DPA areas for IMGs

What are Distribution Priority Areas?

First of all, The Australian Government’s Department of Health defines a DPA as “an area where people don’t have enough access to doctors, based on the needs of the community.” Not all Australian communities have equitable and adequate access to doctors and this is a significant problem, especially in regional, rural and remote communities.

So, what determines whether a location is DPA? If the location is classed as MM 5 to MM 7 under the Modified Monash Model, or if it’s in the Northern Territory it’s automatically classified as a DPA location. The age and gender demographics, and the socioeconomic status of patients living within the area help to determine the needs of the population which is then compared to a service benchmark. Where the level of health services for the population fails to meet a service benchmark, these locations are classified as DPA.

For IMGs, MM 2 locations are the benchmark. This means that to be eligible to obtain a Medicare Provider Number under section 19AB of the Health Insurance Act 1973 (Cth), an IMG must work in a MM 2 (think along the lines of Toowoomba in Queensland) to MM 7 (this is more like Coober Pedy in South Australia), DPA location. For more information on section 19AB exemptions, you can check out our previous blog post.


Figuring out where you can work when you want to start the Australian leg of your medical career can be daunting, but that’s where we come in.

Check out our IMG Registrar Training Program and PEP Registrar Training Programs, both of which include a paid clinical placement which we organise on your behalf with one of our exclusive partnered medical practices.