Update – DWS is being replaced by DPA

2 min | News
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Alex Graham

June 14, 2019

District of Workforce Shortage is now Distribution Priority Areas

Overseas Doctor

Our in-house Regulatory and Migration team have had it confirmed by 19AB that the following changes to the DWS methodology are coming into place from 1st July 2019 (however, nothing has been made publicly available yet). Here's everything you need to know. 

What is changing?

The Government established a Distribution Working Group (DWG) to review the current District of Workforce Shortage (DWS) methodology and consider a range of options on how it could be improved to better reflect the needs of an area. Recommendations are as follows:

  • The DWG recommended that the DWS be renamed to Distribution Priority Areas (DPA) to better reflect that its primary purpose is one of distribution to areas of need.

  • The DPA for GPs will use a new methodology that takes several factors into consideration: What GP services are available in the area currently; and the demographics and socio-economic factors of patients in the area.

  • The DPA system will be implemented on 1 July 2019 and further information regarding this will be available in the coming weeks on the Doctor Connect Website.

  • There are currently no changes proposed to the locum, spousal, after hours, or replacement provisions of the Guidelines.

What if you are currently in negotiations at a DWS location?

As per the current process where DWS status changes, if a doctor is in negotiations for a placement at a current DWS location for the applicant’s specialty, and the location is no longer eligible as a DPA after 1 July 2019, an application can be lodged and the Department will consider the evidence of employment negotiations prior to the change.

The Department is preparing a Factsheet which will also be available shortly. Wavelength will also continue to liaise with the Department of Health for the latest updates.

For more information, please see the Doctor Connect Website.


If you have questions about your individual situation, our in-house Regulatory & Migration team is here to help. Contact our Registered Migration Agents and Australian Regulatory experts by emailing rms@wave.com.au or calling 02 8353 9098.

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