RACGP Registration, Visas & Permanent Residency
Visa and Permanent Residency information is given lower down on this page
Getting registered with the RACGP to work as a GP in Australia
Important update: the RACGP has announced a new system for registering GPs, which will come into force for all applications made after 31st August 2018. The new system differs from the current one in that GPs will need to undergo a Work Based Assessment for at least the first 6 months of work, overseen and signed off by a supervising GP at the practice. We have written a blog post about the changes:
All of our jobs are open to “Category 1” doctors as assessed by the RACGP. For UK or Irish GPs this equates to having MRCGP and JCPTGP / CCT / PMETB qualifications. For GPs from New Zealand, this equates to Fellowship with The Royal New Zealand College of General Practitioners (FRNZCGP). However, we occasionally have some jobs which are suitable for GPs who have been given “category 2” by the RACGP. These are usually out of the main city areas in more rural locations.
To work as GP in Australia, you need to be registered with the RACGP (Royal Australian College of GPs). This is quite complex and the whole process takes about 6 months.
You can only gain registration once you have a confirmed job offer – the signed contract is one of the documents the RACGP requests as part of the process.
Our full time vacancies in Private or Corporate practice are for “Category 1 doctors” (see below). The following notes are our understanding of the current system. Please note that each application is assessed individually, so our advice is just a guide – please send us your detailed CV if you’d like more advice:
Category 1 – Eligibility for Private and Corporate practice jobs near to the main cities:
For these vacancies, doctors must be classified by the RACGP (Royal Australian College of GPs) as being at the same level as an Australian trained specialist. This is “Category 1”. If you’ve trained in the UK and you have MRCGP (by examination) and either a CCT (granted via prescribed experience) or hold the old JCPTGP certificate (granted via prescribed experience), then you should be a category 1 doctor. If you’ve trained in Ireland and you’re a graduate of the ICGP and hold MICGP membership, then you should also be classed as Category 1. If you’ve trained in New Zealand and you hold Fellowship with The Royal New Zealand College of General Practitioners (FRNZCGP), then you should also be classed as Category 1.
Please note that the RACGP has decided that all applicants with iMAP MRCGP will now be classed as Category 2. They’ve also said that doctors with MRCGP and who’ve gained their CCT or JCPTGP or CEGPR via equivalent experience, will be individually assessed as to whether they are Category 1 or Category 2. There is more information here: http://www.racgp.org.au/assessment/pathways/specialistpathway
There is more information on registration on the AMC and the RACGP websites:
In essence, the application process goes like this:
- Sort out all your documents.
- Apply online to the AMC for EICS / ECFMG verification of your MBBS and MRCGP (MICGP / FRNZCGP)
- Send notarised copies of MBBS and your specialist GP qualification, along with various application forms and the fee to the AMC
- Once received by the AMC, begin the RACGP side of things via their portal
- Upload the documents they request, along with confirmed job offer / job description and arrange for certificates of good standing to be sent to the RACGP directly
- The RACGP then assesses you and (hopefully) gives you Category 1 status and “FELLOWSHIP ad eundum gradum”
- You now have 6 months in which to take up your job
- When you start work, you will undertake a period of 6 months of Work Based Assessment, with a supervising GP at the practice you are working in. At the end of this time, the supervisor and the RACGP will need to sign you off.
- The WBA will include:
- patient surveys
- supervisor/mentor reports
- a candidate self-reflection on the differences between practice in Australia and the country in which the specialist medical degree was awarded
- developing a learning plan using the RACGP planning learning and need (PLAN) tool
- an RACGP peer reviewer visiting your practice.
- Substantially Comparable doctors must complete the WBA within six months’ FTE of commencing work in Australia. They may be required to complete an additional WBA if they do not meet the required standard.
- Partially Comparable doctors must complete the WBA within six months’ FTE of commencing work in Australia.
- Doctors who do not satisfactorily complete the WBA within six months’ FTE of commencing work must repeat the assessment and may be subject to review before enrolling in the Fellowship examinations.
Beyond the AMC & RACGP
Once you’ve got RACGP recognition to be a Category 1 GP in Australia, you’ll then need to get AHPRA registration (AHPRA are state bodies which regulate doctors within their area – rather like the UK’s PCTs). When that’s done, you apply, via your employer for a Visa. The visa system has also recently changed – please see this page for more information on Visas: http://www.gpjobsinaustralia.co.uk/457-or-permanent-residency-186-visa/
We have full details on how to do the application, which we send to doctors once they have a job offer.
Visa Application Information – TSS – 482 Visa
The new Visa system for GPs going to work in Australia came into force on March 18 2018
The below information is general information and does not constitute formal migration advice. It is a summary of the system – we’ve more detailed analysis in this blog post
It may be helpful to use a registered migration agent for advice on any issues you may have applying for your visa. Please contact us if you would like the details of our recommended registered migration agent. (N.B. This will be particularly useful if you and your partner are not married or if you have children in their mid-teens. )
Generally you will start the visa application around two months prior to your intended arrival date. The Department of Immigration prefer not to approve a visa more than 28 days in advance but they can be flexible on this point. For most doctors the final document they need for their visa application is their certificate of ‘registration in principle’ from AHRPA. You can start your application prior to receiving this document and then simply upload it once you receive it.
