As a GP moving to Australia you don’t always have to work in a DWS area for ten years

As a GP moving to Australia you don’t always have to work in a DWS area for ten years. Sarah Spencer explains how doctors can take advantage of working in a 5 year scheme location and expire their moratorium a lot earlier.

If you are an overseas trained GP and you want to work in Australia you will be subject to the ten year moratorium; you may know this as having to work in a district of workforce shortage or in a DWS position. The 5 Year Scheme was developed by the Australian government to address rural medical workforce shortages by providing incentives for doctors to consider working in one of Australia's smaller rural communities.

By opting to work in a 5 year scheme eligible location, you can reduce your 10 Year Moratorium to a 5 year period and in some locations the requirement may be as little as 3 years. Eligible locations can be found in every state and territory and some are not as remote as you expect!

At the end of the scheme you will be eligible to apply for an unrestricted Medicare provider number which means that you can practice as a GP anywhere across Australia!

Requirements of meeting the scheme include having gained Fellowship of either of Australia’s GP colleges, but as a doctor coming from a Category 1 country you will hold this on arrival (you can call me to check what category you would fall into if you are not sure) for those who come in on limited or provisional registration support is available to help you achieve your Fellowship. You must also become a permanent resident or an Australian citizen by the end of the 3 to 5 year period, which is the same in the case of meeting the requirements of the 10 year moratorium.

Head Medical supports some great practices that are 5 year scheme eligible. For more information on our current vacancies, call Sarah on 0131240 5277 or email

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