Moving from overseas and working as a medical practitioner in Australia can be complicated. It’s our job to make it as easy as possible for you. The answers to many of your questions are here in our FAQs.

GP Jobs in Australia - FAQ

You’ll hear a lot about DPA classification when you’re a GP applying to work in Australia. The Distribution Priority Area (DPA) classification identifies locations in Australia with a shortage of general practitioner (GP) services. International Medical Graduates (IMGs) must work in a DPA to be eligible to access Medicare. This classification is updated every year if there are changes in the workforce, or in the size or composition of the population.

The District of Workforce Shortage (DWS) classification is a health workforce classification for specialist medical practitioners. Overseas trained graduate specialists subject to section 19AB of Australia’s Health Insurance Act 1973 may need to work in a location classified DWS to access Medicare. DWS locations are usually in regional and remote areas on the country. They are updated annually. 

An Area of Need (AoN) refers to a place where the local population are unable to access the medical services they need. State and territory governments identify AoN locations to help allocate the right resources to those areas, directing doctors with limited registration and International Medical Graduates (IMGs) to work where they’re needed the most. These are locations are often in remote and rural locations.

The Modified Monash Model (MMM) defines whether a location is metropolitan, rural, remote or very remote. The model measures remoteness and population size on a scale of Modified Monash (MM) categories MM 1 to MM 7, where MM 1 is a major city and MM 7 is very remote. Often the more remote locations have trouble attracting enough doctors and medical services to meet the local population’s needs. The Distribution Priority Area classification uses MMM boundaries and is often used by governments to encourage junior doctors, GP registrars and qualified GPs to train and work in rural communities.

DoctorConnect offers guidance to international medical graduates and their employers. Its aim is to clarify the process for foreign doctors seeking to practice in Australia outlining where they can work and explaining the limitations on billing patients through Medicare. If you’re looking to work in Australia, you can use the Government’s workforce locator map to check the geographical classification of any location in Australia. The map can tell you if a location is classified as city, rural or remote and highlights locations that need more doctors. You can look at the map here.

After obtaining medical registration in Australia, overseas trained doctors and foreign graduates from accredited medical schools must work for a minimum of 10 years in either:

– A Distribution Priority Area (DPA) if they are general practitioners (GPs).

– A District of Workforce Shortage (DWS) if they are non-GP specialists.

Once you’re a permanent resident or citizen, this moratorium and all location restrictions under section 19AB of the legislation expire after 10 years. However, if you remain a temporary resident, these restrictions remain unchanged.

You can shorten your time working in a DPA or DWS through scaling. By working in qualifying areas, you earn ‘scaling credits’:

– The more remote the area, the more credits you accumulate.

– Accumulating more credits allows you to transition to non-DPA or DWS locations sooner, as long as you meet the section 19AA requirements.

We can help explain how the scaling system works.

To work as a medical practitioner in Australia, there are a few minimum requirements. These include: a recognised medical degree, a job offer, your skills need to be assessed by the Australian Medical Council, you need to be on a registration pathway, English proficiency, and a visa to work in Australia or permanent residency.

When applying to work in Australia via the Standard Pathway, you need to pass the AMC CAT MCQ examination, along with either the AMC Clinical Examination or the AMC Workplace-based Assessment program. The Standard pathway is for IMGs who are not eligible for the Competent Authority pathway or the Specialist pathways.

AMC assessments ensure you have the necessary medical knowledge, clinical skills, and attitudes expected of recent graduates from Australian medical schools who are preparing to start their intern training. You can read more about these examinations here.

When working as a GP in Australia, it’s important to communicate clearly with your patients and colleagues in English. The following English language tests are being accepted by National Boards for applicants for registration who need to use the test pathway to meet the English language skills registration standard requirements:

  • OET paper or computer-based test (OET CBT) at a testing venue. (Please note that an OET profession-specific test has not been developed for the following professions: Chinese medicine, chiropractic, osteopathy, paramedicine and psychology. For these professions, an OET from another profession regulated under the National Registration and Accreditation Scheme (the National Scheme) that meets the requirements as set out in the English language skills registration standard will be accepted.)
  • IELTS (Academic module) paper or computer test in a testing venue including IELTS One Skill Retake (OSR). The IELTS OSR allows eligible test-takers to retake one component of the test within a 60-day timeframe, provided they have met all other components and specific requirements outlined in the relevant English language skills registration standard.
  • TOEFL iBT test (using a computer at testing centre). Please refer to the Department of Home Affairs website for an update relating to TOEFL tests taken from the 26 July 2023 onwards.
  • PTE Academic (using a computer at testing centre)

The Medical Board of Australia also accepts successful completion of the profession-specific tests:

For answers to the most common questions about these English exams, see the AHPRA website.

If you’re still not sure which test is best for you, please get in touch with a Trust Recruitment consultant.

If you’ve proven that you meet the standard via the English language test pathway, you won’t need to take another test as long as your registration remains active.

Before you start working as a doctor in Australia, the RACGP must assess whether your qualifications, training and experience are comparable to that of Australian-trained doctors.

