Victoria - Australian State Application Guide for UK Junior Doctors
In the UK, we are used to the national, centralised means of applying for training jobs, including foundation, core training, and specialty training.
In Australia, medical graduates are used to a similar process, but it is state-based rather than national.
The state-based application process is one of the most common ways for UK doctors to find their first job in Australia. Each state has its own centralised portal and application process. In this article, we will be exploring the application process for the state of Victoria.
👩💻 Where can I find the application portal for Victoria?
The application portal for Victoria can be found on the Postgraduate Medical Council of Victoria (PMCV) website.
📃 Who is eligible to apply using this process?
You may have heard that only Australian citizens and local doctors can apply through the annual recruitment cycle, but this is not true. As a UK doctor or other overseas candidate, you can apply through the Victorian state process but with some caveats (see below).
🤔 How is the application process structured?
The application process is grouped into three ‘matches’ which occur in sequence, each with its own rules about who can apply.
Pre-match Offers - April to June
In this period, individual hospitals may choose to advertise, interview, and pre-select candidates internally (i.e. those already working within the hospital) to fill their own positions with a commencement date in the following February.
PMCV HMO/Rural Generalist (RG) Match - July to September
Any unfilled job vacancies from the pre-match are then communicated to PMCV and are pooled into the PMCV system. Only Australian/NZ citizens, PRs, and IMGs with general AHPRA registration can apply in this match.
PMCV Late Vacancy Match - September to October
Any unfilled job vacancies after this match proceed to the HMO late vacancy match. In this match, IMGs who are eligible for registration will now be considered.
So, as a UK doctor considering applying to Victoria, you want to keep your eyes open for “Late Vacancy Match”. Here is the link for 2022, but unfortunately, it is now closed.
Multiple rounds of matches may occur at this stage to try and fill as many vacancies as possible.
As you can imagine, most citizens and PRs have already been allocated at this stage, so your competition is largely other IMGs who are also looking to land their first job.
☝️ What are the steps in the process?
Below we will go over the timeline for the 2022 HMO late vacancy match, with dates.
🗓 September 26th to 30th, 2022 - Round 1 Match Opens
Candidates are required to do the following:
👉 Register for a PMCV account
The first step for candidates is to register for an account on the Postgraduate Medical Council of Victoria portal.
👉 Submit required evidence and documentation
You will have to submit your CV, cover letter, and pathway eligibility evidence. An example of pathway eligibility could be your completion of foundation training certificate from the UK, which indicates that you are eligible for registration under the “Competent Authority Pathway”.
As a UK citizen, you have no requirement to submit any evidence supporting your English language standard.
👉 Nominate references
An online referee report needs to be filled out and submitted. Note: this is a scored reference.
The full referee report can be found here, but to explain it briefly, your referees will be asked to score you in a range of elements relevant to clinical competency, verbal and written communication skills, and personal and professional conduct.
Hence, you must ensure you select references who will be adequately placed to score you in these domains, e.g. clinical supervisors rather than research or project supervisors.
Educational supervisors for foundation training are technically supposed to have oversight of your overall development and hence should be able to fill this reference. Still, we would recommend you choose consultant clinicians who have worked with you in a patient-facing environment.
👉 Preferencing health services
Once you register for a match, when you log in, you will be given a list of all the health services (equivalent to an NHS trust) and be required to rank your top 3 preferences.
We’d like to emphasise that your only preferencing strategy should be to put your three most desired health services first!
There is no need, nor way, to “game” the system. This article from the Postgraduate Medical Council of Victoria debunks this myth plus many others.
👉 Perform an online video interview
This online video interview is best understood as a virtual, recorded OSCE. Once the interview starts, a question in text form flashes onto the screen and you are given 60 seconds to prepare your answer. Then, the video recording starts and you deliver your answer, with 90 seconds available.
The virtual bell then rings, and the next question flashes onto the screen. This is repeated for a total of three questions. At no point will there be a person on the screen asking you questions or interacting with you in any other way. It is entirely virtual.
🗓 October 3rd to 12th, 2022 - Health service assessments
At this stage, your entire application, including CV, references, and video interview, are available for individual health services to review via PMCV.
You will then be scored according to the criteria of individual health services, the details of which are generally not available. However, you may wish to enquire with individual health services for more information.
Once a health service has assessed all applicants, they will rank candidates according to their score and PMCV will “administer the match algorithm”. This refers to the mathematical method that PMCV uses to allocate jobs to candidates based on their preferences and rankings with individual health services.
For more information on matching, you can visit this article on the Postgraduate Medical Council of Victoria website.
Special Note: At this stage, individual health services may choose to reach out to you and state their intention for matching you before the formal match results become available.
🗓 October 13th, 2022 - Match algorithm results will be published
At this stage, any unfilled vacancies will proceed to Round 2 of the late vacancy match.
