Working As NZ Based Locum in Australia

In Part 1 of this series, we looked at some of the basics of working in Australia. There are some bureaucratic hoops to jump through, and they’re not all exactly straightforward.

To recap on the last article, there are two categories of registration you can apply for: Specialist and General. Forgeneral registration, you can apply directly to AHPRA (Medical Board), and work in a non-specialist position.

If you are a specialist, depending on your qualification/s, your application can take one of two paths- directly to AHPRA, or to the AMC for assessment.

For those holding a specialty which has a joint Australian/NZ College (such as ACEM), you can apply directly to AHPRA, the Australian Medical Registration body.

If you hold a specialty with a college cert iv disability which is solely NZ based (such as RNZCGP), you’re going to have to apply to the equivalent Australian college for recognition (i.e. the RACGP) via the Australian Medical Council (which is an intermediary body that forwards your application to the college). The AMC does not deal with medical registration, and is NOT the equivalent of the NZMC.

If you fall into this second category, you will need to apply to the AMC to have your qualifications assessed by the relevant college. In some cases, you will receive full recognition, in other cases you will receive partial recognition of your fellowship.

The role of the AMC is primarily to review documents, and pass them on to the College. Why can’t you apply directly to the College? Well, that’s just the way it is!

Once the AMC is happy with your documents (which need to be absolutely perfect), they will hand over to the college for assessment.

Assuming you are granted full recognition, you will be able to apply for Specialist Registration with AHPRA.

In either pathway, after being granted medical registration, in most cases you will be required to apply for a provider number. This enables you to bill as a private practitioner, request pathology, x-ray, etc., and the prescriber number you are granted will enable you to prescribe. Whilst you need a new provider number for each location you work at, your prescriber number is the same, wherever you go.

A few tips from us about the process:

– make sure you plan ahead, and give yourself lots of time to go through the process
– don’t book any work in Australia until your registration is approved
– when you’re having documents certified, make sure it is by the right person – and get more copies than you think you need
– and the most important: supply exactly the documentation requested on the relevant forms. You’re dealing with a government bureaucracy, so it needs to be exact!

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