According to the RACGP in Australia, ‘Partially Comparable’ means “the applicant has been assessed as suitable to undertake a defined scope of practice in a supervised capacity and able to reach comparability within 24 months’ full time equivalent practice, with a maximum time on the program of 48 months if working part time.”

To qualify to work in Australia as a medical practitioner, the RACGP must assess how your qualifications, training and experience compares to that of Australian-trained doctors.

The RACGP’s definition of ‘Substantially Comparable’ is:

  • Applicants have been assessed as suitable to undertake their intended scope of practice, taking full responsibility for individual patients with only oversight of their practice by a supervisor approved by the college.
  • To be considered substantially comparable an applicant must have satisfied the college that they are at the standard of an Australian trained specialist commencing practice (at the level of a newly qualified Fellow), taking into consideration the applicant’s intended scope of practice as well as their previous training and assessment, recent specialist practice, experience and continuing professional development (CPD).

The Australian College of Rural and Remote Medicine (ACRRM) is a leading specialist medical college dedicated to improving healthcare in rural, remote and First Nations communities through the Rural Generalist profession.

  • The organisation is accredited by the Australian Medical Council (AMC) for setting professional medical standards for training, assessment, certification and continuing professional development in the specialty of general practice.
  • The ACRRM plays a unique role in supporting junior doctors and medical students considering a career in rural medicine.
  • The College plays an important role in supporting medical practitioners who have migrated from overseas to work in rural and remote locations.

The Fellowship of the Australian College of Rural & Remote Medicine (FACRRM) is recognised by the Australian Medical Council as a standard that medical practitioners must achieve for general practice specialty recognition.

Developed by rural doctors, the Fellowship program aims to prepare Rural Generalists and specialist General Practitioners for rural or remote practice.

FACRRM certification signifies your ability to work independently and effectively across diverse locations and settings.


Fellowship grants access to the highest Medicare benefits (A1 items) for both you and your patients.

The process of moving to Australia and starting to practice as a medical practitioner can seem complex. As a specialist medical recruiter, we see as our primary role to make the immigration process as quick and uncomplicated as possible.

The main benefits of using a medical recruiter include:

  • They explain the system for immigration and medical registration, help process your application and documentation, as well as handling travel and accommodation arrangements, saving you time and stress.
  • You’ll benefit from their network and relationships with key personnel in local medical centres, increasing your chances of finding the right position that suits you.
  • They’ll help guide you on the job application and interview process, as well as advising you on employment contracts and work conditions.
  • They keep you informed throughout the process, giving you peace of mind and giving you the best chance of finding the job you love.

For medical practitioners seeking a job in Australia, there is NO FEE for the basic service of registering with us. We receive our fee from the clinic who is seeking a doctor to work in their location.


Most good relationships are based on trust. That’s certainly the case for us. We do our utmost to do our best for doctors seeking employment in Australia, as well as healthcare organisations looking for medical practitioners to work in their practice. The more we know about your and your situation, the more we can do to help you find the right job that suits your goals.

Yes, absolutely! As experienced recruitment consultants, we’ve worked with hundreds of people to find the right job to suit their needs. Because we’ve been around for more than 16 years, we understand the system and we can give you the most up-to-date advice on your job search. And we’re 100% committed to keeping you informed, supporting you along the way.

The answer to this question is: it varies.

Finding a job is the easiest part of the process. The steps that may take a bit of time include establishing your registration, having your qualifications accredited, and processing your visa, are the things that might take a little longer.

On average, it could take between 12 to 18 months to complete the process. Using a medical recruiter like us will certainly help, as we can talk you through the whole process, ensure that your documentation is in order, and make contact with prospective employers.


When you work as a locum, you’re filling a temporary need for a qualified medical practitioner. Locum positions become available when doctors take a vacation or if for some reason a medical practice is short-staffed and cannot find a doctor to fill a permanent position.

Locum positions can become available in clinics across metropolitan, rural and regional Australia.

To work as a locum doctor, you must first hold general or specialist registration with AHPRA.

Talk to us about the possibility of find locum work that matches your lifestyle and location needs.

To work as a locum GP, you’ll need to be eligible to work in Australia, and have the appropriate medical registration via AHPRA (for either general or specialist work), and medical indemnity insurance coverage in place. You will also need to have a Medicare provider and prescriber numbers.

  • If you have a Vocational Registration (VR), you can claim A1 rebates for GP standard attendances.
  • Medical practitioners without continued recognition from RACGP, ACRRM, or any other recognised specialist medical college generally cannot access higher A1 Medicare rebates.
  • Non-VR GPs are eligible for A2 rebates in the Medical Benefits Schedule, initially set at 93% of the A1 rebate but lacking annual indexation, resulting in proportionally lower rates now.
  • Non-VR GPs may qualify for A1 rebates if they work in rural or remote areas or after hours. Additional programs exist for non-VR GPs to access A1 rebates, including those mandating work in areas with workforce shortages. After five years in such programs, non-VR GPs can continue claiming A1 rebates regardless of practice location.

