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How to Migrate to Australia as an International GP

Last updated 19 January 2024

Australia has always been a popular destination for immigrating to. Known for its sun, relaxed lifestyle, diversity and robust economy; migrants come to experience a better quality of life. If you’re a GP considering migrating to Australia, here’s everything you need to know about the pathways for moving to and working in this friendly and industrious country. 

Two programs to choose from 

If you currently live and have gained your medical qualifications elsewhere, you have two programs to choose from to become a doctor in Australia.

General Migration 

This is a points-based visa. Higher scores are given to those who have specialised training and qualifications in jobs where there is an urgent need. Your age, level of English and any past experience of living or studying in Australia will also contribute to how highly you score. The minimum points you need in order to secure each of these visas is 65. 

  • Subclass 189 - Skilled Independent

  • Subclass 491 - Skilled Work Regional Provisional 

  • Subclass 190 - Skilled Nominated 

How to apply 

For all three (189, 491 and 190), the application process is the same. 

  1. Check you are eligible to apply, then register and take a skills assessment. 

  1. Send your expression of interest to Skillselect, along with your personal details (given name, family name, D.O.B, passport details, etc), your assessment results and the state or territory of your placement.

  1. Ensure you have all your documentation after being invited by your chosen state or territory. 

  1. Then you can apply for your visa. 

Employer Sponsor Migration 

With this option, your employer can act as your sponsor. As a skilled professional from outside of the country, there are three possible visas which allow you to migrate to Australia. 

  • Subclass 482 – Temporary Skill Shortage. (To fill roles where employers struggle to find local qualified professionals.) 

  • Subclass 187 – Regional Sponsored Migration Scheme. (This encourages migration in areas where the population growth is considered to be low.) 

  • Subclass 186 - Employer Nomination Scheme. (An employer can nominate workers from other countries to work and gain permanent residency in Australia.) 

Will you get a temporary or permanent visa? 

You will be given a permanent residence if you apply for and are successful in getting 189 or 190 (the skilled nominated visas). 

491 (the skilled work regional provision) and 482 (temporary skill shortage visa) only grant you the right to live and work in your chosen region for 3 years. If you apply for these first, after three years of working in Australia, you qualify to apply for permanent residence. 

Are family members allowed to move with you? 

If you’re applying for a permanent visa to work as a GP in Australia, you can also apply for your family to move with you. This includes those who are closely related, such as your partner, and your (or their) dependent children and stepchildren. Although it’s unlikely other family such as parents and siblings will be allowed to move with you, if they can’t look after themselves and you or your partner are their primary caregiver, their visa application might stand more chance of being accepted. 

How much will your application cost? 

The cost for an application varies depending on the visa type. General skilled migration visas, which include 189, 491 and 190, will cost $4045 for the main applicant and a surplus of $2025 for each spouse or other family member over 18. For under 18s, the additional cost is $1015. 

If you’re applying for the skills shortage visa (482), the cost is $2645, with an extra $2545 per over 18 applicant and $660 per applicant under 18. 

Can you get help with the application process? 

If you struggle with the application process, or just want to ensure you don’t miss anything important, you can use a migration agent. This will be a registered professional who has a vast knowledge of migration. He or she can offer guidance to ensure you apply for the correct Australian visa for you, determine your suitability, tell you which documents you need, offer valuable legal advice and much more. There is a fee for this service, but if you find the application process overwhelming, it could be worthwhile. 

What else will help your application? 

  • If you don’t already have a registration with AMC (Australian Medical Council), obtain one before starting your application. More information on the AMC pathways here. 

  • If you can get a job offer before applying, it will help. Although this isn’t essential, it increases your chance of having your visa application approved. 

  • If English is not your first language, then learning to speak the language fluently will improve your assessment score. You may get enough points without this, but the higher you can score, the better chance you have.

  • The chance of acceptance is higher for those who are highly experienced. So, if you can gain more experience before applying for your visa, this will help your application. 

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