Area of Need program overview

What is an Area of Need?

An Area of Need (AoN) is an identified geographical location where the medical needs of the population cannot be met by the currently available medical workforce.

AoN is a workforce distribution classification that allows employers unable to fill medical practitioner positions with suitable Australian-qualified practitioners, to recruit international medical graduates (IMGs) who would require ‘limited registration for area of need’ with the Medical Board of Australia.

In accordance with section 67(5) of the Health Practitioner Regulation National Law (WA) Act 2010 (external site), an AoN can be declared by the WA Minister for Health (the Minister) or authorised delegate(s). In WA, the Minister has delegated this authority to the WA Department of Health Chief Medical Officer.

The AoN Program specific to the State of Western Australia is administered by the WA Department of Health. Each Australian state or territory will have varying processes and requirements.

How to apply?

Employers seeking a new AoN declaration will need to prepare and lodge an online application. IMGs cannot apply directly for an AoN declaration.

In some situations there may be a suitable AoN declaration already in place that can be made available to employers on request. Employers are encouraged to email the WA AoN Team prior to starting an application to query if there is an available declaration for the required locations and specialty

Important information to assist employers with the application process:

Once the Application Checklist has been completed and the required documentation collated, employers can lodge an online AoN application.

Apply now

Applications can take up to eight weeks to process and assess from the time a completed application is lodged. Applicants will be notified of the application outcome once a determination has been made.

If the application is unsuccessful and there are grounds for appeal, the applicant may submit an appeals request to within 28 days of the outcome notification. Further information is provided in the Area of Need Appeals Process (PDF 105KB).

Contact Us

Area of Need Team
Office of the Chief Medical Officer
Western Australian Department of Health

Last reviewed: 31-03-2023
Produced by

Medical Workforce