Area of Need declarations

Area of Need (AON) is a process used to address shortages of doctors by allowing health services to temporarily employ overseas trained doctors.

Public and private health services can apply to the Chief Health Officer (CHO) of the Northern Territory to be declared an AON if medical practitioner positions have remained unfilled, despite recruitment attempts.

Once declared an Area of Need, a health service can temporarily employ an overseas-trained doctor, also known as an international medical graduate, on the registration type 'limited registration - Area of Need'.

Read the 2015 Review of Area of Need Provisions.

Please note the CHO doesn't help individuals to find employment in an AON.

Apply to be an Area of Need

A health service can apply to be declared an Area of Need by addressing the assessment criteria in the Department of Health's Area of Need policy.

Submit an application to the CHO by emailing

International medical graduates

International Medical Graduates (IMG) who do not have Australian general or specialist registration may work at an Area of Need location on limited registration. 

For more information about this type of registration see the Medical Board of Australia website.

IMGs on a limited registration can only work in a health service location that has been declared an Area of Need by the Minister for Health, or a delegate.


Area of Need regulation is covered by the Health Practitioner Regulation National Law Act.

Under the law, the Minister has the authority to decide if there is an insufficient number of medical practitioners to meet the needs of Territorians, and declare an Area of Need.


Office of the Chief Health Officer
Phone: (08) 8999 2669

Employment matters

  • Contacting the Chief Health Officer with employment requests will not be responded to.
  • Please peruse the Careers in Health and NT Government Jobs sites for assistance with employment.

Last updated: 12 December 2016

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