANZSCO 253111 certainly do get invited to submit 189 visa applications. You might have to wait a little whilst on 70 points but you should get an invitation at some stage.

  36. Hi Carol..
    Thank u for such an informative post.
    I passed MBBS this year from a Bangladeshi Medical college & I still have 6 months of my internship remaining.
    I’m planning on migrating to Australia & from what i learnt from the MBA website is that one needs to get a job offer prior to applying for the provisional registration. My question is, is it really possible for an IMG like me to get employed keeping in mind the shortage in the number of jobs for doctors in Australia?? Kindly enlighten about the current situation there.

    • Hi Udita,
      It is well worth applying for a junior position at an Australian hospital. Almost all Australian hospitals have IMGs working on 407 or 482 visas. good luck!

  37. Hi Carol..
    Thank u for such an informative post.
    I passed MBBS this year from a Bangladeshi Medical college & I still have 6 months of my internship remaining.
    I’m planning on migrating to Australia & from what i learnt from the MBA website is that one needs to get a job offer prior to applying for the provisional registration if one wants to apply via the Competent Authority Pathway. My question is, is it really possible for an IMG like me to get employed keeping in mind the shortage in the number of jobs for doctors in Australia?? Kindly enlighten about the current situation there.

  38. Manjula karunaratne

    I am now 42 + ,what are the possibilities for me to get pr in Australia if I am pass the mac part 1 2019.
    Thanks in advance.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Call Now Button