🗓 October 18th to 20th, 2022 - Round 2 Match opens
Candidates for Round 2 are required to complete the same steps as candidates in Round 1.
🗓 October 21st to 27th, 2022 - Health services assessments for Round 2
This stage is the same as Round 1.
🗓 October 31st, 2022 - Match algorithm results will be published
This stage is also the same as Round 1.
🗓 February 6, 2023 - Job start date
The PMCV has this application process summary in terms of preferencing, scoring, and allocation.
🩺 How can I see available jobs?
When the match is open, you can view the details of the match on the “Allocation and Placement Service (APS)” website. There will be a section labelled health services on this website, and here, every single Victorian hospital hiring HMOs via the PMCV match will be available.
You will also be able to see the “stream” of the jobs. The individual departments or rotations will NOT be available to view at this stage but the streams include:
👉 Medical stream - Predominantly medical jobs, but others like ED/ICU/Psych may be offered by a health service depending on their availability.
👉 Surgical stream - Predominantly surgical jobs, but others like ED/ICU again may be offered if available.
👉 Critical care stream - ED, ICU, and anaesthetics.
👉 General stream - A mix of all job types.
You can sign up for email alerts to be informed of any updates on your matches by subscribing to the PMCV mailing list located on the bottom of their website.
💼 What information will I need to prepare with my application?
To prepare your application, you will need your CV, cover letter, two references with the completed referee reports, and evidence of pathway eligibility. For UK medical graduates, this is your completion of foundation training certificate which makes you eligible for registration under the competent authority pathway.
📈How can I improve my chances of success?
✅ Get organised. Don’t miss deadlines as these are fixed and non-negotiable.
✅ Invest in your CV and cover letter. They both offer a great way to stand out, and will always be a key part of your application regardless of which state you are applying to.
✅ Make sure you jump through the hoops carefully and don’t make any silly mistakes. Prepare early so you have what you need in advance. This varies by state but might include details of referees, EPIC account, CV, cover letters, etc.
🇦🇺 How are overseas doctors treated in the process?
One concern of UK doctors thinking about making the move to Australia is that their application will be viewed negatively as they are a foreign doctor with different qualifications and visa sponsorship needs.
Overall, the scoring of applicants for jobs in Australia is not transparent as individual health services perform the scoring rather than PMCV, and they don’t publish their methodology online or otherwise. So it isn’t clear to us if your ranking will be affected by the fact you’re an IMG.
However, the primary way in which Aus/NZ citizens, PRs and other doctors with general registration will be preferenced is through the pre-match offer and initial match process, where IMG’s who are eligible for registration cannot apply.
Once you get to the late vacancy match, your competition will likely be many other IMGs and there are still an abundance of jobs available in most states. So, you should feel empowered at the opportunity to apply for a large number of jobs via the PMCV late vacancy match!
Finally, whilst anecdotal experience should be taken with a pinch of salt, most UK doctors finds that they are treated exceedingly well and scarcely different to their Australian counterparts. This includes both senior medical staff and medical workforce administrative staff.
🏥 Can I apply directly instead?
In Victoria, resident doctors complete four rotations (13 weeks each), or terms, per year, and hence, there are 4 natural dates of the year where health services will look to hire:
🗓 Term 1 - February
🗓 Term 2 - May
🗓 Term 3 - August
🗓 Term 4 - November
For jobs starting in February, almost all vacancies will be filled via the PMCV match system, where the last round of jobs are usually allocated at the end of October.
Whilst a handful of vacancies may still remain after all the matches have closed, your opportunity to apply for these jobs is limited as the series of administrative tasks required after securing a job, such as applying for registration, visas, health checks, etc, can take 3 to 4 months to complete.
Hence, if you apply for jobs in November, it is highly unlikely you will be able to fulfil a start date in February.
However, suppose you plan on arriving outside of February. In that case, contacting hospitals directly, using agencies and checking other recruitment websites become necessary, as there are no matches run by PMCV at any other time of the year.
ℹ️ Other useful web pages from PMCV:
📚 Continue Reading
🚀 This article is part of Messly's Ultimate Guide to Working in Australia. The guide covers all you need to know as a UK doctor to understand your options, research your move, find work, get registered and move out to Australia.
✈️ There are four routes to finding a job in Australia. In this detailed guide, we explain how each works and the pros and cons of each, so you can kick-start your search for your dream job Down Under
📃 If you're planning to submit applications for jobs in Australia, you'll need your CV to stand out from the crowd. This detailed CV-writing guide will help you make an excellent first impression and get you through to the interview stage.
📜 A well-written and carefully personalised cover letter is a super power that many doctors overlook. We explain here how to craft the perfect cover letter, with a full worked example for you to crib from.
This article was written with input from Dr Prakhar Srivastava, a British junior doctor who moved to Melbourne as an F3 and secured his job using the Victoria 2021 HMO Late Vacancy Match process.
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