Australia (Looking for work as a GP? )

The Always-wanted- to-know-but-too-afraid-to-ask-easy-to-work-in-Australia-GP guide

Key points

  1. Have patience! The process of registration is a lengthy one, that can take a year or longer, as all steps are taking serially. There is a lot of dissatisfaction with the current process and recently arrived GP’s  including myself have been interviewed about this. Hopefully this will improve in the future.
  2. It’s definitely worth it if you want to stay for a longer time, life-work balance, climate  and your income are generally better here than in the Netherlands.

The Process
1. Find a ‘ locum ‘ agency that helps you to find a suitable place. First, consider where in Australia you want to go, because most agencies are focused on a part of Australia.  GP practices should have a certain status (area of need status) before they can adopt a foreign doctor, check this! This usually means outside of the large metropolitan areas of Sydney/Melbourne.  Because many practices are in need of GP’s , they’ll pick up the tab for the costs of the ‘ locum ‘ agency. That’s generally around 10,000-15,000 dollar with a placement
2. Job interview, usually by telephone with interested practices. Obviously important as you have to work with each other. But they are also involved in applying for your Visa, basically agreeing to support you and your family if things go pear-shaped. This also means that you cannot just go somewhere else can work if you’re here once because your visa is provided for work in that specific practice until you get permanent residency.
3. Start enrollment procedure with Australian Medical Council (AMC).
– all documentation have to be translated, certified and can only be sent by post which means several returns to the Australian Consulate in The Hague.
– The website States that all documentation should be sent in duplicate to the AMC and the relevant specialist college, for general practitioners, the Royal Australian College of General Practitioners (RACGP) or the Australian College of Rural and Remote Medicine (ACCRM). My experience with the RACGP is that they only start moving after the ‘all-go’ from the AMC’ and it was pointless to send the data to both.
– Part of a checklist of AMC is a verification of your qualifications through the ECFMG  located in the USA. Very bureaucratic in speed and response, good luck especially if you’ve obtained your medical degree in Leiden.
– The IELTS, a English language test has to be completed successfully with a minimal score of 7 (good user) on all four components.  Focus on the essay, the rest is ‘easy’.
4. Enrollment procedure met RACGP
– Repetition of documentation send to AMC now to the RACGP
– Assessment of GP category, Dutch General practitioners are considered category 2
– Fitness for intended Clinical Practice interview which is a kind of ‘ Skype ‘ interview. This was a lot tougher than I expected, depending on that  you’ll get a go/no go, usually a ‘ go ‘, with a certain amount of supervision.
5. Feedback to the AMC, after which the AMC gives you a final ‘ go ‘Enrollment procedure with Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency (AHPRA)
This is the Aussie BIG-registration, so you get a provider number and a prescriber number, without it you can’t declare to Medicare or write prescriptions.

  • Send documentation comparable to that send to AMC and RACGP
  • Send request for a 19AB exemption, otherwise you’re not entitled for a provider number, this is subject to change, ask your ‘locum’ agent when you get around to this.
  • The application has to be submitted in person at a AHPRA office in Australia, after which it can last another 4-6 weeks before you really can get started. Take this into consideration in your planning.
  • You are a specialist practitioner in the Netherlands (vocational registered), but you get a registration as a non-vocational registered GP, until you’ve done the exams of the RACGP (only possible after 6 months working in Australia).
  • Request visa. Probably the best option is a 457 long business visa, which allows you and your family to live and work in Australia. After two years you can apply for permanent residency. This will allow your partner to work as well, if he or she chooses to do so
    • Visa request was a breeze compared to the medical registration, good service and quick response, all done digitally.
    • You need a medical check, I was quite happy with this GP in Amsterdam

Concluding remarks
During the application I was 34 and just finished as a GP registrar. Depending on your personal background, some aspects of the registration may be different .
Questions?  Feel free to mail to
Hartelijk groet,  Marco Krukerink

We look for information & contact on FM in Irian Jaya (Papua New Guinea, Asia) as well as Oceania.