Step By Step Guide To Australian Immigration For International Medical Graduates (imgs)

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Australian immigration for IMGs

The world is awash with opportunity for highly skilled medical practitioners. So why would you choose Australia over the many other options you might have? Here are several reasons!

Australia is on record to be among the top 10 choicest destination for immigration, between 2001-2010 (OECD data), after the United States, Germany, Spain, United Kingdom, Japan, Italy, Canada, Korea, Australia and France, in that order [source: Forbes]; for all professionals.

Aside from the statistical attraction given its position as one of the world’s top 10 destination countries of choice, there are specific benefits for International Medical Graduates (IMGs) wishing to immigrate.

Benefits of working in Australia

A number of programs and incentives are available for doctors interested in relocating and remaining in rural and remote Australia. To find out more about these programs, go to the Department of Health and Ageing website via the links below.

Healthcare system
Australia has one of the best healthcare systems in the world.

With an excellent balance of public healthcare (Medicare) and a thriving private health sector, Australia has achieved what many others have yet to achieve — quality, comprehensive healthcare and choice for all Australians.

Career opportunities
For doctors, the diversity of work locations in Australia is second to none.

The choices are fantastic, from large teaching hospitals, to private clinics in a wide variety of geographic and lifestyle settings, right through to the elite Royal Flying Doctor Service, which provides quality medical services to remote communities.

Ongoing professional development
Australia offers the full range of educational facilities. Educational institutions and research organisations are world-class, and provide excellent opportunities to improve your skills and advance your career.

High standard of living
With its abundant physical resources, Australia has had a high standard of living since the 19th century. It has made a significant investment in social infrastructure, including education, training, health and transport.

The United Nations ranked Australia second in the world on its Human Development Index (HDI) for 2010. The HDI is a measure of life expectancy, education and national income. A high ranking indicates a high level of development and a high overall standard of living.

As one of the most multicultural nations in the world, you’ll find Australians welcoming and inclusive of newcomers from other countries.

Much of this can be attributed to an open and tolerant community that celebrates the contribution of other cultures and believes passionately in freedom of speech and religion. The incredible influence that migrants have had on Australia is evident in everything from cuisine to art, literature to medicine.

Step by Step Guide: first steps

Below is a simple summary of the process you need to follow to work as a general practitioner in Australia.

There are many intersecting requirements and regulations behind each step. The Australian authorities recommend you contact the Rural Workforce Agencies (RWA) in your State or territory (of interest) to talk with an experienced person who will help you through the process. This is a free, Government funded service.

STEP 1 Skills recognition
Visit the AMC website to:

  • Identify a registration pathway – Competent Authority, Standard or Specialist
  • Verify your medical qualifications through Primary Source Verification
  • Meet the English language requirements
STEP 2 You already have a job offer
Apply to the AHPRA in the relevant State or territory for registration.
(This may include a PESCI to assess your clinical suitability for the job)
You don’t have a job offer yet
Contact a recruitment agency or RWA to find a job
STEP 3 Apply to DIAC for a visa
Accept a job offer from a practice
STEP 4 Relocate Apply to the AHPRA in the relevant State or territory for registration.
(This may include a PESCI to assess your clinical suitability for the job)
STEP 5 Apply to DIAC for a visa
STEP 6 Relocate

RWA – Rural Workforce Agency
AHPRA – Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency
AMC – Australian Medical Council
MBA – Medical Board of Australia
PESCI – Pre-Employment Structured Clinical Interview
DIAC – Department of Immigration and Citizenship

Note: If any step is unsuccessful you need to start the process again.

Visit the official Australian Govt DoctorConnect website for more current information.

The Australian Medical Council (AMC)

The purpose of the AMC is to ensure that standards of education, training and assessment of the medical profession promote and protect the health of the Australian community.

The AMC assesses international medical graduates who want to practice medicine in Australia. This assessment process follows one of four different pathways:

  • Competent authority pathway
  • Standard Pathway (AMC Examination)
  • Standard Pathway (workplace based assessment)
  • Specialist assessment (full comparability/Area of Need)

The AMC also offers a service to the Australian state and territory medical boards to conduct primary source verification of the primary medical degrees of international medical graduates wishing to register with the boards.

The AMC examination process is one pathway an overseas trained doctor can take to obtain full medical registration in Australia. Information on other pathways to becoming registered to practise as an overseas trained doctor in Australia has been outlined above, as confirmed from the official DoctorConnect website.

Applying to the Australian Medical Council

The Australian Medical Council (AMC) recently introduced a range of process improvements and changes in requirements for primary source verification, Competent Authority Pathway assessments and AMC examinations for international medical graduates (IMGs).

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