Skip links and keyboard navigation

Area of Need

An Area of Need declaration allows employers unable to fill vacant medical practitioner positions with suitably qualified Australian or New Zealand trained medical practitioners, to recruit international medical graduates (IMG).

It also ensures that every attempt is made to fill vacancies with qualified Australian and New Zealand trained medical practitioners so they are not disadvantaged (refer section 6 Policy and procedure for Area of Need).

Please note IMGs are not able to apply directly for an Area of Need position. The Area of Need unit is not a recruitment service and is not able to assist doctors with employment or recruitment enquiries.

The information below highlights some of the important resources and steps to applying for an Area of Need position. Read the complete Policy and procedure: Declaration of an Area of Need for medical services in Queensland (PDF 81 kB).

Declaring an Area of Need position

An Area of Need position is declared by the Queensland Minister for Health, or an authorised delegate. The Minister has delegated power to declare a position of an Area of Need in Queensland, these authorised delegates are:

  • Chief Health Officer and Deputy Director-General Prevention Division, Department of Health
  • Senior Director, Office of the Chief Health Officer and Deputy Director-General Prevention Division, Department of Health

Queensland has not been declared an Area of Need by the Minister; therefore, applications for Area of Need positions are assessed and declared on a case-by-case basis.

Application forms

There are 3 types of Area of Need application forms:

  • general practice: all general practitioner positions
  • hospital/private specialty: all private and public hospital positions excluding junior medical officer positions
  • junior medical officer: all Department of Health and Hospital and Health Services junior medical officer positions including junior house officer, senior house officer and principal house officer (refer to section 8 of Policy and procedure or area of need).

Only an employer or an employer's authorised agent (the Applicant) may make an area of need application. For the Department of Health and Hospital and Health Services, the Executive Director Medical Services (EDMS), or the Medical Superintendent of the primary employing health facility is considered the Applicant.

Each declared Area of Need may be allocated to 1 individual IMG, it cannot be reallocated or transferred thereafter. An IMG cannot hold multiple Area of Need declarations at the same time.

If an Applicant seeks multiple Area of Need declarations at the same time for the same position type, the Applicant may provide 1 application and state in the cover letter or email how many Area of Need declarations are sought.

Read the Policy and procedure: Declaration of an Area of Need for medical services in Queensland (PDF 81 kB) for further information on applying.

Amendment to an approved Area of Need declaration

The Applicant may request an amendment to an existing Area of Need declaration by emailing areaofneed@health.qld.gov.au. The Applicant requesting the amendment must be from the same employer/authorised agent that requested the original Area of Need application.

Read further information regarding amendments to an approved Area of Need declaration under section 15 of the Area of Need policy and procedure.

Refusal of an application

Should an Area of Need application be refused by the authorised delegate, the Applicant will be advised of the decision in writing, including the reasons which determined the decision.

If the Applicant is dissatisfied with the decision, the Applicant has the right to appeal the decision within 20 business days of the date of the decision. To appeal a refused Area of Need declaration, the Applicant must email areaofneed@health.qld.gov.au stating that they request an appeal of the decision and provide any reason(s) they wish the reviewing authorised delegate to consider.

The authorised delegate reviewing the refused decision will be of a higher authority than the original decision maker.

Read further information on the process of appealing a refused application under section 16 of the Area of Need policy and procedure.

District of Workforce Shortage Status (DWS)

All locations, including all secondary locations (refer to section 7 of the Policy and procedure for area of need), must be located within a district of workforce shortage (DWS), or meet 1 of the 5 exemption categories:

  • public health service positions, except medical superintendent with right of private practice (MSRPP) and medical officer with right of private practice (MORPP)
  • bona-fide locum services, registered general practice locum medical service, short term relief only
  • approved medical deputising service, accredited as a medical deputising service
  • after hours only service, general practice weekdays between 6pm and 8am, weekends and public holidays only
  • Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander primary health care service (Commonwealth funded).

The applicant must provide the following evidence of DWS or indicate which exemption category applies:

  • general practice applicants can find and print their location(s) (physical address of the practice) from the Department of Health (Federal) DoctorConnect website under 'District of Workforce layer'
  • private hospital specialty position applicants for the following specialities can find and print their location(s) (physical address of the facility) from the DoH (Federal) DoctorConnect website under 'Specialist DWS layer':
    • anaesthetics
    • cardiology
    • diagnostic radiology
    • general surgery
    • psychiatry.

All other private hospital specialty position applicants with specialities that are not listed above, please contact the DoH (Federal) and provide written advice that the speciality in requested location(s) is declared a DWS. The DoH (Federal) can be contacted by email: 19AB@health.gov.au.

Advertising

The Applicant must provide evidence of comprehensive advertising for a minimum of 4 weeks within the past 12 months. A copy of the advertisement is required. Within the past 12 months is defined as within 12 months of the application's receipt by the Area of Need Unit. The advertising posting date and closing date must be clearly shown on the advertisement.

Advertising must:

  • be wide ranging to attract a maximum audience
  • not be gender specific
  • not refer to:
    • Vocationally Registered (VR) or Non-VR (for general practice positions)
    • International Medical Graduate (IMG)
    • Overseas Trained Doctor (OTD)
    • District of Workforce Shortage (DWS)
    • Area of Need (AoN)
  • be advertised in Australian or New Zealand based mediums, please note: advertising provided from international mediums or Australian or New Zealand based mediums designed to attract IMGs will not be accepted
  • advertising must also state location(s) listed on the application form.

Acceptable advertising mediums include but are not limited to:

  • national job search websites
  • national newspapers
  • medical recruitment websites
  • medical College websites.

Area of Need validity

Where an Area of Need application is approved, the Applicant is granted 12 months from the date the authorised delegate approves the application to register an IMG against the Area of Need number with AHPRA.

If the Applicant is unable to register an IMG during this period, the Applicant may apply for a validity period extension. The Applicant can apply for the extension by sending an email to areaofneed@health.qld.gov.au including the reason(s) for the extension request. Further information and/or documentation may be requested by the Area of Need Unit or authorised delegate to support the request for extension. An extension may be granted for 1 year and will be granted only once.

Area of Need operational period

The operational period for an Area of Need General Practice or Hospital/Private Specialty position is 4 years.

The operational period for a Junior Medical Officer is 1 year.

The operational period commences on the date the IMG is registered against the approved Area of Need number with AHPRA.

The Applicant may apply for an extension of the operational period by sending an email to areaofneed@health.qld.gov.au including the reason(s) for the extension request. Further information and/or documentation may be requested by the Area of Need Unit or authorised delegate to support the request for extension.

An extension may be granted for:

  • a further 2 years for a general practice or hospital/private speciality position
  • a further 1 year for a junior medical officer.

An extension will be granted only once.

Contact details

Completed applications and enquiries regarding Area of Need should be submitted to:

Area of Need Unit
Department of Health
GPO Box 48
Brisbane, Qld 4001
Phone: 07 3708 5183
Email: areaofneed@health.qld.gov.au

Last updated: 9 April 2019

News: Changes from 1 July 2019

From 1 July 2019 the Federal Department of Health are implementing a Distribution Priority Area classification system that will replace the District of Workforce Shortage for GPs and bonded doctors.

Contact details

Completed applications and enquiries regarding Area of Need should be submitted to:

Area of Need Unit
Department of Health
GPO Box 48
Brisbane, QLD 4001
Phone: +61 7 3708 5183
Email: areaofneed@health.qld.gov.au

Please note: IMGs are not able to apply directly for an Area of Need position.
The Area of Need unit is not a recruitment service and is not able to assist doctors with employment or recruitment enquiries.