With its promise of generous doses of sun, a laidback lifestyle and a fantastic work-life balance, Australia has always been considered a popular destination for UK trained doctors looking for a temporary or permanent move overseas. There are numerous opportunities available and with more junior hospital positions being filled within Australia, senior and specialised staff are in particular demand.
What roles are available?
GPs are in demand in rural areas, although it may require you to become adept at dealing with snakebites and tropical diseases. Psychiatrists of all types are highly sought after throughout Australia, as are specialists in obstetrics and gynaecology, as well as radiologists. Emergency doctors are also in very high demand, however, emergency medicine is rather different in Australia as more procedures and investigations are carried out by emergency doctors than by specialists.
Where jobs are available?
There are jobs available across Australia – ranging from remote regions to working with indigenous communities to working in the big cities. Competition is steepest in Melbourne and Sydney, but as recruitment specialists, we generally encourage candidates to consider their suburban fringes or other locations such as Adelaide or Perth, for example, which are attractive cities with living costs that are nearly 20% cheaper than Sydney.
What’s the doctor life like in Australia?
Doctors in Australia generally work fewer hours than in the UK—usually between 35 and 38 hours a week depending on seniority and specialism. Typically, hours worked beyond that will be considered overtime and will attract after hours pay, which is usually calculated as double time.
Our informed estimates say that GPs in Australia can expect to earn around AUD240?000 and up to AUD380?000 in rural areas through a combination of salary, allowances, and bonuses. With after-hours pay, this can rise to about AUD400?000.
How can you find a job?
There are three main ways to find a job in Australia— you can either apply directly to hospitals and medical practices, or go through state health board job recruitment websites such as NSW Health, WA Health, Queensland Health, etc. or you can opt to use the services of a trusted and reputed medical recruitment agency.
More often than not, applicants need to understand that it can be quite a lengthy and complex process and can take 12 months between applying for a role and actually starting it. Many applicants choose to go through recruitment agencies which can offer the correct guidance on finding the right job and getting through the various bureaucratic hoops.
Job interviews are carried out via Skype or phone, although senior consultants may be required to fly out for face-to-face interviews. You will also be required to provide references and comply with other standard protocol such as completing a health questionnaire and undergoing a police check.
What about the paperwork?
Once you have a solid offer, you are required to register with the Australian Medical Council, which approves General Medical Council accredited medical schools as competent for registration in Australia. You will also need to register with the Australian Health Practitioner Registration Authority (AHPRA) which manages the registration process for the Medical Board of Australia.
Unless you have an Australian passport, you will need a visa to work there. The application process entails paperwork to be completed by you as well as by your Australian employer. As it is a rather complicated process, applicants can rely on an immigration agency or recruitment company to guide them through every step.
Useful points of contact
Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency (AHPRA): www.ahpra.gov.au
Australian Medical Council (AMC): www.ahpra.gov.au
Doctor Connect website - Australian Department of Health: www.doctorconnect.gov.au
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