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moving from the UK Dr Polly Large
Moving from the UK to Australia: A GP’s story

Dr Polly Large migrated to Australia, moving from the UK in 2023.

She joined AHA’s Seaford Meadows Day and Night Clinic, a modern clinic in a beachside southern suburb of Adelaide.

Polly had been working as a locum in the UK.

She was fortunate enough to be in the position where she and her partner could relocate comfortably.

Polly enlisted the assistance of an Australian recruiting agency to help her with the move.

She said they were “really helpful” in turning her dream into a reality. 

On the Living The Australian Dream podcast, Polly shared how she made moving from the UK a reality – and how you can do it too.

Why choose Australia?

For Polly, Australia was an itch she needed to scratch.

“I had visited Australia on my medical elective about eight years ago and knew I really enjoyed my time there and wanted to go there again,” Polly said.

“Adelaide itself to me seemed to fit that well.

“It had rural areas quite close to the city centre so that was good for finding work.

“It’s got lots of nice suburbs, lots of nice beaches and really good access to local hiking, wildlife and national parks so it just fit the things that I enjoyed doing outside of work as well.”

Why engage help with the recruitment process?

Polly soon realised she needed help moving from the UK.

She had no friends or colleagues who had followed a similar path and wasn’t sure where to begin. 

“I contacted a couple of agencies and did appreciate ones that asked me about myself and the types of locations I wanted to work in,” she said.

“And it was nice to have agencies who were quite responsive in communication by email, telephone and were keeping in touch.

“It was getting me excited and thinking, ‘oh it’s going to become a reality’.

“So I think it’s really helpful having a good recruitment agency, particularly one that is quite proactive and checks in with you regularly just to see how things are going, see how the paperwork is going, see how the stages are for you.”

She said aligning her with a suitable clinic and helping with reams of paperwork were the two biggest benefits of using an agency.

Finding a medical clinic

Polly had multiple positions presented to her, from many clinics keen to offer her work in Australia.

“I got an email from the agency with options and jobs that were available,” Polly said.

“Then I had a look online and tried to find the locations and looked at patient reviews. 

“The agencies actually organised interviews with myself and either staff and clinicians from the practices or the managerial staff as well.

“I made sure I had meetings to sort of speak to people face to face with all the clinics.

“I did contact every clinic I was offered just to get a feel for them so I could compare and find one that was going to suit me.”

Polly also gave permission for the agency to act on her behalf, making the process even quicker and smoother.

“That was really helpful for them to chase it from their end. It obviously makes a difference with the time zones as well so they can get in contact when you’re at work.”

Help with paperwork

The mountains of paperwork that needs to be completed can seem overwhelming when moving from the UK – especially when working in medicine.

Polly completed her own visa application. 

“I was fortunate enough to find the process on the government website quite straight forward,” she said.

But dealing with the requirements of Australian medical regulators such as AHPRA proved more challenging and time consuming.

“I found it really helpful when they were able to complete some paperwork for me because it meant I could carry on with my normal locum work.”

Even with the professional help of a recruiting agency, the whole process, she said, was extremely time consuming.

“I think it was at least a year. 

“Some people do it quicker from speaking to colleagues and some people take longer.

“If I hadn’t had the recruitment agency with me, I think it would have been longer.”

The big move

New regulations which came into effect in December, 2023 meant Polly could do her ID checks online with AHPRA rather than having to fly to Australia before moving, just to complete them.

She gave herself two weeks from finishing her locum contract in the UK to boarding the plane for Australia.

“Just to tie things up, putting my things in storage with family, seeing friends, seeing family. 

“And then it was more just logistical things that we were thinking of in the last week like when we arrived at the airport, who was going to pick us up?

“How were we going to get transport? How were we going to get a bank account? What money were we going to come over with in cash? 

“I think it was the logistics of day to day living as soon as we set foot to get ourselves rolling, get ourselves settled.

“I think that worked really well.”

She soon realised many items she left at home in storage may no longer be needed.

“We’ve actually found the charity shops, the second hand selling thing is brilliant.

“We’ve been very comfortable with that approach. 

“It’s really just sentimental items that we will ship over.”

But one item, she said, is a must in Australia.

Polly was grateful that her clinic allowed her to borrow a car for a couple of weeks until she bought her own.

“I did sell my car before coming over but that was so we could purchase one when we arrived.

“I knew I’d need a car for work so that was the main big sell for me.”

Most Australian cities are well connected by public transport but cars remain the preferred mode of transport.

“We spent our first week here frantically looking for cars and once that was sorted it was good from there.”

Life in Australia

Polly has quickly settled into living and working in Australia – and she’s loving it.

“Especially the autonomy – choosing when I want to work, it’s really beneficial,” she said.

“Australia itself has loads of great cities and places to explore and I’ve very much enjoyed going to visit some of those places and just making the most of being here.”

She’s even admitted to feeling healthier in Australia.

“I’ve started running and that’s something I’ve wanted to do for a long time. 

“I’ve completed some local half marathons and I must say running on a beach is quite a novelty.

“So I’m very much enjoying the lifestyle that we’re able to live at the moment.”

The big takeaway

Polly emphasised time is the most precious commodity when moving from the UK or planning any move overseas.

“I’d say give yourself plenty of time to complete the whole process in advance of when you are planning to move because time is a massive thing. 

“Having support and giving yourself time is the best thing.

“As soon as the suggestion comes into your mind, just start looking and start the application process there and then so you can enjoy the process.

“You can still enjoy working wherever you are before you move. 

“Don’t get too worried if there are blips along the way.

“Some paperwork might not get completed correctly but it can be amended.

“It’s a well trodden path and there is support there for you.

“And don’t stress too much.”

Patience is a virtue too in what can be a frustrating process – which brought Polly to her final tip … 

“Find a good recruiter!”

Contact Health Recruitment Australia today

If you’re thinking about moving from the UK and are inspired by Polly’s story, you’re just a click away from following in her footsteps.

Health Recruitment Australia is a dedicated recruitment agency that specialises in matching doctors of all ages with clinics needing GPs in Australia, from anywhere in the world.

There are multiple opportunities available for doctors keen to make the move and enjoy everything living and working in Australia has to offer.

HRA will help you find the right city, region and practice to work in.

We’ll answer all of your questions to help put your mind at ease and make your move as smooth as possible.

And the best part? We’ll help you complete all that pesky paperwork to have you sipping coffee at a beachside cafe in Australia before you know it.

Why not start with an informal, no-obligation discussion with the experienced team at Health Recruitment Australia? Contact us.

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


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