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Are you looking to move to Australia to work as a GP? Much of the process has changed over the past two years so we wanted to give you a quick update.

Overall, the process has gotten longer and there is more paperwork involved. There is still an opportunity for GPs with recognised specialist skills to get Specialist Registration in Australia.  However, we recommend that you get good information about where you can work before you make the move.  

Please note the following is in relation to Specialist GPs moving from the UK, Ireland, and New Zealand only.

During the first 6-12 months you will be part of the Royal Australian College of General Practitioners (RACGP) Specialist PEP program and will not be able to access other 19AB exemptions such as the after-hours or spousal exemptions which were previously available to most applicants. This means the list of locations where you can work is very limited.

As a general rule, your first position would need to be for 18-24 months as there is a lot of cost and work for the practice to sponsor you and to help you orientate into the system in Australia. The PEP program also requires you to work for a specific period before allowing you specialist status in Australia (although you will still earn the same as a specialist GP from the start).

Because of this, it’s no longer possible to work for shorter periods or do locum assignments in Australia.

Once you have completed the PEP program you will receive FRACGP and this will open up a few more options.  However, you will still be under the 10-year moratorium and therefore require a 19AB exemption in order to work.  But the good news is that you will have more options for places you can work once you have the FRACGP.

Location Restrictions

We know that most GPs want to be working in a major city such as Melbourne, Sydney, or Perth, however, in most cases this is impossible. This is due to a range of factors including the RACGP’s PEP Specialist Stream and the Visas for GPs program.

To get registration and a visa to move to Australia, you will need to work within a Distribution Priority Area.

We get a lot of enquiries from GPs about a move to Australia, but unfortunately due to these restrictions, we need to be realistic about where you will be allowed to work.

The best locations that fulfill all the criteria and where we can offer positions are:

  • Canberra (large regional city and national capital)
  • Geelong (large regional city about 75 minutes drive from Melbourne CBD – not ideal for commuting)
  • Macedon Ranges (tree-change town about 45 mins from Melbourne CBD)
  • Mornington Peninsula (lovely coastal area about 75 minutes drive from Melbourne CBD – not ideal for commuting)
  • Adelaide (outskirts of metro area) some inner suburbs
  • Tasmania – various locations

There are of course other more rural locations,  however the above are the best we can offer you in urban locations for your first job in Australia. You can view more of this information of the Health Workforce Locator and will be able to see that often you will need to work quite far away from the city areas.

Interested in moving?

If you are a GP and want to move to Australia, please feel free to contact us for a confidential discussion at [email protected] and one of our consultants will be in touch.