It’s a good practice to have doctors with Limited registration in General Practices. Finding doctors for Australian General Practice can be tough. One way to address this is by involving Limited registrants. While some practice owners find managing doctors with limited registration tedious, many regret not starting this process earlier. In a year or two of unsuccessful attempts to find a doctor, a seemingly undesirable limited registrant could have already been working.
Limited Registrants are doctors from overseas who have passed the AMC MCQ test and the English language test. Here are the steps on the Limited Registrant pathway:
The steps on the Limited Registrant pathway:
- Get the agreement with the Practice
- To pass PESCI – a test specific to the practice.
- Get their first limited registration.
- The practice needs to sponsor the doctor for a working visa. (Not always)
- A doctor works under supervision for a couple of years.
- What happens when your Limited Registrant needs to enrol on the FRACGP training program?
Agreement with the practice: The terms can vary. A 50/50% split with the Limited Registrant, along with paying 5% to two Supervisors, is one example. The total cost could be 60%. Different practices have their own arrangements.
Practice tip: Treating the Limited Registrant doctor well increases the likelihood of them staying when they achieve their Fellowship.
Practice tip: Paying the Supervisors is a good idea because there are always candidates to be a Supervisor, and it works well as a retention strategy for your existing doctors e.g. they like doing very little for 5% of the billings of another doctor.
PESCI test: The speed of passing depends on the quality of your practice’s induction program. (Example of the induction program)
Practice tip: Implement a well-structured induction program.
Getting the first limited registration and Medicare provider number: Limited Registrants typically manage paperwork themselves.
Medicare provider numbers for Limited Registrants come with a 10-year moratorium, limiting working hours.
Medicare provider numbers for limited registrants will be subject to a 10-year moratorium. In other words, they will be able to work after 6 p.m. on weekdays, after 12 p.m. on Saturdays and all Sundays/ Public holidays. That is if your practice is in a non-DPA area. If it is, you have nothing to worry about. More on where and when doctors can and cannot work here.
However, a 6-months locum exemption is available to work during normal hours. Use that wisely.
An exemption for 6 months is available to work during regular hours.
Practice tip: First, apply for an after-hours provider number, then apply for the 6-month exemption.
Practice tip: Consider the doctor’s personal circumstances for potential exemptions.
Sponsoring a working visa: It’s relatively straightforward, taking about an hour and costing around $400.
The Limited Registrant usually engages a migration agent once sponsorship is approved.
Supervision: Limited registrants require supervision, with four levels. Level 1 is the most intense and lasts around 6 months.
AHPRA Supervision guidelines are here.
Practice tips: Use a 6-month exemption for the provider number during Level 1. Encourage the Limited Registrant to pass the AMC Clinical exam for faster progression.
Enrolling in the FRACGP training program: After working with you for a couple of years, Limited and General Registrants will need to work in specific areas or a Medical Deputising Service for enrollment in FRACGP training.
This does not mean that you are going to lose this doctor.
Practice tip: If you are not a remote MMM2 or 3 location, you may consider sharing your doctor with the local locum service for 14 hours per week till the training program is completed. Working visa for doctors allows that.