DWS Changes – Australia

The existing District Workforce Shortage currently in place in Australia for overseas trained GPs is being replaced by Distribution Priority Areas. Read below to find out more.

Its been confirmed by the Department of Health that changes to the DWS methodology are coming into place from 1st July (although no public release has been made available yet)

So What is changing?

The Government are reviewing the current methodology to see how it can better reflect the needs of an area. The current system relies on outdated population data which means that the DWS system is not accurately assessing the medical workforce in towns that have experienced population growth over the past decade.

The DPA for GPs will use a new methodology that takes several factors into consideration, for example, socio-economic and demographic factors of patients, GP services currently available.

The Department will soon be issuing further information which we will share as soon as we have it.

If you have any questions our team are here to help.

New RACGP Pathway Changes | Australia

Adding to a rather changeable few months for GPs relocating to Australia, the RACGP have recently announced further changes to the registration pathway.

As of 1 September 2019, the current Specialist Recognition Program will close to be replaced by the PEP Specialist Stream.After this date, the RACGP will no longer award Fellowship ad eudum gradum directly and will require a period of supervision and workbased assessment prior to being awarded Fellowship with the College. GPs will however still be granted with Specialist Medicare provider numbers to allow full access to Medicare rebates, and not negatively affecting your income.

It also means that GPs enrolling in this pathway will be required to work only in areas classified as MMM2-MMM7.The state capitals of Australia are primarily MMM1 therefore moving overseas trained GPs to more regional locations.

The new Health Workforce Certificates remain in place and will work in conjunction with the PEP specialist pathway. District of Workforce shortage is also a requirement.

We strongly recommend that if you are interested in working in one of the cities then you get in touch to discuss your plans further and applying for a job prior to the changes coming in September this year.

Further Reading

7 Benefits of working in Regional Australia

Visas for GPs – Health Workforce Certificates

Medical Registration Australia


7 Benefits of Working as a GP in Rural Australia | Transition Medical

Seven Amazing Benefits of Working as a GP in Regional Australia

After the Department of Health in Australia’s recent announcement and the RACGP change in pathway being implemented in September 2019, there are now further geographical limitations for overseas trained GPs. You may be wondering how these new regulations will impact your move down under. Will it even still be possible?

The good news is that there’ll still be plenty of GP vacancies. It won’t perhaps be possible within the Australian state capitals so GPs will have to look further afield. There will still be lots of options in smaller cities, regional towns and stunning coastal environments. 

Thankfully, Australia’s more regional areas have some amazing benefits, both in terms of lifestyle and professional development. You may discover that living in smaller cities and towns offers you the ideal escape and a more relaxed lifestyle, perfect for you and your family.

Here are some of the fantastic advantages of working and living as a GP in Australia’s more rural regions.

Expand your repertoire

As a GP at a smaller practice, you may need to develop a wider range of skills and become a bit of a ‘jack-of-all-trades’. You might work with patients outside your normal skill set, see a broader range of illnesses, or have more opportunities than you would in urban clinics. All of which, will look great on your CV when, if, you decide to relocate to another area or practice.

Greater autonomy and responsibility

We recently spoke with David, one of the GP’s we helped move to Australia’s West Coast, to discover the benefits of working as a GP in rural Australia. As he explained:

My day is probably not typical of most GPs in Australia. I see 8 patients in the morning and 7 patients in the afternoon with around 20 minutes per patient…

There are lots of people to help. The patients have plenty of support from specialists. I can order a CT scan or an x-ray in a few days rather than it taking a month.”

Read more about David’s experiences here.

Play an active role in the community

GPs, especially in rural regions, are figures of the community and work closely with local people to promote their health and well-being. You’ll get to spend more time with patients and, as a result, get to know them on a more personal level. So, rather than trying to fill quotas, as you would in a large urban clinic, you can focus on treating the individual — not just the symptoms.

Work with aboriginal people

Over 65% of aboriginal people live in rural regions, which means that as a rural GP you’ll have the opportunity to work with this group of people and learn about their unique approaches to medicine as well as their health problems.

David, our GP in Western Australia, explained that on a typical day:

“I work with Aboriginal patients. About 60% of the Australian population is obese, and this is higher in the aboriginal community. It’s not unusual to see complex diabetes, high blood pressure, lots of alcohol and drug misuse and social disruption.”

