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POSTED ON 20-05-2021

Reducing the 10-Year Moratorium for International Medical Graduates


GP, GP Fellowships, Medicare, Australian General Practice, 19AB

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Here’s what you need to know about the 10-year Moratorium.

 

The 10-year moratorium is an Australian Government policy that requires Overseas Trained Doctors to practice in areas where there are doctor shortages for 10 years. The 10 year period begins on the date of their first registration in Australia.

 

If you are a Temporary or Permanent Resident Overseas Trained Doctor who applied to sit the AMC exams after 1 January 1997, the moratorium as per section 19AB, applies to you.

 

What is 19AB?

Under 19AB in the Health Insurance Act 1973, international medical graduates must work in a priority area for a minimum of 10 years—also known as the 10-year moratorium.

 

This means Overseas Trained Doctors are restricted on where they can practice medicine in Australia and limits them from accessing Medicare rebates.  

19AB applies to you either if you:

1.        got your degree outside of Australia or New Zealand OR

2.        enrolled in a degree in Australia or New Zealand as a temporary resident

 

The moratorium and 19AB restrictions will end after 10 years if you are a permanent resident or citizen or else the moratorium will continue till you gain citizenship or permanent residency. Once you become a permanent resident, If you do not have a Fellowship qualification, you will be subject to the rules under 19AA.

 

According to the Australian Department of Health, if you become a permanent resident, you must tell Medicare immediately about your change of circumstances to avoid gathering debt.

To check how much time you have left on your moratorium, the best way is to contact Medicare.

 

Exemptions to access Medicare Benefits during Moratorium

 

There are exemptions to apply to access Medicare benefits at your medical practice while under the moratorium. To get the exemption you will have to practice in either:

 

·       A Distribution Priority Area (DPA) for General Practitioners

·       A District of Workforce Shortage (DWS) for specialists

 

 

Reducing Your 10-year Moratorium

 

The good news is, there are ways to reduce this time period of working in a DPA or DWS location, bearing in mind many advantages come with working in a priority area.

 

Your 10-year period of working in an area classified as DPA or DWS can be reduced through the scaling method or the 5Year Overseas Trained Doctor Scheme. 

 

Moratorium Scaling

                                                                                                                 

Moratorium scaling is a non-cash incentive where the moratorium period is reduced based on how rural and remote the practice location is.

Working in locations that are eligible for scaling will grant you ‘Scaling Credits’. According to the Department of Health, the more scaling credits you have, the sooner you can work in any location across Australia you want, provided you also satisfy section 19AA of the Act.

 

What are the locations eligible for Scaling?

Scaling locations are based on the Australian Statistical Geographical Classification - Remoteness Area (ASGC-RA) system.

You can use the Health Workforce Locator to check the classification of a location.

You can check the classification of any location in Australia through the Health Workforce Locator.

Scaling Credits

Through the Table of Scaling Credits, which is accessible on the Department of Health Website, you can find out the potential reduction period under moratorium based on the location classification.


To check your current scaling credits visit your Health Professional Online Services account. You can also view your eligibility for the class exemption from 19AB and check the end date of your moratorium.

 

Are you Eligible for Moratorium scaling?

To be eligible for Moratorium scaling,

-            you should be an IMG working in an eligible regional or remote area under 19AB,

-            you are claiming Medicare Benefits Schedule items for services as part of your employment, and

-            your monthly billing threshold is $5,000

Your scaling credits will automatically be applied once you reach the threshold.

 

How can we help you?

Our consultants at Medfuture help IMGs and GPs with their career pathways on a daily basis. If you wish to know more about the 19AB restriction or Moratorium Scaling, inquire or share your contact details via [email protected] and one of our recruitment consultants will reach out to you.

 

Helpful Resources:

https://www.servicesaustralia.gov.au/organisations/health-professionals/services/medicare/medicare-benefits-health-professionals/eligibility-access-medicare-benefits/overseas-trained-doctors-and-foreign-graduates-eligibility-requirements#19ab

https://www.health.gov.au/health-topics/health-workforce/medicare-billing-restrictions/10-year-moratorium-scaling

https://www.health.gov.au/health-topics/health-workforce/health-workforce-classifications/australian-statistical-geographical-classification-remoteness-area

 

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