If you’d like us to clarify the difference between VR and non-VR roles, please get in touch.

The 10-year moratorium relates to International Medical Graduates (IMGs) working as GPs (and selected specialties) in Australia.  Since January 1, 1997, IMGs registered with an Australian medical board must fulfill a ten-year waiting period before receiving Medicare benefits unless they obtain a section 19AB exemption.

This exemption mandates IMGs to work in areas where there’s a shortage of general practitioners, as determined by the Department of Health & Ageing. This policy is commonly referred to as the “10 Year Moratorium,” with the exemption specified under Section 19AB of the Health Insurance Act 1973.

The 10-year period starts once you’re registered as a medical practitioner in Australia. During this period, GPs are allowed to work without restriction in specified Distribution Priority Areas (DPA).

You can work as a locum GP during the moratorium period, however, working as a locum GP grants you temporary access to Medicare benefits nationwide for a period not more than six (6) months as you prepare for employment in a DPA area. This exemption is non-renewable and non-extendable.

It’s possible for you to shorten the 10-year moratorium period. For example, if you work in specified rural areas, this period can be reduced.

You’ll find more information here on the Government’s website – or just get in touch with one of our consultants and we can advise you on how to work within the system.

Like most jobs, the amount of money you’re paid to work as a locum GP depends on your experience, the location, and cost of living in the area, and the demand for medical practitioner services.

In areas where the healthcare clinics are working hard to attract doctors and the demand is higher, such as in rural and regional locations, the remuneration may be higher.

On average, you should be paid anywhere from $120 to $400 per hour, which equates to about $800 to $4,000 per day.

Before you start working as a locum GP, there are a few documents you need to complete. Yes, more paperwork!

Some of these documents require certification. A ‘certified copy’ of an original document is a duplicate validated as an accurate reproduction of the original. This validation is performed by an individual authorised to certify such copies (such as a registered health practitioner, solicitor or Justice of the Peace – see a full list here).

These are the documents you need to allow you to work as a locum:

  • Proof of your registration with the Medical Board of Australia
  • Certified copy of relevant work visa plus photo page of passport
  • National Police Certificate and a Statutory Declaration of any convictions or pending charges since the date of the Certificate
  • Working With Children Check clearance number
  • Clinical Skills Self-Assessment form completed
  • Reference for Clinical Skills
  • Documentary evidence of screening and vaccination in accordance with the requirements of the Occupational Assessment, Screening & Vaccination Against Specified Infectious Diseases policy
  • Certificate/s of completion of all modules of the NSW Health online mandatory training in the HETI Moodle or My Health Learning for Locum Medical Officers who have not previously worked in a NSW Public Health Organisation

Don’t be overwhelmed! To make sure your application to work as a locum GP is complete, we recommend working with your Trust Medical Recruitment consultant.

Visas for Doctors working in Australia - FAQ

Migrating to Australia offers many opportunities for medical practitioners looking to enjoy a satisfying career and a great lifestyle with high living standards. Setting yourself up for the immigration process may take some time and planning.

The two pathways to permanent residency are via a Skills visa or an Employer Sponsored visa.

Different visa pathways require different pre-requisites. The length of time before you can apply for permanent residency also varies depending on the type of visa.

Due to a shortage of medical practitioners in Australia, under the Skills visa requirements, the role of General Practitioner is on the medium and long-term strategic skills list. There are a few potential permanent residency visas that you can apply for including:

  • Subclass 189 – Skilled Independent
  • Subclass 491 – Skilled Work Regional Provisional
  • Subclass 190 – Skilled Nominated

The Skilled Independent Visa Subclass 189 is one of the most popular and straightforward pathways to permanent residency. GPs who have General or Specialist AHPRA registration, meet the required skilled migration points, and are aged under 45 years, have the basic requirements for this pathway.

The Skilled Work Regional Provisional visa (subclass 491) and Temporary Skill Shortage Visa (subclass 482) 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.

The Government recently removed the limit on the number of Short-term stream TSS visa applications that visa holders can make in Australia. This change applies to new TSS visa applications made on or after 25 November 2023. Short term-stream TSS holders with visas expiring before 25 November 2023 will need to travel outside Australia to lodge a third short term-stream TSS application.

We recommend you talk to your Trust Medical Recruitment consultant and/or a registered professional migration agent to discuss your best options for permanent residency.

The Employer Sponsored visa options are:

  • Subclass 482 – Temporary Skill Shortage. (Fills roles where employers struggle to find local qualified professionals.)
  • Subclass 187 – Regional Sponsored Migration Scheme. (Encourages migration to areas where the population growth is low.)
  • Subclass 186 – Employer Nomination Scheme. (Where an employer can nominate workers from other countries to work and gain permanent residency in Australia.)

Australia has always been a popular destination for GPs, and many choose to become permanent residents.

You can apply for permanent residency via a General Migration route or using an Employer Sponsored Migration method.

