Applying for an area of need determination

If a location is not currently considered an area of need (AoN), the health service or organisation can submit an application to the Chief Medical Officer of WA Health for an AoN determination.

An AoN application can only be submitted for a vacant medical position which cannot be filled through standard recruitment processes within Australia.

A vacancy exists if there is a funded position available which would be immediately filled if an Australian-trained medical practitioner, or an international medical graduate (IMG) with general registration, could be recruited.

Employers submitting an application for determination on AoN status are expected to provide documentation demonstrating:

  • a genuine funded position exists
  • the provision of medical services would fall below an acceptable level if the vacancy is not filled
  • the market has been sufficiently tested, for example, through state and national advertising, and no appropriately qualified and registered medical practitioner has been found.

The AoN application must also include letters of support from key stakeholder groups.

It is recommended that employers commence the AoN application process well in advance of, or at least in parallel with, the recruitment process to provide sufficient time to collate the required supporting documentation.

AoN determinations are granted for 1 to 5 years depending on the circumstances on which the determination is based.

Once an AoN has elapsed, if the employer wishes the AoN determination to remain in place – enabling IMGs to continue to be employed at that location – it is the responsibility of the health service or organisation to submit a new AoN application to WA Health.

If an application for AoN is unsuccessful, the applicant can appeal in writing to WA Health.

Policy, form and templates

Employers preparing an application for AoN determination should refer to the following documents.

Policy and guidelines


The below templates can be used by employers to assist IMGs to apply for a position within an AoN.

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Medical Workforce