Under the Area of Need Specialist Pathway, overseas-trained specialists are assessed for suitability for a specific declared area of need position.
You can apply for the Area of Need Specialist Pathway if you have:
- a primary qualification gained from an institution listed in the International Medical Directory (IMED) on the FAIMER website
- a specialist qualification in the specialty of the declared area of need position
- the offer of a declared area of need position.
If your specialist qualification is not in the specialty being assessed, you must provide evidence that the training and examination requirements were completed and passed for that specialty (e.g. a letter from the college confirming this information or a copy of your training or examination curriculum).
To prevent a delay in the assessment of your application, you must submit all the documentation listed in the application form checklists and ensure that the position and location details are the same on all the required area of need documents.
Overseas-trained specialists who have been offered an area of need position in Australia are assessed by the AMC and the relevant specialist medical college. The AMC and the college conduct their assessments simultaneously, so applications to the AMC and the college need to be submitted at the same time.
An area of need assessment is not an assessment for specialist recognition or for college fellowship; it is an assessment of an individual's suitability for a specific area of need position. However, some specialist colleges may conduct concurrent assessments of suitability for an area of need position and of comparability to the standard of an Australian‑trained specialist in that specialty. The college reports the outcome of a concurrent assessment to the AMC and the AMC distributes the report to the Medical Board of Australia, the applicant, the employer and, where applicable, a third party.
The employer identifies a position that needs to be filled and contacts the relevant specialist medical college for assistance in preparing a detailed position description and key selection criteria.
The position description should include the following information:
- the position title
- a comprehensive statement of duties
- qualifications and experience—identifying and distinguishing between what selection criteria are regarded as 'essential' or 'desirable'; and clarifying whether candidates must show either that they have practical experience or that they have aptitude in a particular aspect of clinical practice
- special requirements of the position, which may be due to the geographic location or specific nature of the medical services to be provided
- clinical practice privileges or appointments relating to the position
- any special conditions of employment
- the remuneration package for the position, including whether the applicant will be providing services that need to attract Medicare rebates.
The employer then contacts the state or territory health authority to have the position declared an area of need position. The employer is expected to demonstrate that advertising has failed to attract a suitably qualified local applicant and that, unless the position is filled, service delivery will be affected adversely. The employer must provide evidence of reasonable efforts to recruit locally.
If access to Medicare is required, the employer will need to contact the Australian Government Department of Health and Ageing to confirm that the position identified as an area of need position is also in a district of workforce shortage.
If a position is approved as an area of need position, the employer matches applicants for area of need positions against the position description and selection criteria, and selects a suitable applicant. The applicant and the employer complete the relevant documentation, including the visa application, where necessary.
State and territory health authority role
The state and territory health authorities are responsible for approving positions as area of need positions. They decide whether service delivery will be affected to the extent that the position must be filled.
Inquiries relating to area of need approvals should be directed to the area of need/health workforce unit of the relevant state or territory health authority.
How to apply
Download the step-by-step instructions on how to apply for the Area of Need Specialist Pathway (420KB).
Application Procedures and Requirements for Specialist Assessment (PDF 1MB)
Applying to the Australian Medical Council (PDF 2.4MB)
Australian Government Department of Immigration and Citizenship
International Medical Education Directory
Medical Board of Australia
Specialist medical colleges (PDF 64KB)
State and territory health authorities (PDF 57KB)