  • The General Migration method users a points-based system, where higher scores are allocated to those who have specialised training and qualifications in jobs where there is an urgent need. Other factors taken into account include your age, level of English and any past experience of living or studying in Australia. The minimum points you need to secure each of these visas is 65. The types of visas under General Migration are:
    • Subclass 189 – Skilled Independent
    • Subclass 491 – Skilled Work Regional Provisional
    • Subclass 190 – Skilled Nominated
  • Migrating via the Employer Sponsored method means that your employer acts 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
    • Subclass 187 – Regional Sponsored Migration Scheme
    • Subclass 186 – Employer Nomination Scheme

Having a job offer lined up before you apply, though not essential, will help  increase your chance of having your visa application approved.

If you successfully apply for and obtain either the 189 or 190 visa (skilled nominated visas), you will be granted permanent residency.

There’s no doubt the application process to become a permanent resident in Australia can be complicated. A migration agent can help you through the process of applying for permanent residency. It’s their job to make sure you application is complete, giving you a better chance of success. There will be a fee for this service.

As part of the general conditions for all people migrating to Australia on a Permanent and Provisional visa, you and your family members required to have health examinations.

The purpose of the medical examination is to protect the community from public health and safety risks. It also limits the amount the Government might need to spend on supporting people moving to the country.

In some circumstances, family members who are not coming to Australia with you might also need to have health examinations.

For more information on how to arrange for your health examinations, see the Government website guidelines here.


When applying for a visa to move to Australia, you and your family must undertake a medical examination. As well as a physical examination, your medical history will also be considered.

When approving visa applications, a Medical Officer of the Commonwealth (M​OC)​ will consider what kind of services a person with the type and severity of condition you or your family member has and will then advise on that basis.

Where you or your family member have a medical condition that will require significant services and cost, it’s possible that your visa application could be refused.

Medical conditions that may impact a visa application include:

  • Tuberculosis
  • HIV and hepatitis
  • Intellectual impairment
  • Kidney disease or kidney failure
  • Cancer
  • Severe mental health conditions

Applications are considered case by case, so don’t worry. A Health Waiver may be applied in certain cases if it can be shown that granting the visa wouldn’t impose substantial healthcare or community service costs on Australia or affect the access of citizens or permanent residents to scarce healthcare or community services.

According to the RACGP website, 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.

We recommend checking with your recruitment agency or the latest figures on the RACGP website in case these amounts change.


The PESCI exam fee is $2,450. If you make a change to your application or decide to withdraw your application there’s a non-refundable fee of $450 – that means you will receive $2,000 back if you withdraw your application before an interview date has been confirmed by the RACGP. For a full list of fees, download the pre-employment structured clinical interview (PESCI) Handbook.

No-one likes to fail, but more than 75% of applicants are not successful in their PESCI application.

The idea of the Pre-Employment Structured Clinical Interview (PESCI) is for the reviewing body – either the Royal Australian College of General Practitioners (RACGP), the Australian College of Rural and Remote Medicine (ACRRM), or the Institute of Medical Education (IME) – to assess your knowledge, experience, skills and attributes; to find out whether you’re suitable to work as a GP in a particular position. It consists of an online structured clinical interview using scenarios. The results are assessed by a panel of experienced medical professionals.

If you’re unsuccessful, it could be because the position isn’t a good match for your experience or for the support deemed necessary for you to succeed in that job.

If, because of the interview process, you’re assessed as unsuitable for the position, you can submit a new application for that same job or for another job at any time. You will need to pay the full application fee for this application.

Before you resit your PESCI, it’s a good idea to give yourself time to review your application and study in order to better prepare for the next application. 

You can find more information on PESCI here:

The Medical Board is guided by the recommendations of a PESCI panel. However, the PESCI panel report is only one piece of information that the Board takes into account when deciding whether to grant you registration.

Your PESCI outcome is valid for one year and is available for viewing online to registration bodies.  You will need to submit your application as soon as you receive a job offer and before you apply for registration with the Medical Board.

You’re free to sit your PESCI as many times as you like, keeping in mind that the full application fee of $2,450 applies each time.

However, you may want to review your results and undertake any remediation action suggested in your PESCI outcome before you reapply.

IMGs in the specialist pathway do not require a PESCI as they are assessed by the relevant specialist medical college.

The three accredited organisations that conduct PESCIs on behalf of the Medical Board of Australia (MBA) are:

RACGP – Royal Australian College of General Practitioners

ACRRM – Australian College of Rural and Remote Medicine

IME – the Institute of Medical Education

Follow these links to find out more.

Around 70% of IMGs are failing their PESCI assessment of their clinical skills. A successful PESCI assessment allows them to work as GPs on limited registration.

To be successful in your PESCI exam you need to demonstrate that you can work safely in a general practice role, manage your patient cases, and refer to your supervisor if necessary.

Some medical websites recommend you need at least 3 months to prepare.

