Area of Need program overview

What is an Area of Need?

Area of Need (AoN) is a workforce distribution classification mechanism, administered by the Western Australian (WA) Government Department of Health. It identifies locations experiencing workforce shortages and provides temporary assistance to health services (i.e. employers) for recruiting international medical graduates (IMGs) to those locations.

Following demonstrated labour market testing, the AoN program supports services in:

  • General medical services: General practitioner/s (GP) working in private practice.
  • Specialist medical services: Medical practitioners who have or will be required to undertake a specialist assessment by the Australian Medical Council (AMC) and the relevant medical college, excluding GPs.

The underpinning philosophy of WA’s AoN program is that the priority remains for an employer to continue their efforts to attract and recruit appropriately experienced Australian-qualified medical practitioners.

An AoN is required by an employer to obtain limited registration for area of need’ or ‘provisional registration’ for an IMG with the Medical Board of Australia (external site).

IMGs cannot apply directly for an AoN. The AoN Team do not provide recruitment services and are not able to assist medical practitioners with recruitment and employment enquiries.

Governance and Legislation

In accordance with section 67(5) of the Health Practitioner Regulation National Law (WA) Act 2010 (external site), an AoN is declared by the WA Minister for Health (the Minister) or authorised delegate(s) on a case-by-case basis.

In WA, the Minister has delegated this authority to the WA Department of Health Chief Medical Officer.

The AoN database is currently under review. For information on current AoN decisions, please contact the AoN Team in the Office of the Chief Medical Officer at

More information

Area of Need Team
Office of the Chief Medical Officer
Western Australian Department of Health
Phone: (08) 6373 2331

Last reviewed: 08-09-2021
Produced by

Medical Workforce