How Do Medical Practitioners Obtain Australian Permanent Residency?

What you need to know

In Australia, doctors can be classed into specialist medical practitioner and generalist medical practitioner categories. When a student finishes their studies they usually complete a year or more as a hospital medical officer. After that, they may enter a myriad of training pathways to become specialist health practitioners. Specialisation usually takes a few years  and is usually subject to a number of exams prior to admission as a ‘Fellow’ at one of the specialist colleges.

The term ‘Fellow’ is usually reserved as a term that denotes recognition as a full member of a specialist field. In Australia, medical specialists use the term ‘consultants’ in a clinic or hospital setting. It is also not uncommon for some health practitioners to stay as generalists  (non-specialists) for the majority or even entirety of their careers.

If you are an International Medical Graduate

Doctors who have not trained in Australia are commonly referred to as International Medical Graduates (IMGs). They must complete one of several pathways to become fully registered in Australia by the Australian Health Practitioner Registration Authority (AHPRA). 

Once they progress through the ‘limited’ registration to obtain ‘full’ registration they can practice without supervision. Typically, experienced practitioners will complete the AHPRA registration process in parallel with the steps required to re-obtain specialist recognition (ie becoming a Fellow). Information about the APHRA registration process varies depending on the IMG’s background, qualifications and experience.

There are 3 pathways to APHRA registration:

  1. Competent Authority – for UK, Canada, US, NZ, Ireland graduates; 
  2. Standard – leads to general registration only; or
  3. Specialist – involves specialist recognition through direct application to the College responsible for your specialist category.

Medical indemnity

Temporary Residency, APHRA Registration and Medicare

As a temporary resident on a 482 visa you may be able to work as a medical practitioner provided you hold provisional or limited AHPRA registration. You will also be able to access Medicare billings under an exemption based on s19AB of the Health Insurance Act 1973.

Permanent Residency, APHRA Registration and Medicare

Where an IMG obtains permanent residency (PR) but is not a specialist (ie: not a Fellow) they become subject to the ‘s19AB Moratorium’ under the Health Insurance Act 1973. Section 19AB prevents IMGs from accessing Medicare billing rights unless they work in a ‘Designated Priority Area’ or Area of Need. These are geographic locations with lower levels of medical practitioners and greater healthcare issues. Typically, this moratorium applies for 10 years and is designed to redirect doctors to regional areas and prevent the over-servicing of major metropolitan centres.

Tego Insurance Can Help International Health Practitioners

The team at Tego are here to support doctors and help medical practitioners while in private practice. We are an Australian Medical indemnity Insurance provider and cover your individual medical practice with medical indemnity insurance, medical practice insurance, gp medical indemnity insurance,  medical malpractice insurance, doctors indemnity insurance, and more. If you are a medical practitioner with Tego Insurance, your medical indemnity insurance comes with 24/7 medico-legal advice and support and will help you navigate practice.

If you are a medical practitioner with Tego, your medical indemnity insurance comes with our medico-legal advice and support to guide you through the risks of everyday practice. 

This publication is general in nature and is not comprehensive or constitutes legal or medical advice. You should seek legal, medical or other professional advice before relying on any content, and practice proper clinical decision making with regard to individual circumstances. Persons implementing any recommendations contained in this publication must exercise their own independent skill or judgment or seek appropriate professional advice relevant to their own particular practice. Compliance with any recommendations will not in any way guarantee discharge of the duty of care owed to patients and others coming into contact with the health professional or practice. Tego Insurance Pty Ltd is not responsible to you or anyone else for any loss su­ffered in connection with the use of this information. 

All content on this page has been written in a generic way, and has not been presented with any knowledge of your personal objectives or financial needs.