We recommend using as many resources as possible to prepare including:

  • Online resources you’ll find available from the medical colleges and associations like the Royal Australian College of General Practitioners (RACGP) or the Australian College of Rural and Remote Medicine (ACRRM).
  • Other online courses and modules dedicated to preparing candidates for PESCI.
  • Peer support and study groups offer support and opportunity to practice and exchange ideas.
  • Experienced medical professionals that you know can help you practice your interview questions.
  • Other resources like textbooks and medical guidelines.

According to the RACGP, you’ll receive your PESCI outcome report by email within 15 business days of your exam. They’ll also send a copy to the Medical Board of Australia (MBA).

In the case where you haven’t been successful in your PESCI exam, you’ll most likely receive recommendations from the PESCI panel. Your results and recommendations will be shared with the Medical Board, as well as advice about your suitability for the position.

The panel’s recommendations address the amount of supervision and additional education/training you may need to allow you to work as a medical practitioner in Australia.

So that you can move forward with your next application (and be successful), you need to address each of these recommendations.

The Board considers PESCI panel recommendations among other factors for registration. Applicants must meet various criteria including practice recency and criminal history.

Registration may be granted with supervision requirements exceeding PESCI recommendations.

If you disagree with the outcome of your PESCI, you can apply for reconsideration under the RACGP’s Dispute, Reconsideration and Appeals Policy.  The ACRRM  also offers an opportunity for reconsideration, review and appeal.

The RACGP and the ACRRM only offer interviews by Zoom Video Conference.

The Institute of Medical Education offers both face-to-face and virtual PESCIs.

The Pre-Employment Structured Clinical Interview (PESCI), as the name implies, is an exam conducted by the three-member assessment panel in the form of an interview. The aim of the PESCI is the assess your skills, knowledge, and experience relevant to the position for which you’re applying and seeking registration.

If conducted by the RACGP, the PESCI will be conducted by a three-member interview panel made up of at least two members who are experienced GPs and Fellows of the RACGP. The panel members must work in a different state to the practice where you have applied to work.

When conducted by the Medical Board, the interview panel consists of a minimum of three interviewers which include at least two registered medical practitioners. One member of the panel may be a lay person, other health practitioner or registered medical practitioner. The PESCI panel members will be familiar with the clinical and professional demands of the type of position for which registration is being sought.

Similarly, when conducted by the ACRRM, the interview committee consists of three experienced members.

To prepare for your PESCI, you should draw on as many resources as possible, including those offered by the organisations accredited to conduct the exam. You’ll find many of those online.

For example, the RACGP offers an Introductory Module to help you prepare for the interview and showing you a sample case study.

You’ll also find other organisations that offer private coaching for a fee such as The Australian Centre for Clinical Excellence and IMG SOS.

Talk to your Trust Medical Recruitment to find out the best way to prepare for your PESCI. 

The idea of formal supervision is to monitor and assess an IMG’s performance and offer constructive feedback within a structured framework.

All IMGs who are granted limited registration or provisional registration must be supervised. Supervision is a requirement of registration for the duration of your limited or provisional registration.

This does not apply to Australian and New Zealand graduates with provisional registration (interns) who undertake a period of supervised practice in an accredited intern position. The supervision requirements for interns are specified in the National Internship Framework.

Supervisors should have specialist registration and at least three years full time equivalent practice with general and/or specialist registration in Australia prior to being appointed as a supervisor

Lifestyle and relocation - FAQ

Finding a home is as important as finding your ideal job. The quick answer to whether you can buy a house is yes! But there are limitations on what properties foreigners and non-Australian citizens can buy.

It’s also worth noting that the market for properties in many areas of Australia is very competitive. Once you’ve secured your job, you might even consider using a buying agent to find a suitable place to live for you and your family.

We recommend you do your research and a good place to start is online. Check out these websites:



The Australian Government website gives the following guidelines on buying property if you’re not an Australian citizen:

  • Foreign investors must notify the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) before buying residential land, regardless of its value. The ATO oversees compliance and enforcement for residential real estate and vacancy fees.
  • Government policy encourages foreign investment in new dwellings to increase housing stock, create construction jobs, and support economic growth.
  • Investment in vacant land for residential development typically requires completion within 4 years and prohibits sale until construction finishes.
  • New or near-new dwellings generally have no usage restrictions.
  • Property developers can notify the ATO on behalf of foreign buyers, removing the need for individual investment proposals.
  • Established dwellings can only be purchased by temporary residents or for genuine redevelopment purposes to increase housing stock.
  • Foreign-controlled companies may apply to buy established dwellings for Australian-based staff.
  • Residential land transactions must be reported to the Register of Foreign Ownership of Australian Assets.
  • An annual vacancy fee applies if the property is unoccupied or unavailable for rent for over 183 days.
  • Non-residential use of residential land, such as redevelopment for commercial purposes, is subject to case-by-case development conditions.

The cost of renting a house varies depending on the location and the size of the property (how many bedrooms and whether there’s parking). Properties close to amenities like transport, cafes, schools, and entertainment, are popular, and the cost of rent will reflect that.

