Understanding the 10-year moratorium

Do you plan to come to work as a doctor in Australia from overseas?

There are some restrictions on where doctors trained overseas can practise in Australia. Currently, doctors from other countries who want to work as a doctor in Australia are being welcomed to Australia to fill the general practitioner shortage. However, the Australian Government has policies in place to ensure that doctors trained in another country work in geographic regions with workforce shortages. These policies apply to international medical graduates (IMGs), overseas-trained doctors (OTDs) and foreign graduates from an accredited medical school (FGAMs).
  

What is the 10-year moratorium?

Section 19AB of the Health Insurance Act 1973 is also known as the 10-year moratorium. To work in Australia, GP registrars trained overseas need a Medicare provider number. Section 19AB of the Health Insurance Act 1973 states that OTDs and FGAMS will only be issued with a Medicare provider number if they work in areas deemed by the government to be a district of workforce shortage. Usually this means working in a rural or remote area outside of Australia’s main cities. So GP registrars who are under the moratorium do their vocational training via the rural pathway.
  

Who does the moratorium apply to?

The moratorium applies to:

  • Overseas-trained doctors who did not obtain their primary qualification in Australia or New Zealand
  • Overseas doctors trained in Australia or New Zealand who began studying in Australia or New Zealand under a temporary visa and subsequently obtained their primary qualification from an Australian or New Zealand university.

  
When does the moratorium start?

The moratorium begins when the doctor becomes registered as a medical practitioner in Australia.

  
What are IMGs, OTDs and FGAMs?

  • IMG: International medical graduate: A graduate who received their primary medical degree from a medical school outside of Australia or New Zealand
  • OTD: Overseas-trained doctor: A doctor who received their primary medical degree from a medical school outside of Australia or New Zealand and undertaken at least a portion of further training outside of Australia or New Zealand
  • FGAMS: Foreign graduate of an accredited medical school: A doctor who received their primary medical degree from an Australian or New Zealand university, but who was a temporary resident when first enrolled in that degree. For the purposes of the AGPT program, the terms IMG and OTD are often used interchangeably.

  
More information

Department of Health – working as a doctor in Australia

Medical Observer IMG Guide (requires registration)

General Practice Education and Training

IMG Registrar Committee