Sunday, August 14, 2005

Overseas Doctor marrying Australian Citizen

Overseas doctors marrying an Australian citizen should give some consideration to their potential job prospects in Australia.

Under Section 19AB of the Health Insurance Act, migrant doctors can only provide government subsidized healthcare if they live in the outback for 10 years. Australia has an oversupply of doctors living in towns and cities but the situation in the "bush" is dire. There are virtually no job prospects for their spouses (especially if they are professionals) in the bush, where town with populations of 10,000 are considered large regional centres.

The government health subsidy works out to about 70% of the standard GP consultation. If a GP wishes to forgo that 70% they are virtually non-competitive in a city, where some bulk-billing clinics charge the patient nothing, instead making their money only on government subsidy alone.

However, there is a leeway here. If both the doctor and his/her spouse are migrating to Australia, and the spouse has a skill which there is shortage in Australia, e.g. Civil Engineer, then the doctor can get an exemption and work in the city.

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