As well as the monthly rental fee, there will be other one-off expenses that you’ll only need to pay once when you move. These include a rental bond, removalist fees, and utility connection fees (electricity, gas, water, phone).  And then there’s the cost of any household items you don’t already own (like furniture, a fridge, washing machine etc). In some cases, rental properties do come furnished, which could make things easier when you’re first setting-up home.

We recommend you do your research and a good place to start is online. Check out these websites:



If you know where you want to live, you can also check the average cost of rent in that area using this handy website.

Settling you children into school once you’ve moved to Australia is an important step for the whole family. It’s an important decision and choosing the right school for your child means understanding how the Australian school system differs from overseas.

There are three main education providers:


  • The State government system (state schools)
  • Catholic education system (private schools)
  • Independent school system (private schools)

All schools follow national guidelines, and most are coeducational. Children are required to attend school between 6 and 17 years of age. Most schools require children to wear a uniform, including state schools. You’ll need to buy the uniform for your child (there’s a different uniform for each school).

You’ll find that the independent schools are quite diverse and include religious or non-religious affiliations. Included in this group are international schools who offer the International Baccalaureate (IB) curriculum.

The school year runs from end of January until mid-December. There are two weeks of holidays during April (Easter, autumn in Australia), June/July (winter) and September/October (spring) and the main holidays take place in the summer period (December/January) lasting between six to eight weeks.

Generally, if you choose to send your child to a public or Catholic school, you’ll find a place in the school that’s ‘local’ to where you live. For other schools, enrolment can be a bit more challenging and you’ll need to start the process as early as possible to secure a place for your child.

Yes, you will have to pay school fees in Australia. School fees vary depending on the type and location of school you choose. For instance, Sydney has some of the country’s most expensive schools.

Public/Government schools generally cost a few hundred dollars a year. Private and independent schools charge much more. The difference is often reflected in the facilities on offer, the class sizes, and the support the school offers each child.

As well as school fees, you’ll generally need to factor in the costs of uniforms, transport, camps, excursions, electronic devices and many other additional costs.

Due to the generally good weather and desire to be outdoors, Australia has a strong sports culture. Many children take part in organised sport during school hours as well as after school.

There are also good options for children to take part in community sport and other activities outside of school. Whether it’s learning to play an instrument, learning to draw or paint, or learning to dance, you’ll find many activities on offer.

Researching these activities online is a good start. Once you’ve settled into a community, asking other parents is also a great way of finding out what other children are doing and how your kids can join in.

Early childhood is a crucial time for learning. It’s also important when both parents are working and need extra care for their child. Like primary and secondary schooling, pre-schools in Australia are run by either private companies or by local governments.

Depending on the area you live in, competition for pre-school places can be challenging, so it’s best to start planning and contacting pre-schools about vacancies as soon as possible. 

Note, there are rules about vaccination for children attending pre-school.

Starting blocks is a government website and a great place to start looking for a pre-school near your home or workplace.  

To be eligible for a government subsidy, check the latest detail on the government’s website. As of June 2024, on the day you claim, you or your partner must be living in Australia and also have one of the following:

Australia is a multicultural society where you’ll find many different communities, including various faith-based communities. There are also plenty of volunteering opportunities, as well as social groups such as choirs, if you’re interested in meeting people that way.

Researching your interests online before you move to an area is one way of finding out about your community. Once you’ve settled into your new home, you can also ask your neighbours or work colleagues.

There are many different types of places to worship in Australia. Searching online is one way of finding your local church or place of worship. We also recommend simply walking around your suburb and/or asking neighbours or work colleagues who live nearby to make a recommendation.

There are pros and cons of living close to work. The main benefits are you’ll save time and money travelling to and from work. Often a long commute can really wear you down taking a toll on your health, especially in the bigger cities.

On the other hand, it depends where you want to live. You might decide you really want to live by the ocean or the mountains, and you’re prepared to travel to work.

Your family circumstances will also affect your decision, for instance, if you need to drop off or pick up children from childcare and living close to work will make life less stressful, that’s often the best option.

Living close to work is always more environmentally friendly, especially if you can avoid driving.

A little planning always helps to find the ideal place to live and work.

The Australian system is organised so that Australian-trained GPs are given preference to jobs in the major cities. Depending on your pathway, International Medical Students moving to Australia are required to work in areas deemed by the Government as priority areas for a period of time.

These are generally outside the major metropolitan areas in regional, rural or remote locations. You can check where these areas are located on the DoctorConnect Health Workforce Locator here. The Government offers incentives for doctors to work in these areas.

Currently, from the time of medical registration in Australia, all overseas trained doctors and foreign graduates of an accredited medical school must work for at least 10 years in a:

This moratorium and all location restrictions under section 19AB of the legislation:

Australians generally enjoy a high standard of living, but compared to some countries, normal living expenses can be relatively high. Housing affordability has risen sharply in recent years, as has the cost of staples like food and petrol.

However, working as a doctor in Australia puts you in one of the higher-earning professions, so you should be able to afford to live comfortably. 

