Recruiting an international medical graduate

Before commencing recruitment of an international medical graduate (IMG), the public or private health service provider should take the following steps:

Step 1: Immigration

The IMG must meet Australian immigration requirements for either temporary or permanent entry visas.

The Department of Health and Aged Care (external site) has information about visa options for doctors seeking to work in Australia.

You may be required to sponsor the IMG. 

Step 2: Registration and supervision

The IMG must be eligible for registration with the Medical Board of Australia. 

All registration enquiries are processed by the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency (external site).

For more information on registration pathways for IMGs visit: Gaining medical registration in Australia.

There are several registration categories for IMGs. The two most common registration categories are:

  • Provisional registration
  • Limited registration

Provisional registration

IMGs requiring 12 months of supervised practice to be eligible for general registration can apply for provisional registration.  This includes IMGs on the Competent Authority Pathway OR IMGs granted the AMC certificate following completion of the AMC clinical examination.

Limited registration

IMGs undertaking supervised training on the standard pathway or specialist pathway may be eligible for limited registration for postgraduate training or supervised practice.  

IMGs on the specialist pathway or standard pathway working under supervision in an area of need where there is a demonstrated shortage of suitable Australian-qualified medical practitioners may be eligible for limited registration for area of need. 

IMGs seeking to work in general practice must provide evidence of three years (full-time equivalent) experience working in general practice or primary care.

The WA Health website provides further information on area of need.

Supervision requirements

All IMGs who are granted limited registration or provisional registration must be supervised. Supervision remains a requirement of registration for the duration of the IMG’s limited or provisional registration.

The Medical Board of Australia's Guidelines - Supervised practice for international medical graduates (external site) came into effect on 4 January 2016.

Step 3: Medicare Provider Number and Distribution Priority Area / District of Workforce Shortage

After receiving an IMG’s application for a provider number, Medicare Australia will assess whether the position is within a Distribution Priority Area (GPs) or District of Workforce Shortage (medical specialists).

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Medical Workforce