Locums for a Small World Blog

What countries hire locum tenens physicians?

Posted by Kari Redfield


The ever-growing international locums market provides numerous opportunities for professional growth — and, of course, adventure. These days, we offer a whole mix of options in terms of pay, assignment duration, healthcare setting, and location. We continue to focus on the core assignment locations that we’ve specialized in for 25 years (like in Australia and New Zealand), but we’re also always adding unique new opportunities for doctors too, including some super short-term, fly-in/fly-out placements.

Here’s a roundup of some of the countries that are looking to hire locums physicians.


We’ve been placing in Australia for almost 25 years and know the healthcare landscape there well. These assignments are typically longer term in rural areas that need physicians, like the gorgeous island of Tasmania.

The pay is comparable to U.S. pay, and the assignment includes generous PTO (4-6 weeks), housing, travel expenses, and transportation. We also help physicians through the rigorous licensing and credentialing process, and secure their visas for them and their families.


Physicians in Canada can earn a salary similar to pay in the U.S. We place physicians either in a typical international locum tenens situation where they’re not responsible for client billings and instead receive a pre-negotiated salary — or a longer-term model where a physician can own part of the practice and begin to set up a long-term home in the community.



Our Caribbean assignments (primarily the Bahamas and the U.S. Virgin Islands) are as short as two weeks and do not involve visas or having to get to know a different healthcare system. Physicians often go for a short jaunt and use it as a toehold into the locums lifestyle, or as a break from their regular rigorous working life. 

What’s not to love about the pink coral sand of the Bahamas and getting to swim or scuba dive before your work shift?


Placements in China are in big cities in high-tech facilities that need medical expertise and leadership. Placements pay even more than typical U.S. physician rates and offer many additional amenities. In addition to the usual housing and transportation, they come with high-quality education for physicians’ children, have generous PTO, and include a fulltime translator. Jobs typically last 12-24 months.

New Zealand

Like Australia, we’ve been placing in New Zealand for 25 years. These assignments range from three to 12 months in both urban and rural areas. The pay is lower than U.S. pay, but the assignment includes generous PTO (4-6 weeks), housing, travel expenses, and transportation. We help physicians through the licensing and credentialing process, and secure their visas for them and their families.

Physicians choose New Zealand for the slower pace of life, the adventure, the beauty of the island nation, and the travel opportunities.

Pacific Islands (i.e. Guam and the U.S. territories)


Guam and many of the Pacific Islands follow the U.S. healthcare model, so the quality of care and way practices operate are often similar to U.S. rural areas, making it easy for physicians to adjust. Assignments here are as short as three months and pay the same as U.S. physician wages. These assignments are a perfect launching off point for exploring Asia.

United Kingdom

We offer assignments in the U.K. that are as short as three to six months or as long as one to two years. In the U.K., you may work for the National Heath System or in the private market, both offer a unique opportunity to practice in a dynamic system.

“There are some tricky components to visa qualification and licensure for physicians to work in the U.K., which is where GMS’ value shines through,” says Matt Brown, director of Global Medical Staffing’s International Division. “The qualifying process takes four to six months, and if the doctor qualifies, we can place him/her in a hospital.”

Although the pay is low, the draw is being just 2.5 hours from France and the rest of Europe and being immersed in an English-speaking culture. Plus, with your U.K. medical license, you can practice in Ireland too.

United Arab Emirates

These assignments are 12 months or more, because by the time the hospital sponsors someone through the visa process and promotes these physicians to the community, it needs to be a longer commitment. “Our clients need help with training and with having a resident expert in their private hospitals,” explains Brown.

Most U.A.E. assignments pay well — 100 to 120% of U.S. wages — and are in state-of-the-art facilities with high-end technology. These placements also pay for relocation and education for your children. During assignments in the U.A.E., you will live in the expatriate community in corporate housing.

Lots of your clientele will be from India, Pakistan, and Europe — i.e. other expatriates in UAE. Dubai is a melting pot with diverse food, and many different languages and cultures. It’s very safe in terms of the expatriate housing and hospitals. The schools systems are all in English, and Dubai is modern culturally — i.e., it would not be like practicing in Saudi Arabia or Egypt.


Other locations

We also offer unique, super-short assignments to places as diverse as Paris or Morocco. For these jobs, a physician flies in and does a day of medical work and flies out. These assignments are lucrative in terms of pay (higher than a typical U.S. wage and also include all expenses and travel). Another bonus: a physician can add on a few days to enjoy the location.

We also offer nine to 12 month assignments in far-flung locations like South America working onsite for a U.S. based organization. These also pay better than typical U.S. wages, but do require a longer commitment.

To learn more about working locum tenens internationally, give us a call at 800.760.3174 or view today's international locums tenens job opportunities.


Topics: Caribbean, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Pacific Islands, international locum tenens opportunity, China, United Kingdom, United Arab Emirates