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hiring non-VR GPs
Why you should consider recruiting a Non-VR GP for your medical practice

There are so many benefits and great reasons why you should strongly consider hiring a Non-VR General Practitioner for your medical practice.

Are you seeking greater earning potential for your business?

Do you value GPs who offer you flexibility of hours and loyalty in spades, all while enhancing and enriching your workplace culture?

That is what you stand to gain by working with a Non-VR GP.

What is a Non-VR GP?

The majority of medical clinics in Australia lease rooms to General Practitioners who pay a service fee to the clinic.

These are generally known as Tenant GPs or Independent Practitioners, and they can be Vocationally Registered (VR) or Non Vocationally Registered (Non-VR).

Most Non-VR GPs are International Medical Graduates (IMGs) who wish to dedicate their talents to the healthcare system in Australia.

Yet for some practices there remains some kind of stigma where engaging them is seen as an inconvenience or gamble.

It’s time to set the record straight about Non-VR GPs.

Understanding the difference between VR and Non-VR GPs

The main difference between VR and Non-VR GPs is that Non-VR GPs require supervision.

That level of supervision begins at 100 percent, with the requirement they work identical hours to their supervising GP.

It then falls in increments of 20 percent every three months or so by which time the Non-VR/IMG should have passed their relevant exams or workplace assessments and applied for general registration.

When it comes to Medicare, ‘the gap’ paid by patients is the same for VR and Non-VR GPs, however the fee from Medicare is lower for Non-VRs.

This means the patient is essentially paying less to see a Non-VR GP.

VR GPs are eligible to claim A1 rebates for standard GP attendances, while Non-VR GPs are only eligible for A2 rebates.

However, it is worth noting Non-VR GPs may be eligible for A1 rebates if they work in rural or remote areas or where there is a workforce shortage.

Misconceptions about Non-VR GPs

The most common misconception about Non-VR GPs is that they are underqualified and lack the necessary skills and knowledge to fulfil their duties.

This could not be further from the truth.

The Medical Board of Australia puts all IMGs through robust tests.

These tests are designed to ensure their suitability to work in Australia and that they meet required standards.

The following checks and exams must be passed before an IMG is able to work in a GP clinic in Australia.

  • Their credentials are checked and their qualifications verified to ensure they are eligible to sit a computer-based multiple choice test of 150 questions over three and a half hours.
  • They may then sit an AMC clinical exam or must do so during their first year of work in Australia.
  • They must also sit a Pre-Employment Structured Clinical Interview (PESCI).  This is either an in-person or online assessment of their knowledge, skills and clinical experience. It ensures their suitability to work in the practice where they have been offered work.

There is also a feeling that hiring an IMG comes at considerable inconvenience to the practice.

The reality is, any IMG will need supervision for about 12 months, on average.

Benefits of hiring Non-VR GPs

There are a broad spectrum of benefits that come with hiring Non-VR GPs or IMGs.

Higher service fees

Most practices take a 30 per cent service fee from their VR GPs. But many charge service fees of around 45 per cent for Non-VR GPs to compensate for the additional support with which they are provided. Some practices reduce the service fee for the supervising doctors as incentive to take on those duties.

Greater flexibility

Because IMGs can only claim A2 rebates, many practices expect they work after hours when permitted by their supervising doctor. This gives the practice greater flexibility to remain open for longer.

Higher earning capacity

Operating outside of normal hours attracts higher fees boosting the practice’s earning capacity.


IMGs normally require visa sponsorship, usually lasting four years. The majority stay with the practice for at least that time. That’s because the cost of moving to a rival clinic and reapplying for a visa is not worth the effort.


Sponsoring an IMG fosters a sense of loyalty from them toward the practice. Many will remain with the practice, even after achieving their fellowship, becoming supervisors themselves and working with future IMGs.

Workplace culture

Having senior doctors supervise IMGs contributes to the sense of teamwork and camaraderie. It has a positive influence on workplace culture.

Fresh starters

IMGs arrive at a practice without any preconceived ideas or history. They are an open book, desperate to soak up everything they can to be the best GP they can be. They are ideal to mold into the kind of GP you desire for your practice.

Let’s talk about your Non-VR GP recruitment strategy

If you’re starting to consider the merits of working with a Non-VR GP but would like some more guidance about how to go about it, HRA is here to help.

Health Recruitment Australia specialises in aligning overseas doctors of all ages with the right clinics in Australia.

We appreciate that all practices are different in terms of their location, where they sit on the workforce locator, whether they are considered DPA, AON etc.

HRA can review your clinic’s demographics and recommend the most appropriate GP for your unique circumstances … and an IMG might just fit the bill.

IMGs are so willing to learn and have much to offer practices right around the country.

They are a delight to work with and add tremendous value to your business in the long term.

If you own or manage a medical practice and are seeking staff, why not reach out to us for more information, an assessment of your practice and if an IMG might be the right choice for you? Contact us.

Enquire now, and we’ll be
in touch shortly!


Enquire now, and we’ll be
in touch shortly!