Experience Australian Nature

Australia has some stunning nature like the Great Barrier Reef as well as unique wildlife and fauna. Living in remote regions allows you to experience the very best of Australian nature.

As a regional GP, you might live in areas like Bunbury, Busselton or Cairns:


  • Bunbury. Bunbury is best known for its resident population of wild bottlenose dolphins that can often be seen swimming off Koombana Bay. As such, you can swim with these intelligent creatures at the Dolphin Discovery Centre or spend your weekends kayaking through Leschenault Inlet with its calm waters and rich mangroves.



  • Busselton. Located at Western Australia’s southwest tip, the city of Busselton is surrounded by stunning coast. Nearby, there’s a sheltered beach, perfect for young families and children, and you might even spot a humpback whale.



  • Cairns. Cairns is one of the best places to access the Great Barrier Reef, so it’s popular with divers and snorkelers. It’s also quite close to Daintree National Park, where you can spend your weekends hiking through lush mountainous rainforest and gorges or sunbathing on the beach. With so much surrounding it, Cairns is easily a nature-enthusiasts’ paradise.


Relax in small Australian cities

Living in remote regions doesn’t mean you have to live in the outback. Australia’s rural areas have a few cities like MacKay in Queensland. Mackay has a population of 125,000 and offers a great selection of restaurants, boutiques and a city water park.

It’s also within proximity of Australian nature like the Great Barrier Reef, rainforests, and idyllic islands. So, you can take advantage of the best of both worlds.

Better Quality of Life

Living and working in rural regions is, in general, more relaxing. The lower living costs mean that your salary will go further, so you can buy (or rent) a bigger house and enjoy the finest things in life. GP also report being less stressed, getting to spend more time with family and enjoying an overall better quality of life.

Discover GP Vacancies in Regional Australia with Transition Medical

Here at Transition Medical, we have some exciting opportunities in rural regions of Australia. Browse our latest openings or contact our dedicated recruitment consultants to discuss areas and positions that might be a good fit for you and your family.

Related Articles 

What if it becomes harder to work in Australia cities?

The new Visas for GP legislation has been in place now for almost 2 weeks. The information is trickling through from the Department of Health and our GP clients which is allowing us to slowly build a picture of what it means for UK trained GPs working in Australia.

We have heard from a couple of metropolitan city-based practices that their workforce certificate has been declined. This doesn’t by any means give a complete picture as these are only small areas of larger cities and is no indication of the major cities not being available for UK GPs. The Workforce Agency has confirmed that it is not preventing the issuing of employer sponsored visas for overseas trained GPs in these state capitals however reducing the number of eligible positions. The numbers will be adjusted based on the number of visa applications received and granted in the preceding years.

As the number of metropolitan city positions become fewer, for some GPs it will be advantageous to start to consider some regional and rural areas of Australia. This does not mean working in the very remote areas of Australia. It is understood that areas which hold RRMA3 – RRMA7 will automatically be granted certificates. These areas include the far outlying areas of the large cities or smaller towns and cities.  Regional locations include wonderful areas offering a fabulous lifestyle and all the activities for the whole family you would need. We work with some practices in lovely coastal areas which give easy access to the beach, great schooling options for children and leisure activities.

Longer Term Considerations

It is worth remembering that the workforce shortage certificate only affects employer sponsored visas so the Permanent Skilled Visa (189) doesn’t require the certificate. This is a points based permanent visa so if your long-term goal is to stay in Australia, dependent on your eligibility, once this is granted you have this you will have many more options around locations of jobs.

Find out More about working in Regional Australia

Read out the benefits of working in Regional Australia for GPs

Find Out what life is like for a UK GP working in Regional Australia


GP Jobs Regional Australia

Here are a couple of examples of the areas you could consider:

GP Job – Geraldton

GP Job – Margaret River

GP Job – Darwin

GP Job – Wollongong area





Visas for GPs initiative Confirmed

We recently released some information around the potential changes around where GPs will be able to work in Australia. In our recent blog post we highlighted information received from the Department of Health in Australia which would require all practices seeking to engage an overseas trained GP to apply for a Certificate from the Rural workforce agency. This has now been confirmed and will affect all GPs applying for visas from today (11 March 2019) The full Visa for GPs factsheet can be found here. 

