International Medical Graduates and Registration in Australia

Health Practitioners vs Medical Practitioners vs International Medical Graduates

Health Practitioners is a term that refers to the overarching occupational group of skilled workers within the medical sector. This is often used interchangeably with Medical Practitioners; however, it is important to note that Medical Practitioners sit under the umbrella of Health Practitioners. Similarly, International Medical Graduates are doctors who have obtained their degree overseas and form a subset group under Health Practitioners.

International Medical Graduates (IMGs)

International Medical Graduates (IMGs) are defined as doctors who obtained their degree outside of Australia or New Zealand OR are enrolled in a degree in Australia or New Zealand as a temporary resident. The typical approach to practicing medicine in Australia is to:

Sourcing a Job in the Right Location

As an IMG, specific restrictions apply to you meaning you are required to work only in certain locations. These are called Medical Billing Restrictions. The restrictions seek to make it easier for IMGs to obtain employment in areas where there is a demand for doctors. There are the following practice areas for IMGs:

  • Priority Areas
  • Private Setting
  • Public System
  • Telehealth or Aged Care workers

It should be noted that if you work in a city and you are on a temporary resident visa, restrictions on work hours will likely apply to you as there is a high demand for workers to provide after-hours care.

See here for further information about where you can work as an IMG.

Skills Assessment

Skills assessments are an assessment of the skills of a prospective visa applicant by an approved regulatory body. In the context of the overarching group of Health Practitioners, whether a skills assessment is required is dependent on the VISA TYPE and the OCCUPATION nominated.

For IMGs or Doctors who intend to practice as General Practitioners (GPs) or Resident Medical Officers (RMOs) skills assessments are not required. For GPs and RMOs, medical registration is accepted in substitute for skills assessments.

This is different for all other Health Practitioner occupations. Therefore, it is important you seek the advice prior to making a visa application.

Medical Registration with AHPRA

The Australian Healthcare Practitioner Regulation Agency (AHPRA) is the authorized body and regulatory agency that approves medical registration.

Pathways to Registration

There are three Pathways to Registration for IMGs:

  1. Standard Pathway via AMC examination OR Workplace-based assessment
  2. Competent Authority Pathway
  3. Specialist Pathway

These pathways assess the clinical skills and knowledge of IMGs to determine their eligibility for medical registration in Australia. If you are unsure which pathway to apply for, AHPRA have provided a Self-assessment check tool which can be utilised to determine which pathway to apply for – click here.


  • IMGS can obtain either Limited Registration or Provisional Registration with the Medical Board which is then followed by General Registration
  • IMGs who have a primary qualification in medicine and surgery that is recognised by the Australian Medical Council AND the World Directory of Medical Schools

IMGs must pass the AMC CAT MCQ Examination before they can apply to the Board for registration


  • Overseas-trained non-specialists
  • Leads to Provisional Registration
  • IMGs who have passed recognised examinations or completed training through a Medical Board approved competent authority


  • Overseas-trained specialists applying to be recognised at the same level of specialty in Australia (Specialist Recognition)
  • Overseas-trained specialists applying for an area of need specialist level position in Australia (Area of Need)
  • IMGs who have a primary qualification in medicine and surgery that is recognised by the Australian Medical Council AND the World Directory of Medical Schools AND must have satisfied all their specialty training in their country of training
Medical Registration

There are four types of Medical Registration in Australia:

  1. General Registration
  2. Specialist Registration
  3. Provisional Registration
  4. Limited Registration

The most common types of registration for IMGs are Provisional Registration and Limited Registration. For IMGs to obtain General Registration, they must meet the eligibility criteria for the Competent Authority Pathway AND complete 12 months of supervised practice in Australia.

The following table sets out the types of registration and who they can be granted to:

Type of Registration Eligibility
General Registration Note: General Registration cannot be obtained without IMGs first working in Australia

May be granted to:

·         IMGs in Competent Authority Pathway

·         IMGs with Australian Medical Council Certificate

Specialist Registration May be granted to:

·         IMGs who are applying based on Specialist Recognition or Area of Need

Provisional Registration May be granted to:

·         IMGs in the Standard Pathway awarded the Australian Medical Council Certificate

·         IMGs eligible for the Competent Authority Pathway

Limited Registration May be granted to:

·         Medical practitioners whose medical qualifications are from a medical school outside of Australia or New Zealand

Health Workforce Certificates

It should be noted that if an IMG is nominated for an employer-sponsored visa (i.e. Subclasses 186, 482 or 494), they may be required to provide a Health Workforce Certificate or Health Workforce Exemption Certificate.

Please see here for our page on HWCs and HWECs.

Occupations Assessed by AHPRA

This article is specific to IMGs/Doctors however AHPHRA is also the assessing authority for other health practitioners. The following occupations are assessed by AHPRA. See below for further information specific to the occupation:

Jamie Lim

Jamie is an Australian Regulated Migration Advisor (RMA 1799460).  Jamie has extensive immigration services experience across multiple visa subclasses and specialises in employer sponsored visas. He has a wide range of experience in corporate migration, including employer-sponsored visas and immigration compliance, and has managed small to large multinational corporate clients. Jamie also has specific experience with medical professionals, skills assessments, state sponsorships as well as partner visas. Book a time with Jamie here.

Jamie holds a Bachelor of Laws (Hons) from Monash University. Jamie speaks Mandarin Chinese as a second language.

His specialities include but not limited to:

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