Throughout history there has proven to be a shortage of physicians in rural Australia, and as such the government has worked to bring in overseas trained doctors, OTDs, to try and fill this void. Reported in the last decade that over 50% of all general practitioners in Australia were born overseas and just under 50% of all specialist in Australia were born overseas.
Since applying for immigration as a physician can be a bit more complex than if you are in another profession, you may learn that you are needed in specific parts, usually rural, of Australia. Most doctors that have immigrated must put in a specific number of years of service to areas in need before they are able to freely choose where they practise medicine. Restrictions currently require 10 years in rural or regional areas before earning your Medicare Provider Number, while the Australian Medical Association is attempting to move away from this requirement, it is possible to reduce that 10 year period down to about 5.
Comparing the life as a physician in Australia versus the US, the actual time spent in ‘residency or fellowship’ has a better balance for life over all in Australia. However, it does take longer. The US has lower pay and higher hours for this period in your career, but you can get through it faster. That brings the question up, is faster and more stressful better? Probably not when it comes to providing quality healthcare to patients and training new physicians.