All employers nominating a particular role to be filled by an overseas trained GP will need to obtain a certificate from the Rural Workforce Agency proving a genuine need to fill the position by an overseas doctor. This will affect the Employer sponsored temporary (TSS 482) and permanent visas (Subclass 186)

The Visa for GPs initiative will be supported by a planning tool developed by the Department of Health to assess the suitability of an overseas trained GP being recruited for the particular role. The aim is to try to distribute overseas trained GPs to areas where they are most in need, particularly regional, rural and remote locations.

What does this mean for Overseas Trained GPs?

As the information has just been released today, over the coming week or two we will understand more about how this will affect UK trained GPs and where you can work. It must be emphasised that is not designed to stop UK GPs working in Australia so there will still be plenty of available positions to consider. It may however mean that it is harder to find a position within metropolitan areas and the State Capitals, eg Sydney, Melbourne, Perth etc.

Each application considered will be assessed on its own merit by the new Workforce Planning Tool which is unfortunately not publicly available information. This makes it more difficult for us to surmise which positions and practices will be directly affected. We anticipate however, that many of our current positions which are already in workforce shortage areas should still be available for UK GPs.

If you wish to discuss your circumstances directly please do get in touch with a member of our team.

Our Blog Post explaining the rule changes

GP Australian Visas explained



GP Medical Registration Australia

In light of the recent changes to the registration pathway in Australia we have highlighted a brief guide below to explain which documents you need to complete the GP registration process.

The medical registration and visa process to allow you to work in Australia takes approximately 6 -8 months to complete.  Transition Medical will manage for you once we have secured your dream GP job in Australia. It can seem like a never-ending process with many hurdles to jump through however we make this manageable by breaking down into clear, easy to follow steps.

What documents do I need for GP Registration in Australia?

You will need documents such as your passport, medical degree certificate and specialist certificates plus certificate of good standing and English language test results, if applicable.

The RACGP have also introduced strict new requirements for your Comparability application recently. We have summarised these as follows:

Self Reflective Activity – this is often known as a Practice Audit. The RACGP ask for evidence of completion of a practice audit within the last 3 years. If you have not completed one recently please get in touch with one of our team for advice.

ALS Course requirement – Every GP being assessed via the RACGP must have completed the ALS course within the last 4 years. Not every course is deemed suitable and we will advise on the most appropriate course to book.

Evidence of 50 hours of CPD – This must be completed within the last 12 months, we will advise on which documents need to be provided to show evidence of completing this.

As part of the service that Transition Medical provides to you, we will guide you – and assist wherever possible – through your medical registration and immigration paperwork. We are on hand from the start until you arrive in Australia ready to start your new dream role! If you have any questions regarding your personal circumstances and how we can help please do get in touch.

Applying for a Provider Number

Australia Tax System for GPs

Top 10 Tips for GPs moving to Australia

Read more about what our placed UK doctors think of our service





Possible Changes to where GPs can work in Australia

The Department of Health has this week announced it’s proposal of how it intends to reduce the number of overseas trained GPs known as the Visas for GPs initiative. This is driven by statistics which indicate that by 2030 there will be an oversupply of 7000 medical practitioners.

The initiative aims to reduce the reliance on overseas trained doctors by reducing the number of visa approvals by around 200 per year. The initiative has been badged as a way to redistribute the number of overseas doctors working in and around major cities into regional, rural and remote areas where there is a higher need for doctors and where practices more often struggle to fill vacancies.

The fact sheet recently released explains that to be able to sponsor a GP, the practice must obtain certification from a Rural Workforce Agency stating that there is a genuine need to fill a healthcare position at a given location. The proposals have been scheduled to begin on the 11th March this year however this is subject to the necessary approvals. This has however not been agreed by the Department of Immigration so it is highly unlikely this deadline will be met.

What next?

At this stage, we must stress that this is only at proposal stage and has not been approved by the Department of Immigration.

The proposed new requirement for employers coming into effect on the 11th March, we think to be highly unlikely. This has not been given approval by the Department of Health and we don’t suspect this will happen prior to next week. We are keeping abreast of this and will update as soon as we have any further news.

