Assessment pathways to registration for international medical graduates
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International medical graduates (IMGs) whose medical qualifications are from a medical institution outside of Australia or New Zealand, and who are seeking registration to practise medicine in Australia, must provide evidence of eligibility to undertake one of the following assessment pathways:
- Competent Authority Pathway
- Standard Pathway
- Specialist Pathway
The process of assessment associated with the pathways assesses the knowledge and clinical skills of IMGs seeking to qualify for general or specialist registration in Australia.
This section provides important information for IMGs with basic medical qualifications and/or specialist qualifications who want to find out about the assessment pathways, including eligibility requirements, application processes, documentation requirements and methods of assessment.
Role of the Australian Medical Council
All IMGs must apply for primary source verification of their medical qualifications through the Educational Commission for Foreign Medical Graduates (ECFMG) Electronic Portfolio of International Credentials (EPIC), regardless of which of the three assessment pathways are being pursued.
The AMC is the verifications authority of Australia, responsible for maintaining the AMC’s qualifications portal with information and updates on verifications processed by ECFMG. The qualifications portal is used by the Medical Board of Australia for registration purposes and by the Australian specialist medical colleges for assessment purposes.
The AMC conducts the assessment process for IMGs in the Standard Pathway (AMC examinations) only; it does not conduct assessments in the competent authority or specialist pathways. The AMC has no role in processing applications for registration or in granting registration, which is a function of the Medical Board of Australia (the Board).
Overview of pathways
The brief descriptions that follow are preliminary guides to assist you to determine which pathways you are most likely to be eligible to apply for, and how to apply. Where relevant, links to more detailed information are provided.
To help you clarify which pathway may be relevant to you, an initial self-assessment check is provided as a guide.
The Standard Pathway is for IMGs seeking general registration with the Board. You need to have a primary qualification in medicine and surgery awarded by a training institution listed in the current International Medical Education Directory (IMED) of the Foundation for Advancement of International Medical Education and Research (FAIMER) to be eligible to apply to the AMC for assessment under this pathway.
The AMC assesses IMGs under the Standard Pathway through one of the following:
- Standard Pathway (AMC examinations). Assessment is by examination only—the AMC CAT MCQ Examination and the AMC Clinical Examination. Most non-specialist applicants will be assessed through this method.
- Standard Pathway (workplace-based assessment). Assessment is by examination (the AMC CAT MCQ Examination) and a program of workplace-based assessment of clinical skills and knowledge by an AMC-accredited authority. Currently, assessment programs in four states have been accredited to conduct workplace-based assessment. Relatively few applicants are assessed through this pathway.
On successful completion of the assessment requirements of either of the alternatives described above, you will be issued with the AMC Certificate.
The AMC has no role in processing applications for registration or in granting registration, which is a function of the Board, the registration authority of Australia.
Learn more about the Standard Pathway.
Competent Authority Pathway
The Competent Authority Pathway is intended for overseas-trained non-specialists, but it is also available to specialists, including general practitioners. It is a pathway to general registration and does not result directly in recognition or registration as a specialist in Australia.
IMGs who have completed the requirements of a Board-designated competent authority can apply to the Board for assessment under this pathway.
If you wish to be assessed through the Competent Authority Pathway, you should apply directly to the Board.
Learn more about the Competent Authority Pathway.
The Specialist Pathway is for applicants in one of the following categories:
- overseas-trained specialists applying for assessment of comparability to the standard of a specialist trained in that specialty in Australia (specialist recognition)
- overseas-trained specialists applying for an area of need position in Australia (area of need)
- overseas-trained specialists or specialists-in-training wishing to undertake a short period of specialist or advanced training in Australia (short-term training).
IMGs who have a primary qualification in medicine and surgery from a training institution listed on IMED FAIMER, and who have satisfied all the training and examination requirements to practise in their field of specialty in their country of training can apply for assessment under this pathway (specialist recognition or area of need).
Learn more about the Specialist Pathway.
Primary source verification
Primary source verification is mandated under the Health Practitioner Regulation National Law as in force in each state and territory (the National Law) for all IMGs seeking registration in any category in Australia.
The Educational Commission for Foreign Medical Graduates (ECFMG) serves international organisations and authorities involved in medical registration, licensing and assessment by obtaining primary source verification of the medical education and registration credentials of IMGs who have completed their medical education outside their jurisdictions.
Before applying for the Specialist Pathway or the Competent Authority pathway, IMGs must apply for primary source verification of their qualifications:
Applications submitted by 30 September 2015
The AMC will process qualifications submitted as part of either the Standard Pathway or Primary Source Verification applications to ECFMG for EICS verification.
Applications submitted from 1 October 2015
IMGs are required to submit medical qualifications directly to ECFMG’s Electronic Portfolio of International Credentials (EPIC) for verification, but also complete an AMC online application to establish an AMC portfolio.
Learn more about primary source verification.