This link is to the Australian Government website outlining the new visa system: https://www.homeaffairs.gov.au/trav/visa-1/482-
The following are the main conditions for the visa:
GPs are on the medium and long term shortage list (line no 95 – 253111), so the visa can be granted for 4 years. It is also renewable in country (so, as long as the rules stay the same and GPs stay on the medium & long term shortage list, you can continue to work long term in Australia using this type of visa). You can also apply for Permanent Residency when you have this visa
There is another visa stream – one for occupations considered to be in short term shortage. These visas are granted for 2 years (renewable once – so 4 years in total).
We have had no indication that GPs will move from the Medium & Long term list to the Short term list. But it is possible (though very unlikely before 2019)
In addition to the required skill level for each occupation, applicants must also demonstrate that they have worked in their nominated occupation or a related field for at least 2 years. Usually, your experience as registrar level GP counts towards this
Genuine temporary entrant
Visa applicants applying via the short-term stream must demonstrate that they intend to stay in Australia temporarily.
Increased English language requirement
Visa applicants applying via the medium-term stream are required to demonstrate a higher level of English language ability (GPs shouldn’t have any issue with this side of things – your RACGP / AHPRA application requires IELTS at 7.0 (or UK education).
Labour Market Testing
The GP clinics must provide evidence they have advertised the nominated occupation and have been unsuccessful sourcing local labour.
Full time work
Nominated positions must be full time – 38 hours per week.
Employee or self-employed contractor
There is an exemption that allows GPs to work as self-employed contractors – ie GPs do not need to be employees (it is covered here: “Unless the nominated occupation is exempt, you are required to engage the nominee as an employee under a written contract of employment. A copy of this contract, which has been signed by both the employer and the nominated overseas worker, must generally be provided to us. The exempt occupations are listed in TSS legislative instruments.)”
The GP clinic must demonstrate that there is a genuine need for the position based on the scale and scope of the business.
There may also be a levy on the practice you go to work for to cover training for Australians for future roles
The application cost for you is $ 2,455 plus, if you are going with a partner, a further $2,455. U18 dependents cost $615
A migration agent to help you with your application will cost approximately $ 1500
Permanent Residency (PR)
It used to be that the simplest & quickest way to get PR was via the Skilled Independent Visa 189 (points tested) system. However, recently this has become more difficult – anecdotally, we’ve heard that you need to have 75 points in order to be in with a chance of being invited to apply (GPs can get 65 / 70 points but it is hard to get more without having worked in Australia for at least a year). There is a bit of hope that it will get easier for GPs after July 1st 2018 for the new “immigration year” – there is a chance that they will allocate more invitations each month (in the last few months it has been around 300 to 400 whereas a couple of years ago it was 7 x to 10x this number).
- Transitional Route. This is available to 457 visa (the old work visa) and the new 482 visa holders. There is a minimum time you have to have worked in Australia for the employer to able to apply for you. For 457 visas granted before April 2017, the threshold is 2 years. For 457 visas since then and the new 482 visa, the threshold is three years. After you’ve worked in Australia for the requisite time, your employer can nominate you for PR. The key advantages with this method are: a) if you get your 482 visa while GPs are on the medium and long term shortage list (as they are at the moment) then, this route will be open to you – even if GPs are subsequently taken off the list (*see note below). And b) you don’t need to be a direct employee of the practice – you can be an independent contractor (the standard way in which GPs work in Australia). The disadvantages: it’s 3 years before the application can be made (for new visa holders) and you have to remain with that same employer for the whole time
- Direct Entry Scheme. With this scheme, employers can nominate a GP at any time – there is no “time spent working” threshold. So, the application can be made as soon as you start work (or more likely just after a probationary period). The main stumbling block is that you will need to be a true employee of the practice rather than an independent contractor. Your contract will need to be for at least 2 years. We are currently talking to a few practices about offering employee contracts in order to meet the requirements.
- N.B. you would need to start work via the 482 work visa and then the employer would submit the application for the 186 visa. It seems unlikely that it will be possible to arrange the Direct Entry scheme before you leave the UK.This is because, as part and parcel of the application, you would need to be registered with AHPRA, which itself requires registration with the RACGP. The latter requires you to start work within 6 months of registration. Although an extension might be granted to your start date (not guaranteed), it leaves you and the practice exposed to changes in the system (for example the RACGP registration process) or significant delays with immigration
So, possible routes for PR:
- Agree a 3 year “independent contractor” contract with the employing clinic, with an agreement that they will support an application via the Transitional Route after 3 years. Start work via the 482 visa.
- Agree an employer / employee contract with your clinic with an agreement that they will support an application via the Direct Entry route as soon as you arrive / after a probationary period in Australia. (N.B. You may need to pay for the application process). Start work via the 482 visa.
- Apply via the points system (189 visa) when you get to Australia – you can do this instead of the options above (ie if you only accept a 2 year contract) or as well as. (If you’re successful with the points application, then you or your employer can withdraw the 186 application).
- *note: We are not migration agents and we’ve published this information as an unofficial guide only, based on our understanding of the rules on visas and PR as at June 28th 2018. We cannot accept any liability if there is an error or if the immigration department changes the rules.