Does a Medical Practitioner always need General or Specialist Registration in order to apply for a Permanent Residence visa?

The short answer in NO!

Registration types for doctors practising medicine in Australia

The Australian Medical Board (the AMB) currently issues 5 types of registration to doctors:

  • General registration
  • Specialist registration
  • Provisional registration
  • Limited registration
  • Non-practising registration.

The AMB can also grant student registrations to medical students undertaking an approved program of study.

Subclass 186 and 187 visas

A doctor does not need to hold general or specialist registration in order to apply for a subclass 186 or 187 visa. This rule applies to both the direct entry and temporary residence transition stream pathways. The doctor (being nominated for a 186 or 187 visa) must hold (or be eligible to hold) the type of registration that will allow them effectively to perform the duties of the occupation in which they have been nominated. If the doctor requires a high level of supervision, the subclass 186 and 187 visas may not be appropriate visas to apply for.

Our skilled migration team is available to discuss your registration type and offer guidance on your visa options.

Subclass 189, 190 and 489 visas

A doctor needs general registration, specialist registration or conditional specialist registration in order to apply for a subclass 189, 190 or 489 visa.

It is important to understand that your registration type is just one of the many factors to be taken into consideration when assessing a doctor’s eligibility to apply for a visa.

Our skilled migration team is available to offer guidance on your visa options and your eligibility to apply for a visa.

Contact Us for more information

8 thoughts on “Does a Medical Practitioner always need General or Specialist Registration in order to apply for a Permanent Residence visa?

  1. So according to this post i am physician graduated abroad i don’t need registration or provisional registration in order to apply for the subclass 186 and 187 visa ?

    • Hi Luis. It’s not quite as simple as that! The employer nomination rules (186/187 visa) are complex in so far as they apply to medical practitioners. Some medical practitioners can be nominated for a 186 or 187 visa without general or specialist registration. However, there are other important factors to be taken into consideration. It is impossible to offer migration advice to an International Medical Graduate without having an opportunity to examine their CV, qualifications, current medical registration etc. Further information is provided on the Department of Home Affairs website.

  2. Thank you. I understand and at the same time don’t understand . its very clear and at the same confused . Can a physician with 8 years experience, more than 20 peer reviewed publications, relevant research and work experience int he academic setting, two years in Australia in research training in its specialty obtain nomination and PR without registration , from my point of view is impossible without registration.

  3. Hi Luis,

    Department of Home Affairs (DoHA) current migration policy states (regarding employer nomination):

    “If a visa decision maker is presented with an applicant who does not hold general or specialist registration, the decision maker can request a statement from the nominator stating:

    their awareness of the applicant’s ‘type’ of registration and
    they agree that the type of licensing and/or registration the applicant holds, or is eligible to hold, will allow them to effectively perform the duties of the occupation in which they have been nominated.” (extract)


    “If registration, licensing or professional membership is mandatory for a person to work in the occupation in the State/Territory in which the position is located, at time of visa application the applicant must hold, or be eligible to hold, the relevant registration, licence or membership at time of application.” (extract)


    “An applicant is ‘eligible for registration, licensing or membership’ when they have been fully assessed and their eligibility to hold the registration, licence or professional membership has been confirmed by the relevant body.” (extract)

    Visas and registration requirements are a complex issue. The above extracts are taken from the current DoHA migration policy. An medical practitioner must have been assessed as “eligible for registration” if they do not hold a current relevant registration. If the medical practitioner has either no registration or has not been assessed as “eligible for registration” the medical practitioner will be unable to meet the nomination and visa requirements.

  4. Hi Carol -Ann. Thanks you very much for the clarification . The current process of RACP ( Royal Australian College of Physician and the Medical Board of Australia) for specialist pathway have several stages but they decided you are eligible for registration after complete assessment of your program and supervision and or a test by Australian physician consultants so you need to work at least one year in Australia under supervision ( that is in the best of the cases) so I dont see how a physician can obtain PR without a relevant or at least one year of work in Australia, it looks impossible for a highly qualified professional comes to Australia and obtain PR straight away without previous work experience in Australia. I believe the process is ok to guarantee the quality of the human resource but is lengthy, tricky and affects adequate supply in most need areas of specialists.

  5. Hi Luis,

    Please follow this link:

    “IMGs who hold a primary medical degree from a medical school listed in the International Medical
    Education Directory (IMED) of the Foundation for Advancement of International Medical Education and
    Research and who have satisfied all the training and examination requirements to practise in the field of
    specialty in their country of training may apply for the Specialist Pathway.”

    Specialist registration and conditional specialist registration can be used as the “skills assessment” component for a 189 and 190 visa, both of which are PR visas. Certain highly experienced IMG specialists from certain countries are able to achieve specialist registration or conditional specialist registration without ever working in Australia.

  6. Hi Carol- Ann.
    Many thanks for your valuable information. It seems according to this link that after physician program assessment by the relevant college in Australia and if the program is deemed to be comparable or partially comparable to the Australian program he or she is eligible for provisional registration with the Medical Board and then according to DoHA is eligible to apply for the PR. Correct me if i am wrong please.

  7. I am a currently practising GP in Australia for the last 3 years since migrating from UK and in process of changing from 457 to 186 via the Direct Entry Stream (initial plan was to do Transitional Stream but a glitch with the employer reregistering their business to change the name with new ABN number has complicated this matter and the Home Office suggested I go through the Direct Entry stream instead).

    But I could not clarify as yet why I needed to re-do the skills assessment when I remained registered with AHPRA and the RACGP? It looks rather pointless and silly to re-send all the UK information again to the specialist pathway when this was already done previously 4 years ago and I remained an active practising GP.

    Any thoughts?

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