Overseas trained doctors are a key part of the medical workforce, not only in rural and remote areas, but in all areas of Australia. They may work in Australia on a temporary basis and many will go on to become permanent residents of Australia.
This chapter brings together the available data on medical practitioners who have trained overseas, in particular on their assessment and accreditation by the Australian Medical Council (AMC) and those with approved working visas issued by the Australian Government Department of Immigration and Citizenship (DIAC).
International medical graduates (IMGs) must first apply to the Australian Government Department of Immigration and Citizenship (DIAC) for a visa under which they may work or continue their training in Australia. They are usually overseas when applying, but others who have already entered Australia can also apply. Applicants are then assessed by the Australian Medical Council (AMC) as to whether they are eligible to seek registration to practise medicine in Australia. Prior to July 2010, they then had to apply to the relevant medical board to register to practise in a given state or territory. From July 2010, applicants must apply through the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency (AHPRA) to be registered to practise nationally.
Overseas trained doctors must separately apply for an exemption under section 19AB of the Health Insurance Act 1973 (the Act) in order to access Medicare benefits for the services they provide.
Further details on these processes and the numbers entering Australia and being assessed are provided in this chapter.