Before offering a position to an Overseas Trained Doctor (OTD)

Area of Need (AoN)

A responsible Minister for Health (state or territory Minister for Health) may decide there is an area of need for a geographical area and/or type of health service. Area of Need approval must be obtained by the employer - not the OTD.

AoN is determined by the relevant State or Territory Government for the purposes of immigration and registration.

Area of Need – more information

District of Workforce Shortage (DWS)

Medicare provider number restrictions apply to all OTDs. Exemption from these restrictions may be granted for areas that have been identified as a DWS. This exemption enables a doctor to be granted a Medicare provider number and bill for services that will attract benefits from Medicare.

DWS is determined by the Department of Health for the purposes of access to Medicare. In most cases, the practice will need both AoN and DWS status to employ an OTD.

You can check if the location of your vacancy is in a DWS by searching the locator map. Locations are updated annually.

Locator map
District of Workforce Shortage – more information
Medicare provider number legislation

Medicare provider number restrictions

OTDs and FGAMS who are Australian permanent residents or citizens and who have yet to gain fellowship of a specialist college or vocational recognition are subject to Section 19AA of the Act. This group of OTDs and FGAMS is required to work under Section 3GA programs.

Section 3GA of the Act allows medical practitioners undertaking postgraduate education or placements on approved workforce programs to provide professional services that attract Medicare benefits.

Exemptions for training programs, therefore, allow doctors to receive access to Medicare benefits while undertaking vocational training to receive a fellowship from one of the medical specialist colleges.

Medical practitioners are considered to have met the vocational recognition requirements of section 19AA once they obtain a fellowship qualification within their specialty that is recognised within Australia.