It is also yet to be seen how any Health Workforce Certification would work in practice and the fact this proposes that all such administration be directed through the agency based in Tasmania seems to add yet another level of red tape to an already complicated process.

Many of our city based practices find it difficult to recruit locally trained GPs and heavily rely on overseas trained doctors to fill their vacancies. This may leave many of our practices in metropolitan areas struggling to provide the care needed for their patients.

It does seem likely however that under the new Stronger Rural Health Strategy there will be a move in the near future to address the regional shortages of GPs. As a UK trained GP, it may mean that it will become harder to work close to one of the State Capitals.

If you are planning a move to Australia in the near future, we would advise getting in touch sooner rather than later to discuss your own circumstances. We currently have no shortage of practices looking for overseas trained GPs.

We are staying up to date with any developments with this proposal and will update you as soon as we have any further news. For more information please don’t hesitate to contact one of our team to discuss further.



GP Satisfaction Survey – Australia

Health of the Nation and General Practice Workforce – Australia

The Royal College of GPs produce an annual General Practice workforce study and Health of the Nation report. The report reflects the current trends and issues impacting the future of Australian healthcare. We have summarised keys points below regarding the General practice workforce in Australia.

Medicare Billing

Australian general practices operate a billing system. Practices are defined as private, mixed or bulk billing. A private billing practice will charge their patients at the point of consultation, whereas bulk billing practices claim the cost of the treating their patients from Medicare. Mixed billing clinics do a combination of both.

Recent Medicare statistics show that 86.1% of general practice services in Australia are bulk billed. While this figure provides an indication of total bulk billed services in Australia, it does not represent the number of patients who are bulk billed. Patients may receive a number of services during a single visit to the GP, of which some may be privately billed. It was found that the proportion of patients who were fully bulk billed was actually much lower.

General Practice Workforce

There are 36,000 GPs practising in Australia across 6300 GP practices with the majority of GPs centered around the Eastern states. There are fewer GPs per patient in Western Australia, Northern Territory, Australian Capital Territory and Tasmania.

The Australian GP workforce is diverse in terms of gender, age and cultural background. Almost equal to the Australian population, 45% of GPs practising are female. In terms of age, 78% of GPs are between 35 – 64. Interestingly in 2015/2016 the number of GPs who gained their basic qualification at an overseas university represented a higher proportion of GPs who completed their qualifications in Australia or New Zealand. This is a trend which appears to continue.

GP Job Satisfaction and work-life balance

When GPs were asked to take everything relating to their role as a GP into consideration, almost 90% of GPs reported that they were satisfied or very satisfied in their role.

Work variety

More than 90% of GPs are satisfied or very satisfied with the variety in their work. Due to the varied nature of general practice and the range of patient health issues, GPs were asked how they spend most of their working day.

The majority of GPs reported that over 70% of their working day was providing direct patient care. 13% of their day was providing indirect patient care, 6% on management and administration and 9% classified as other. Interestingly GPs spent more time on each patient, with the average consultation time

Hours of work

Nearly 85% of GPs report being satisfied or very satisfied with their work hours. GP satisfaction with work hours remained high across various employment types (GP principal/ partner, associate, salaried employee, contracted employee), with at least 70% stating they are moderately or very satisfied overall. GPs working as Independent Contractors rather than GP Owners were the most satisfied (87%) among all employment types.

The maintenance of a good work–life balance varies depending on how many hours a GP works. GPs who work fewer than 40 hours a week have a more positive view of their work–life balance than those working 40 or more hours a week. Overall, 52% of GPs reported that they are able to maintain a good work–life balance and 60% of GPs believe that their workload is manageable

GP Salary

There is a positive relationship between overall job satisfaction and remuneration. GPs who indicate that they are very satisfied when earn more per hour than GPs who are very dissatisfied

GPs caring for patients in outer-regional and remote areas report being more satisfied with their remuneration than those in major cities.

The report does not indicate the actual or range of incomes produced by GPs in Australia. For a full time GP incomes tend to be in the region of $250 – $300K per annum with many GPs earning much more.  Please do get in touch with one of our team to discuss further.

