Overseas trained doctors and the ’10 year moratorium’

Coming to Australia as an overseas trained doctor can be a confusing path to navigate and understand.

The ’10 year moratorium’

There are allowances in Australian law for overseas trained doctors and foreign graduates of accredited medical schools to come to Australia and practise medicine in areas of need in an area classified in The Distribution Priority Area (DPA) to access Medicare under section 19AB of Australia’s Health Insurance Act 1973.

These areas are in a DPA, meaning that there are not enough doctors available to tend to the needs of the people living in the area. These areas are scattered across rural and remote Australia.

These special allowances dictate that the medical professional must work in the DPA area for a set amount of time (called a ‘return-of-service). Typically, this period of time has been ten years, which was commonly referred to as ‘the 10 year moratorium’. However, doctors can now reduce their years of service by serving in the areas where they are needed most.

Visit the Department of Health website for more information.

Pathways for International Medical Graduates (IMGs)

The Australian Medical Council (AMC) assesses most overseas trained doctors, also known as International medical graduates (IMGs), against the standards of Australian interns before general medical registration is granted.

Overseas trained doctors may obtain registration without an AMC assessment if they completed their degree and internship under an approved Competent Authority (CA).

If your internship was not completed under a CA, you are required to successfully complete a two-part examination with the AMC and are then eligible to apply for provisional registration.

View more information about assessment pathways to registration for international medical graduates.