Legislative requirements that you need to be aware of


District of Workforce Shortage (DWS)

A DWS is an area in which the general population’s need for healthcare has not been met. DWS areas are determined by the Department of Health and are linked to the provision of Medicare provider numbers. In general, a location is deemed a DWS if it falls below the national average for the provision of medical services. DWS only applies to medical jobs which provide services that attract Medicare rebates.

Medicare provider number restrictions apply to all overseas trained doctors (OTDs) for a maximum period of ten years. By restricting the Medicare provider numbers issued to overseas trained doctors to DWS areas, the Department of Health aims to achieve an equitable distribution of medical services across Australia.

An exemption from the Medicare provider number restrictions may be granted for locations that have been identified as a DWS. This exemption enables a doctor to be granted a Medicare provider number and bill for services that will attract rebates from Medicare. 

Area of Need (AoN)

An AoN is a location which has been identified as having a lack of medical practitioner services. In Tasmania, determinations are made by the Chief Medical Officer at the Department of Health and Human Services. Most doctors trained outside Australia will be required to work in an AoN location when they first work in Australia.

HR+ is able to provide you with AoN status of locations in Tasmania. Please contact recruitment@hrplustas.com.au for information.

Remoteness Areas (RA)

ASGC-RA is a geographical classification system that is used to classify areas of Australia into geographical categories called Remoteness Areas (RA). 

RA categories are defined in terms of ‘remoteness’ - the physical distance of a location from the nearest urban centre (access to goods and services) based on population size.

The RA categories are as follows:

  • RA1 - Major Cities of Australia
  • RA2 - Inner Regional Australia
  • RA3 - Outer Regional Australia
  • RA4 - Remote Australia
  • RA5 - Very Remote Australia

Workforce incentives are available to doctors relocating to localities RA2 to RA5. The DoctorConnect website provides specific details regarding incentives and programs relevant to each of the RA classifications: www.doctorconnect.gov.au/internet/otd/Publishing.nsf/Content/Locator

In Tasmania, the RA categories are:

  • RA1 – no areas classified
  • RA2 – Hobart, Launceston and Devonport
  • RA3 – areas not mentioned in RA2, RA4 and RA5
  • RA4 – areas on the East and West Coast and parts of North East Tasmania
  • RA5 – Flinders Island and King Island

For the RA classification of an individual town or location, please refer to the map indicator on the DoctorConnect website: www.doctorconnect.gov.au/internet/otd/Publishing.nsf/content/locator

Rural Other Medical Practitioners (ROMPs) Programme

The ROMPs programme provides access to the A1 Medicare rebate to non-vocationally recognised medical practitioners providing general practice services in eligible rural and remote areas. Normally, non-vocationally recognised medical practitioners would access the lower A2 Medicare rebate.

To be eligible for this programme a doctor must:

  • Be non-vocationally recognised (also known as Other Medical Practitioners); and
  • Agree to express an interest in achieving Fellowship of the Royal Australian College of General Practitioners (FRACGP) or Fellowship of the Australian College of Rural and Remote Medicine (FACRRM).

A doctor must also be providing services in any of the following designated locations:

  • Rural, Remote and Metropolitan Area (RRMA) classifications 4 - 7
  • Defined ‘areas of consideration’ or
  • Approved RRMA 3 locations which have significant medical workforce shortages (as deemed eligible by the Departmental Delegate).

Assessment of qualifications – National Reference Panel Classification

The following National Reference Panel categories are used for the purpose of a assessing the qualifications and experience of overseas trained GPs.


Category 1

GPs who hold:

  • Fellowship of The Royal New Zealand College of GPs (FRNZCGP)
  • Certificates in Family Practice from the College of Family Physicians of Canada (CFPC) and have successfully completed both parts of the Medical Council of Canada Qualifying Examination
  • Both Membership of the Royal College of General Practitioners (MRCGP UK) and Certificates from Joint Committee on Postgraduate Training for General Practice (JCPTGP) UK.

Doctors who hold these qualifications are eligible for admission to Fellowship of the RACGP ad eundum gradum.


Category 2

GPs who hold:

  • Membership of the Royal College of General Practitioners UK (MRCGP)
  • Membership of the Irish College of General Practitioners (MICGP)
  • Membership of the Faculty of General Practitioners; or Member of the College of Family Practitioners, South Africa by examination (MFGP or the new MCGP)
  • The Certificate of the American Board of Family Practice USA (ABFP)
  • The Certificate of the Joint Committee on Postgraduate Training for General Practice (JCPTGP) UK
  • Masters of Medicine (Family Medicine) from the National University of Singapore
  • Registration as a Family Physician with the Health Professions Council of South Africa (formerly the South African Medical and Dental Council of South Africa)
  • Masters of Family Medicine, South Africa
  • Masters of Prax Medicine, South Africa.

Doctors who hold these memberships/qualifications are required to undertake the RACGP Fellowship exam. They have 2 years in which to successfully complete the exam.


Category 3

GPs who have done general practice training and who hold postgraduate qualifications not recognised by RACGP; but who have more than five years of full-time general practice experience.

Doctors in this category are eligible for the award of Fellowship of the Royal Australian College of General Practitioners (FRACGP) via the practice eligibility route after a determination by the RACGP of the equivalence of their general practice experience to five years full-time of Australian general practice and completion of the RACGP examination.


Category 4

GPs who have not done general practice training or do not hold postgraduate qualifications; but who have more than five years full-time general practice experience in another country.


Category 5

GPs who have not done general practice training or do not hold postgraduate qualifications, and who have less than five years of equivalent full-time GP experience in another country. Doctors in this category would not be eligible for the FRACGP until they have completed five years of equivalent general practice. 

Please note that the eligibility criteria for the RACGP examination includes having a minimum of four years approved full-time GP experience or part-time equivalent, of which at least one year full-time GP experience must be gained in Australian general practice (and of that at least six months in “fully comparable” general practice).