It’s also good to note that there are some government rules about bringing money into the country. For example, according to the government’s website, you must declare cash and non-cash forms of money (such as traveller’s cheques, cheques and money orders) in Australian and foreign currency if the combined value is AUD10,000 or more when you:

  • Travel into or out of Australia with it
  • Send it overseas (for example, by mail, courier, air or sea freight), or
  • Receive it from overseas (for example, by mail, courier, air or sea freight).

There’s no limit to the amount of money that you can travel with, receive and send overseas. There’s also no need to declare money that you transfer overseas or receive from overseas through a bank or a remittance service provider (money transfer business).

Once you’ve settled in, one of the big tasks is to move your belongings to your new home in Australia. Here are a few tips:

  • Research international moving companies experienced in shipping belongings to Australia.
  • Obtain quotes from multiple companies to compare costs and services offered.
  • Ensure the chosen company is familiar with customs regulations and requirements for importing personal belongings into Australia.
  • Pack your belongings securely to prevent damage during transit.
  • Label boxes clearly with contents and destination address in Australia.
  • Consider shipping options such as sea freight for cost-effectiveness or air freight for quicker delivery (but more expensive).
  • Plan ahead and allow sufficient time for shipping and customs clearance processes.
  • Keep important documents such as passports, visas, and inventory lists easily accessible during the moving process.
  • Communicate regularly with the moving company to track the progress of shipments and address any issues promptly.
  • Familiarise yourself with Australia’s quarantine regulations to avoid delays or complications with imported items, particularly for certain foods, plants, and animal products.

Pets are an important part of the family for many of us. When moving to Australia, it’s best to think ahead to organise the big move.

Here’s a guide to stress-free relocation for your pet:

  • Research pet import regulations: Familiarise yourself with Australia’s strict pet import regulations. The Australian Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment oversees the importation of pets and has specific requirements to prevent the introduction of diseases.
  • Microchipping and vaccinations: Ensure your pet is microchipped with an ISO 11784/11785 compliant 15-digit pet microchip. Make sure your pet’s vaccinations are up to date, including rabies vaccination. Some extra vaccines may be required depending on your pet’s species and origin country.
  • Blood tests and treatments: Depending on the country of origin, your pet may need to undergo blood tests to confirm protection against certain diseases like rabies. Treatments for parasites such as ticks and tapeworms may also be necessary.
  • Import permit: Apply for an import permit from the Australian Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment. The permit must be obtained before bringing your pet to Australia.
  • Quarantine: Pets entering Australia must undergo a mandatory quarantine period at an Australian government-approved quarantine facility. Plan and book quarantine accommodation well in advance, as space may be limited.
  • Travel arrangements: Arrange for suitable travel arrangements for your pet. This may involve booking a pet-friendly airline and ensuring proper crates or carriers are used for transportation.
  • Health Certificate: Obtain a veterinary health certificate issued by an accredited veterinarian shortly before departure. This certificate confirms that your pet is in good health and meets all import requirements.
  • Additional considerations: Be aware of any additional requirements based on your pet’s species, such as birds, reptiles, or exotic animals. Some species may have specific import conditions or restrictions.
  • Prepare your pet: Help your pet get used to travel by gradually introducing them to their carrier or crate. Consider discussing any concerns or special needs with your veterinarian.
  • Post-arrival requirements: Once your pet arrives in Australia, follow any post-arrival requirements such as additional veterinary checks or registration with local authorities.
  • Patience and preparation: Moving pets internationally can be a complex process that requires careful planning and attention to detail. Be patient and allow plenty of time to complete all necessary steps before your move.

Making sure your partner is settled and happy can make all the difference when you’re moving to a new country. Here are some points about whether partners can work or study in Australia:

  • Partner Visa eligibility: The Partner Visa allows the spouse, de facto partner, or partner of an Australian citizen or permanent resident to live in Australia. To qualify for this visa, you must be married to or in a de facto relationship with an Australian citizen, permanent resident, or eligible New Zealand citizen at the time of application.
  • Temporary and Permanent Visas: When applying for the Partner visa, both the temporary and permanent visas are applied for together. This means that once approved, you will initially receive a temporary visa, which can later lead to a permanent visa.
  • Bridging Visa: If you apply for a Partner visa while in Australia, you will be granted a Bridging visa associated with it. However, there may be limitations on your ability to work or study depending on the conditions of your previous visa.
  • Work Rights: If your previous visa allowed you to work or study, those entitlements may continue on the Bridging visa associated with your Partner visa. However, if you did not have work or study rights on your previous visa, you may have limitations during the waiting period for the Permanent partner visa (subclass 100 or 801).
  • Government assistance: While waiting for the Permanent partner visa, you may not be eligible for fee assistance programs such as HECS or government subsidies like Newstart. It’s essential to consider these factors when planning your move and finances.
  • De facto relationships: Partners in de facto relationships are also eligible for the Partner visa, provided they meet the necessary criteria. This includes demonstrating a genuine and ongoing relationship with their Australian partner.
  • Check with immigration authorities: For specific information regarding work rights and visa conditions, it’s advisable to consult with immigration authorities or seek professional advice to ensure compliance with Australian immigration laws and regulations.
  • By understanding the eligibility criteria and visa conditions associated with the Partner visa, doctors and their partners can better navigate the process of relocating to Australia.

