Area of Need (AON) Positions For Overseas Trained Doctors
Doctors whose primary degree is from Australia or New Zealand, or overseas trained doctors who have passed the AMC exam are eligible to work in any position in Australia. All other doctors are only eligible to work in positions which have been classed as an “Area of Need”. Due to the extreme shortage of Australian and New Zealand doctors, there are many AON positions available in both metropolitan and rural centres. For practices to apply for an “Area of Need”, they must first be in a “District of Workplace Shortage” area. To check whether your area of interest is in a District of Workplace Shortage go to:

AMC Exam
The Australian Medical Council administers the national examinations of overseas trained medical practitioners seeking to practice medicine in Australia.

The AMC examinations are designed to assess, for registration purposes, the medical knowledge and clinical skills of overseas trained doctors whose basic medical qualifications are not recognised by the Australian Medical Board – that is, doctors trained in medical schools that have not been formally reviewed and accredited by the AMC.

Registration requirements
Doctors who have trained in the USA, Canada, UK, South Africa can almost always get registration in any state of Australia without sitting exams. However the registration process is complex and can take
6-9 months.

Due to the similarities in language and training standards, those medical graduates who are eligible for the Competent Authority Pathway, (see below) are not required to pass the AMC MCQ or Clinical Examination to be registered. There is also the Standard Authority Pathway (see below).

Doctors who have trained in countries other than those stated above usually need to pass the AMC exam before they can gain registration in Australia. This exam includes a multi-choice part which can be sat in many locations in Europe/Asia and a clinical part which must be sat in Australia. It usually takes a minimum of one year to complete this exam. They also need to have passed the IELTS test with a score of 7 in all bands.

Visa requirements
NZ citizens do not require a visa to work in Australia. All other non-Australians doctors will usually be granted a work visa once they have a job offer and have registration to work. For further information please see Department of Immigration and Citizenship.

Competent Authority Pathway
In order to meet the criteria under the competent authority pathway you are required to:

  • Be a graduate of a medical course conducted by a medical school accredited by the General Medical Council, AND HAVE THEN:
  • Successfully completed the Foundation Year 1 or 12 months supervised training (Internship equivalent) approved by the GMC or AMC designated Competent Authority country.


  • have successfully completed the Professional and Linguistic Assessments Board (PLAB) test since 1975, AND THEN:
  • have successfully completed the Foundation Year 1or 12 months supervised training (Internship equivalent) approved by the GMC or AMC designated Competent Authority country.

    To get started with your professional medical registration, the Australian Medical Council (AMC) website is the first place to visit. The AMC processes applications from all international medical graduates; but does not grant medical registration. In Australia, each state/territory has its own medical board and currently all medical practitioners are required to register in the state/territory in which they will be working.

    In terms of practice location, there are some restrictions whereby overseas trained doctors (OTDs) have to work in either an Area of Need (AON) and/or District of Workforce Shortage (DWS). However you will still be eligible to work in many fantastic Coastal, outer metropolitan and rural areas of Australia.

    You will need to provide the AMC with:

    • evidence of English language proficiency -you will need to demonstrate English competency by completing the IELTS examination -with a minimum score of 7 in each element, or the alternative Occupational English Test.

    Exemptions may apply when the applicant can provide evidence of secondary education in either UK, Canada, Ireland, New Zealand, USA or South Africa, where English is the native or first language. Further information about the IELTS can be found on the IELTS website.

    • evidence of current medical registration in your jurisdiction
    • verification of medical qualifications

    English language proficiency

    The Medical Board of Australia requires international medical graduates to provide proof of English language proficiency for all registration categories unless it has granted an exemption. Therefore, all applicants are advised to make arrangements to obtain that proof before they apply under any of the assessment pathways.

    Acceptable evidence of English language proficiency may be a certified copy of the original or the original of any one of the following:

    • Occupational English Test (OET) results, with grades A or B li>
    • International English Language Testing System (IELTS) Academic Module results, with scores of 7 or higher in each of the 4 components
    • a pass in the Professional Linguistic Assessment Board (PLAB) in the United Kingdom (PLAB pass letter)
    • a pass in the New Zealand Registration Examination (NZREX) in New Zealand.

    The results of the English language examinations must be obtained in one sitting and are valid for only two years from the date of issue.

    Specialist and Area of Need Specialist applicants are encouraged to provide evidence of English language proficiency. Alternatively, they can provide reasons for not providing that evidence or state when they can provide it. If evidence of English language proficiency is the only application document outstanding, the AMC will not hold up the application. It will be up to the specialist medical college to decide whether to proceed with the college assessment.

    Standard Pathway
    The Standard Pathway is generally for non-specialist international medical graduates (IMGs) seeking general registration in Australia who do not qualify for the Competent Authority Pathway.

    Under this pathway, the AMC conducts two alternative processes leading to the AMC Certificate:

    Standard Pathway (AMC examinations). Assessment is by examination only—the AMC CAT MCQ Examination and the AMC Clinical Examination. Most non-specialist applicants will be assessed through this method.

    Standard Pathway (workplace-based assessment). Assessment is by examination and workplace-based assessment—the AMC CAT MCQ Examination and workplace-based assessment of clinical skills and knowledge by an AMC-accredited authority. Go to the AMC website for more information.