Health conditions experienced by patients

It was found that 87.8% of the Australian population see their GP at least once per year and although patients can visit any GP surgery or any doctor, 78% of patients have a preferred GP. Most patients have a very positive view of visiting their GP. 75% report that their GP always listens carefully, shows respect and spends enough time with them.

Common health issues experienced by patients

Psychological issues (e.g. depression, mood disorders, anxiety) remain the most common health complaint managed by GPs. It was found that GPs with particular characteristics managed different health concerns e.g. younger and female GPs are more likely to provide family planning care. We talk to many GPs in Australia who explore personal clinical interests and build a patient base suited to their interest.

When looking at the health care issues causing the most concern for the future of the nation’s health, GPs cited mental health followed by obesity.

It was noted that most GPs look after patients with multiple health concerns, with almost 25% of patients in Australia experience two or more chronic health issues.

Further Reading

View the full report General Practice – Health of the Nation

Further Blog Posts

Find our more about a Day in the Life of a GP in Australia 

Our Top 10 Tips for GPs relocating to Australia

What do GPs earn in Australia

What Next

We are leading GP recruitment experts for doctors wishing to relocate to Australia or New Zealand. If you would like to discuss your circumstances further, we would be delighted to help. Please get in touch with one of our team.

GP Moving to Australia | Applying for a Medicare Provider Number

Once you have had your GP visa approval and have arrived for your new life in Australia, you’ll be delighted that the hard work has been done and you can relax into your new surroundings.

Before you are able to start treating patients as a GP in Australia, you need to apply for a Medicare provider number.

Why do I need a Provider Number?

A Medicare Provider number allows you to attract Medicare rebates for your services and to treat private patients. As a GP you will be paid a percentage of the total amount billed by the practice for the patients you treat, therefore crucial you have a provider number in place to allow you to be paid.

Provider Numbers, Medicare and DWS

The Australian Government introduced Provider Number restrictions to try to address the areas of workforce shortage in Australia. From 1997, to be eligible to apply for a Provider Number, all doctors who have completed their Primary Medical Degree overseas are required to gain an exemption of the Health Insurance Act (Section 19ab) The most commonly used exemption of this act, is for the GP to work in a district of workforce shortage (DWS) defined by the Department of Health and Ageing.

One of the stipulations of Section 19ab require all overseas trained GP work in a DWS area for 10 years from the date of first registration with the Medical Board. This is commonly known as the ’10 year moratorium’

DWS are geographical areas, defined by the Department of Health Australia, in which the local population has less access to Medicare subsidised services compared with the national average.

Where can I work as a GP in Australia?

The DWS Doctor Connect map allows you to search specific locations to determine DWS eligibility. You can work in any area which has current DWS status. You do not have to stay with the same practice for the full 10 years, you can move between states and employers, as long as there is DWS in place.

Medicare statistics are reviewed on an ongoing basis and areas can gain or lose their DWS status. Once you have accepted a position and signed a contract, there is no problem if your area loses DWS.

How do I apply for a Provider Number?

This is the final piece of paperwork to complete once you are in Australia. Transition Medical have a Specialist Registration Consultant who will manage this paperwork for you and send of the relevant forms.

We assist every GP who has accepted a job through us with their medical registration and visa paperwork, providing expert guidance and advice throughout the process.

When will my Provider Number be approved?

Once your application has been submitted to Medicare it can take around 28 days for your approval to come through. During this time, you can be settling into life in Australia, finding longer term accommodation and completing your induction in the practice. Perhaps even squeezing in a little time out at the beach before it’s back to work.

We advise that you ensure you have enough funds to see you through this initial period before you start earning an income. If you have any questions or want to discuss your plans please get in touch with our team.

Find out more here in our further Blogs

Where can I work as a GP in Australia

A day in the Life of a GP in Australia

Want to know more about working in Australia?



The Australian Tax System for British GPs Working in Australia

If you’re considering applying for GP jobs in Australia, you’ll certainly need to think about the financial aspects of moving to Australia. You might want to think about the cost of living in Australia as well as the Australian tax system and how it affects your take-home pay. If you own property in the UK and plan to keep it, you might also want to know how Australia taxes any income earned for overseas properties.

Average GP Salary Australia

Average GP salaries in Australia are relatively good with most GPs earning between AUS$200,000 to $400,000. Most of our GPs have a higher wage in Australia than they did in the UK.