Assuming your spouse has a working visa, there are a number of avenues your spouse can take to explore job opportunities in Australia.

  • Start by looking at job opportunities in your spouse’s field or industry using online job boards, recruitment agencies, and professional networking sites. Look for positions that match their qualifications, skills, and experience.
  • It’s important to update their resume and LinkedIn profile. Remember to tailor these to the Australian job market. Highlight relevant experience, qualifications, and achievements that demonstrate their suitability for potential roles.
  • Encourage your spouse to network with professionals in their industry by attending industry events, conferences, and workshops. Joining professional associations or groups related to their field can also provide valuable networking opportunities and job leads.
  • Registering with reputable recruitment agencies specialising in your spouse’s industry or profession can help them access job opportunities and receive support with the job search process.
  • Temporary or contract work can be a good way for your spouse to gain Australian work experience, build professional networks, and potentially secure permanent employment in the future. Temporary positions can also provide flexibility while they explore longer-term career options.
  • Research skill-shortage areas in Australia where there may be high demand for professionals in your spouse’s field. These areas often offer more opportunities and may facilitate faster job placement.
  • If necessary, your spouse might think about upgrading their skills or qualifications to meet Australian standards or industry requirements. This could involve completing additional training, certification courses, or gaining recognition of overseas qualifications through relevant Australian authorities.
  • Take advantage of job search support services offered by government agencies, community organisations, or migrant settlement services. These services may help with resume writing, interview preparation, job search strategies, and connecting with employers.


Above all, be patient and persistent. Finding a job in a new country can take time, so encourage your spouse to be patient and persistent in their job search efforts. Remind them to stay positive, proactive, and open-minded about different opportunities that may arise.

Modern Australia is very multi-cultural, and you’ll find many different types of foods in supermarkets, local markets, and specialty shops.

Specialty stores: Explore specialty grocery stores or markets in your local area that cater to your cultural cuisine. These stores often stock a wide range of imported products and ingredients specific to various cultures.

Ethnic neighbourhoods: Look for neighbourhoods or suburbs with a high population of people from your cultural background. These areas may have grocery stores, bakeries, or restaurants that offer authentic ingredients and dishes from your culture.

Online retailers: Consider using online retailers that specialise in international food products. Many websites offer a vast selection of items from different countries, allowing you to purchase your favourite foods and ingredients online and have them delivered to your doorstep.

Community Groups: Join local community groups or social networks dedicated to your cultural background. Members may share tips and recommendations on where to find specific ingredients or foods in your area.

DIY cooking: Learn to cook traditional dishes from your culture using locally available ingredients as substitutes for hard-to-find items. There are often creative ways to adapt recipes to suit the ingredients available in your new location.

Imported goods sections: Check larger supermarkets or grocery chains for imported goods sections. While the selection may be limited compared to specialty stores, you may still find some essential items from your culture.

Networking: Connect with other expatriates or individuals from your cultural background who have lived in Australia for some time. They may offer valuable insights and recommendations on where to find authentic ingredients or specialty stores catering to your culture.

Moving to another country usually means lots of organising! Here are a few tips of setting yourself up in your new home:

Bank Accounts

  • Research major banks in Australia and compare their services, fees, and accessibility.
  • Choose a bank and visit a branch or apply online to open a bank account. You will typically need identification documents such as a passport, visa, and proof of address.
  • Consider opening both a cheque (transaction) account and a savings account to manage your finances effectively.
  • Once your account is set up, you will receive a debit card, which you can use for everyday transactions and ATM withdrawals.

Phone (mobile)

  • Research telecommunications providers in Australia and compare their mobile phone plans, coverage, and pricing.
  • Decide whether you want a prepaid or postpaid (contract) plan based on your usage and budget.
  • Visit a phone store or check online to purchase a SIM card and choose a suitable plan. You may need to provide identification and proof of address.
  • Insert the SIM card into your unlocked phone and follow the activation instructions provided by the provider.


  • Research internet service providers (ISPs) in your area and compare their broadband plans, speeds, and pricing.
  • Check the availability of internet connections (e.g., ADSL, cable, NBN) in your neighbourhood.
  • Contact your chosen ISP to sign up for an internet plan. You may need to provide identification and arrange for installation if necessary.
  • Once your internet connection is set up, you will receive a modem/router that you can use to connect your devices to the internet wirelessly or via Ethernet cable.


Additional Tips

  • Consider bundling services (e.g., phone, internet, and sometimes even banking) with the same provider to potentially save money and simplify billing.
  • Keep important account information and contact details handy in case you need assistance or support from your bank, phone provider, or ISP.
  • Be aware of any special promotions or deals offered by banks, phone providers, or ISPs for new customers, which could help you save money or get extra benefits when setting up your accounts and services.