The 10-year moratorium
From the time of medical registration in Australia, all overseas trained doctors and foreign graduates of an accredited medical school must work for at least 10 years in a:
- Distribution Priority Area (DPA) if you're a general practitioner (GP)
- District of Workforce Shortage (DWS) if you're a non-GP specialist.
This moratorium and all location restrictions under section 19AB of the legislation:
- end after 10 years if you are a permanent resident or citizen
- continue unchanged if you remain a temporary resident.
You can reduce the time you must work in a DPA or DWS through scaling.
Working in eligible locations grants you ‘scaling credits’:
- The more remote the area you work in, the more scaling credits you get.
- The more credits you have, the sooner you can work in locations not classified as DPA or DWS, provided you also meet section 19AA requirements.
The moratorium is always 10 years minimum. But once you have enough scaling credits, you may have a class exemption for the rest of your moratorium.
Eligibility for scaling
You can reduce your 10-year moratorium through scaling if all of the following apply to you:
- You are an overseas trained doctor or foreign graduate of an accredited medical school working in an eligible regional or remote area under section 19AB.
- You are claiming Medicare Benefits Schedule items for services as part of your employment.
- Your monthly billing threshold is $5,000.
Medicare automatically applies scaling credits once you have submitted your Medicare billing data and you have reached the threshold.
If you work in multiple areas, the scaling is based on where you do most of your Medicare claiming for each month.
Participants on the 5-year Overseas Trained Doctor Scheme are not eligible to receive scaling credits, as this program already offers moratorium credits.
Eligible locations and reduction
Scaling locations are based on the Australian Statistical Geographical Classification Remoteness Area system.
You can check the classification of a location on the Health Workforce Locator.
Monthly scaling benefit (where billing threshold is met)
Reduced moratorium period
Checking your scaling status
Through your Health Professional Online Services account, you can:
- check your current scaling credits
- view the date you are eligible for the class exemption from 19AB
- check the end date of your moratorium.
Read more about how to check your scaling status. We do not have access to your scaling information.
Contact Services Australia for help with moratorium scaling.