GPs in Australia  often earn a percentage of the billings rather than a fixed salary. This takes into account the number of patients they see, the complexity of the consultations and the number of hours worked. Our GPs have found that this payment system gives them more control over their take-home pay.

Paying Tax as a British GP Working in Australia

As a general practitioner, you can move to Australia on either a temporary or permanent work visa since medical occupations currently qualify under the long-term strategic skill list. Your visa and how long you intend to stay will impact whether you are an Australian resident for tax purposes. The vast majority of our GPs relocate on a Temporary Skilled Shortage Visa (TSS 482) and would be classed as an Australian resident for tax.

Australian residents must declare any income earned from anywhere in the world. However, can also take advantage of Australia’s tax-free threshold and tax offsets. Australian residents also typically receive a lower tax rate than foreign residents.

Australia’s Tax System: How to Pay Tax

Before you begin working as a GP in Australia, you’ll need to get a tax file number, also known as TFN. The Australian income year ends on June 30th and most people will need to file an annual tax return prior to this date. You’ll primarily be taxed on income and the amount you pay will depend on whether you’re an Australian or foreign resident.

Paying Tax in Australia as an Australian Resident

Australia residents are entitled to claim a tax-free threshold of AUS$18,200 per year. This means you’ll only be taxed on income over the minimum threshold. You’ll also need to pay the Medicare levy, roughly 2% of your income, which helps support the country’s healthcare. In general, Australian residents using a TFN typically pay lower tax rates than foreign residents.

If you’re an Australian resident but only have a temporary resident visa, most of your foreign income won’t be taxed while you’re living in Australia. However, Australia does collect tax on work you complete overseas, for example, hosting an overseas conference, while living in Australia. More information about foreign income exemptions for temporary residents is available here.

Paying Tax in Australia as a Foreign Resident

It’s relatively rare for British GPs working in Australia to be classed as a foreign resident. As long as you’re taking steps to make Australia your home and plan to live here for more than six months, you’ll be classed as an Australian resident for tax purposes. If you’re a foreign resident for tax purposes, you’ll need to declare and pay tax on any income earned in Australia including employment or rental income, Australian pensions, and capital gains. Read more about paying tax as a foreign resident here.

Australian Tax System: Paying Tax on Overseas Property

Sometimes when our GPs move to Australia, they still own property in the UK. If you rent or sell this property and are classed as an Australian resident, you’ll probably need to pay tax. Any income or capital gains from overseas property must be declared in your Australian tax return. You may be able to claim a foreign income tax offset if you’ve already paid tax on income or capital gains in another country.

Australia’s Tax System: Overseas Pensions & Annuities

As an Australian resident, you’ll also need to pay tax on any UK pensions in payment or annuities. In some cases, you can choose to deduct and have some of your annual pension or annuity income personal contributions returned to you (also known as undeducted purchase price). If your pension or annuity has been taxed in the UK and Australia, you might be able to claim a foreign income tax offset on your Australian tax returns.

More information about overseas pensions and annuities is available here.

Paying Tax in Australia on Offshore Bank Accounts

If you decide to keep your UK bank account, you’ll need to report any interest or other income earned in your Australian tax income. Failing to declare this information could lead to financial penalties.

Working as a GP in Australia

Once you’ve secured a work visa and arrived in Australia, you need to apply for a TFN and complete a tax file number declaration. This declaration will help your employer determines whether you’ll pay tax as an Australian or foreign resident and how much tax to withhold from your salary.

You must provide the declaration to your employer within 28 days of starting your GP job or you’ll need to pay the higher tax rate. After completing this initial paperwork, your employer will deduct taxes and submit them to the government.

Returning to the UK

While most of our GPs choose to make Australia their home for life, some decide to return to the UK. When you leave Australia, you’ll still need to submit a tax return. If you’re departing before the end of the tax year and don’t plan to return, you can lodge an Australian tax return early.

Ready to Move to Australia?

View our excellent GP job vacancies located throughout Australia or speak to one of our specialist recruitment professionals. Transition Medical is here to support you throughout every stage of your move from finding outstanding opportunities, securing Australian work visas and getting settled in your new home. Read our testimonies to learn about other GPs that we’ve helped make the move.

Other Relevant Blogs