Area of Need program overview

What is an Area of Need?

Area of Need (AoN) is a workforce distribution classification mechanism, administered by the Western Australian (WA) Government Department of Health. An Area of Need declaration allows employers unable to fill vacant medical practitioner positions with suitably qualified Australian-qualified medical practitioners, to recruit international medical graduates (IMG).

An AoN is required by an employer to obtain ‘limited registration for area of need’ for an IMG. IMGs cannot apply directly for an AoN. The AoN Team do not provide recruitment services and are not able to assist medical practitioners with recruitment and employment enquiries.

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

How to apply?

The AoN Team is currently preparing for the implementation of a new AoN Program (revised methodology) and online application system. While this work is underway employers are advised to contact the Area of Need Team for guidance and instructions on how to submit an application (

Applications can take up to eight weeks to assess and approve from the time a completed application is received.

Applicants will receive formal notification of the outcome. If the application is unsuccessful, the applicant may appeal the decision in writing within 28 business days by emailing Further information can be found in the Area of Need Appeals Process (PDF 345KB).

Contact Us

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

Last reviewed: 30-08-2022
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Medical Workforce