Move to Australia as a doctor

Article by Julia 08 Apr 2022
IMG down under

Australia; bustling metropolitans, natural beauty, and laid-back culture. What's not to love?

Long winters in the UK or other parts of the world may have prompted you to think about moving your medical career to sunny Australia, but before you pack up your bags and jump across to the other side of the world we are sure you have some questions.

Moving to Australia as a doctor presents a fantastic opportunity to work in a country renowned for its world-class healthcare system, beautiful landscapes, and high standard of living. Australia has a growing demand for skilled medical professionals, especially in rural and remote areas. For overseas-trained doctors, there are various pathways and visa options to consider when planning a move to Australia. This comprehensive guide will cover essential information, including rural workforce agencies, specialist pathways, subclass 186 and 189 visas, medical board registration, and studying in Australia.

Firstly, it is crucial to understand the registration process with the Medical Board of Australia (MBA), which oversees the practice of medicine in the country. The MBA is responsible for granting general registration to eligible doctors, enabling them to practise medicine in Australia. Overseas-trained doctors can apply for registration through several pathways, depending on their qualifications, experience, and intended area of practice.

The standard pathway is designed for doctors who have obtained their primary medical qualifications from countries outside Australia, New Zealand, or those not recognised by the Australian Medical Council (AMC). This pathway requires doctors to pass the AMC's multiple-choice questionnaire (MCQ) examination, followed by a clinical examination. Upon successful completion of these examinations, the doctor will be eligible for general registration with the MBA.

Alternatively, the specialist pathway is tailored for doctors who have completed specialist training overseas and wish to practise as a specialist in Australia. These doctors must have their skills assessed by the relevant Australian specialist college, which will determine their comparability to Australian-trained specialists in the same field. If found to be substantially comparable, they will be required to complete a period of supervised practice, after which they can apply for specialist registration with the MBA.

For doctors who have completed their medical training in Australia or New Zealand, the competent authority pathway is available. This pathway allows these doctors to apply for general registration with the MBA, provided they have successfully completed an internship in their respective countries and met other requirements.

Once the registration process is understood, the next step is to explore visa options. Some of the most common visa categories for doctors moving to Australia are the subclass 186 (Employer Nomination Scheme) and subclass 189 (Skilled Independent) visas. The subclass 186 visa allows an Australian employer to sponsor migration for a skilled overseas worker. This visa is ideal for doctors who have secured a job offer from an employer in Australia. The employer will sponsor the doctor for permanent residency, providing them with the opportunity to live and work in the country indefinitely.

On the other hand, the subclass 189 visa is designed for skilled workers who have not been sponsored by an employer but have had their skills independently assessed and found to be in demand in Australia. This points-based visa enables doctors to live and work in Australia permanently without requiring employer sponsorship. To be eligible for the subclass 189 visa, overseas-trained doctors must have their skills assessed by the relevant assessing authority, typically the AMC, and meet the points requirement based on factors such as age, English language proficiency, work experience, and education.

In addition to these pathways, doctors may also consider studying in Australia to further their medical careers. Studying in Australia provides access to world-class education and research institutions, allowing doctors to enhance their skills and knowledge in their chosen speciality. International students pursuing medical studies in Australia may be eligible for various visa options, including the subclass 500 (Student) visa, which enables them to study and work part-time during their course.

When planning a move to Australia as a doctor, it is essential to consider the demand for medical professionals in rural and remote areas. Rural workforce agencies play a crucial role in addressing the healthcare needs of these communities, and they actively seek to attract and retain skilled doctors. These agencies offer various incentives and support services, such as relocation assistance, professional development opportunities,

Here's everything you need to know about moving to Australia as an overseas doctor and what it is like working as a doctor in Australia at a glance.

For doctors, there are three steps to working and living in Australia.

  1. Eligibility for medical registration
  2. Finding a suitable role
  3. Moving over!

There are so many things to love about working as a doctor in Australia. It offers great remuneration, excellent lifestyle opportunities, paid holidays, great work/life balance, and is great for beach lovers.

You will need to work in a rural location first, but from the outback to sleepy beachside towns there is so much to choose from!

Australia continues to invest in medical research and health care infrastructure. In October 2019, the Australian Government announced a $5 billion, a 10-year investment plan for the Medical Research Future Fund (MRFF).

Can I move to Australia as a doctor?

So can you work in Australia as a doctor? There are great permanent roles available for experienced international medical graduates in New Zealand and Australia. To become a medical practitioner in Australia, you must be registered with the governing body of the country you choose to work in. Gaining registration is often easiest for specialists (including GPs) and international medical graduates who have completed their primary degree in the UK or Ireland.

Enjoy the beaches or the many bustling metropolitans, there is much for international doctors to love in Australia. One thing to keep in mind is that International doctors have more restrictions in Australia than in New Zealand. It can take some time to get the post you want, and up to a year to get settled. That's why it is important to work with an international doctor recruitment agency, we’ll help navigate the different requirements, and sort through the paperwork.

Can a doctor from overseas work in Australia?

Yes, overseas doctors can work in Australia, however, there is a process for this. The first step is having completed your medical degree in your country of origin, the next is finding a job and being set on a registration pathway. Your registration pathway will include a mandatory 12-month training program in Australia and a series of exams by the Australian Medical Council..

Medical registration pathways for doctors moving to Australia

When moving to Australia to work as a doctor, your pathway to medical registration will depend on your individual circumstances, such as where you completed your primary medical degree, the countries in which you have clinical experience, and if you’re a specialist or junior doctor.

It can be a bit of a complex process so if you are interested in making the move we recommend that you register with us and one of our Solution Specialists will provide you with information that is tailored to your personal circumstances.

How much do doctors get paid in Australia?

The perks of working in Australia as a doctor include good remuneration, great lifestyle opportunities, and generous annual leave. You are paid normal rates while working under supervision. The rates listed below are reflective of a total package salary with overtime, on-call, and CPD. Where you are based and your specialty also has an impact on how much you are paid.

SMO/Specialist in Australia earn an annual income of around $210,000 – $400,000, General Practitioners earn can $180,000 – $350,000, and Junior Doctors can earn $80,000 – $140,000.

What is life like for a doctor in Australia?

Australia is said to be the fourth happiest country on the planet, the lifestyle is an enviable one. Spend your days off at pristine beaches, or enjoy a quintessential "beer and BBQ."

If you are after a metropolitan lifestyle then you've got choices galore. Sydney; is famous for beaches and fine dining, Melbourne; is famous for coffee and shopping, and Brisbane is famous for its weather and wildlife.

If it's the simple life you're after, look no further than Australia. Settle down by the sea or in the many idyllic country towns across the country.

Which country is the best for foreign doctors to work?

When it comes to salary and lifestyle Australia is ranked in the top ten best countries for doctors to work. New Zealand is also another great option, often ranked the most scenic country in the work it is a great place to reclaim work/life balance and raise a family.

Want some more information?

We have a dedicated team of Solution Specialists who are experienced in helping overseas-trained doctors make the move, they will guide you through the visa application, registration requirements, and suggest the medical pathway that is best for you.

Register today and one of our team will give you all the information you need to know and set you up for a successful relocation.

Find out everything you need to know about moving to Australia or New Zealand in our free IMG Guide.
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Article by Julia Medrecruit Editor