Dr Qinglin Wang came to Australia to put his expertise in neurology to good use, answering the call of a government then desperate to fill the country's doctor shortage.
Instead, he has found himself working as a low-paid aged care nurse, struggling to support his family, and fighting a David and Goliath legal battle with the ACT government over its policy of preferring locally-trained graduates for medical internships.
After being denied a medical internship with the Canberra Hospital despite his considerable experience, Dr Wang alleged the policy discriminated against him on the basis of his race.
Dr Wang has spoken out for the first time about his very public fight, which he says he is pursuing for his family, and for other overseas-trained doctors who, like him, are put at the back of the pile when pursuing what is already a shortage of medical internship places.
"I don't want to become an anti-discrimination hero, but I just want the policy to be fair," Dr Wang said.
His efforts, supported pro-bono by law firm Sparke Helmore, led to a major win earlier this year, when the ACT Civil and Administrative Tribunal found the medical internship policy was discriminatory.
The justification for the priority system, used by every state and territory, is that locally-trained medical graduates are specifically trained to work in the Australian health system, and represent the best return on investment for governments who help fund their medical education.
But the tribunal's decision found the policy directly discriminated against Dr Wang who, no matter how excellent his qualities and qualifications, would still be ranked behind the worst local medical graduate for no other reason than "he was born and educated in his home country of China".
"This legal action is not just for me, because this public policy, particularly this priority list, it's not just discriminated against me, or international medical graduates, it's against the interstate medical graduates," Dr Wang said.
"The ACT government, they should select the doctor by merit list, not graduate priority list. They can't find the best person for the position to provide the best care, if you just select the candidate by the priority list.
"The patient just wants to have the best care."
The neurologist came to Australia in 2001, with 16 years' experience, a masters degree in neurology, and time as the director of the neurology department at the Tianjin Medical University in north-east China.
He was sent abroad from China for medical research, but stayed after meeting his wife and starting a family. Dr Wang wanted to return to his passion for clinical work, despite the advice of his friends that it was too difficult to work in Australia for overseas-trained doctors.
Red tape delayed him by years as he tried to have his qualifications recognised.
Dr Wang scored highly in the necessary clinical exams, which he waited 21 months to sit, had his qualifications recognised, and satisfied the onerous requirements to practise in Australia.
The one thing left for him to do was to complete a one-year medical internship, which he needed to complete to practise in Australia. He applied at the Canberra Hospital, but was knocked back.
"I thought maybe I would fail the exam, but I never, ever thought I wouldn't be able to get a job," he said.
"It's really, really shocked me, not just shocked me, not just hit me, but hit my family."
His wife took three jobs to support the family, and Dr Wang feels like he is unable to provide for his children. In his 50s, Dr Wang is nearing retirement age, and has now spent years of his working life just trying to find a way into the Australian medical system.
"My youngest son, he's maybe just four or five years, he always ask me 'daddy, why don't you take me camping? My friends always go camping'," he said.
"I can't say 'sorry I have no money'," he said.
"If I become a doctor I will bring a bright future for my family."
The case remains before the ACAT, where a key question is yet to be resolved. The tribunal found the policy indirectly discriminated against Dr Wang, but is yet to decide whether that was "reasonable" in the circumstances.