Changes to the Competent Authority Pathway for International Medical Graduates
(Effective from 1 July 2014)
The Medical Board of Australia has made changes to the competent authority pathway for international medical graduates (IMGs). The changes are aimed at streamlining the assessment process for IMGs.
The new process commenced on 1 July 2014.
The Competent Authority Pathway is for IMGs who are non-specialist or specialists (including general practitioners) who are seeking general registration with the Medical Board of Australia (the Board).
The Board has approved a number of international authorities as competent to assess, for medical registration, the applied medical knowledge and basic clinical skills of IMGs.
The Board approved competent authorities are:
- General Medical Council (United Kingdom—for the PLAB examination or for graduates of GMC-accredited medical courses in the United Kingdom)
- Medical Council of Canada (LMCC)
- Educational Commission for Foreign Medical Graduates of the United States (USMLE)
- Medical Council of New Zealand (NZREX)
- Medical Council of Ireland (graduates of medical courses in Ireland accredited by the Medical Council of Ireland).
IMGs who hold a primary medical degree from a medical school listed in the current International Medical Education Directory (IMED) of the Foundation for Advancement of International Medical Education and Research (FAIMER), and who have completed training or assessment with a Board approved competent authority may apply for provisional registration via the Competent Authority Pathway.
Under section 53 of the Health Practitioner Regulation National Law, as in force in each state and territory (the National Law), the Board has the power to grant provisional or general registration on the basis of equivalency of qualifications or through the successful completion of an examination. The Board has determined that applicants who meet the requirements of the Competent Authority Pathway may be eligible for provisional registration under the National Law.
Please note that IMGs who qualify for provisional/general registration via the Competent Authority Pathway are NOT eligible to apply for limited registration.
Following satisfactory completion of a 12 month period of supervised practice (minimum of 47 weeks of full time service), Competent Authority Pathway registrants may be eligible to apply for general registration with the Board.
IMGs who meet the criteria in one of the competent authority categories may be eligible for provisional registration via the Competent Authority Pathway. IMGs must have secured an offer of employment before applying to the Board for registration.
Note: Australian clinical experience can be substituted for post-examination or post training experience for the purposes of meeting the criteria for eligibility for the competent authority pathway.
This period of practice in Australia may also be accepted as meeting the requirements for the 12 month period of supervised practice which is required to gain general registration via the competent authority pathway.
Primary source verification (PSV)
Before applying to the Board, applicants who are eligible to apply via the Competent Authority Pathway must apply to the Australian Medical Council (AMC) for primary source verification (PSV) of their qualifications through the Educational Commission for Foreign Medical graduates (ECFMG) International Credentials Services (EICS). Further information is available on the AMC website.
How to apply for the Competent Authority Pathway
IMGs apply directly to the Board for provisional registration, via the Competent Authority Pathway. IMGs must provide the Board with evidence of meeting the criteria of one of the competent authority categories, together with their application. In addition, all IMGs are required to comply with the Board’s registration standards.
IMGs registered via the Competent Authority Pathway will undertake a period of practice in either supervised hospital-based positions or supervised positions in general practice in Australia.
IMGs may be required to undertake a pre-employment structured clinical interview (PESCI), prior to having their application for provisional registration considered by the Board. Further information is available on the PESCI page and from your local AHPRA office.
All hospital-based and general practice positions, including supervision arrangements, must be approved by the Board, prior to the applicant commencing in the proposed position. In addition, any changes during the registration period must be approved by the Board, prior to the change occurring. Further information about supervision is available in the Board’s Guidelines for supervised practice.
IMGs on the Competent Authority Pathway who also have specialist qualifications may also apply to the relevant specialist medical college for specialist recognition assessment if they wish to gain specialist registration in Australia.
Competent authority pathway
Secure an employment offer
Apply to the AMC for primary source verification
Apply to the MBA for provisional registration
Complete 12 months supervised practice
Apply to the MBA for general registration
IMGs on the Competent Authority Pathway apply for provisional registration.
IMGs may be eligible to apply for general registration after they have completed 12 months (minimum of 47 weeks of full time service) of satisfactory supervised practice in a hospital-based or general practice position in Australia.
Competent Authority Pathway registrants must provide written confirmation from term supervisors that they have satisfactorily completed the 12 month period (FTE) of supervised practice. This may be in the form of term reports or other specific reporting forms developed or approved by the Board and a letter of recommendation for general registration from the Director of Training, Director of Medical Services or other person authorised to sign off on the satisfactory completion of supervised practice.
All applicants for medical registration who qualify for the competent authority pathway and lodge their applications after 1 July 2014 are deemed to be qualified for general registration from 1 July 2014.
The decision does not take effect from 1 July 2014 for medical practitioners who hold limited registration or whose application for limited registration has been received by the Board and are qualified for the competent authority pathway as at 30 June 2014. This cohort will be deemed to be qualified for general registration:
- From the date of their application for provisional or general registration, or
- After exhausting the renewals of limited registration allowable in the National Law and an application for provisional or general registration is made, or
- If they have a significant change in their circumstances that would otherwise have required them to apply for limited registration de novo
Transition from Provisional to General Registration for international medical graduates on the Competent Authority Pathway
IMGs on the Competent Authority Pathway who are approaching the completion of their 12 months supervised practice period (47 weeks of full time service) can apply for their general registration early.
If you hold provisional registration, you can apply for general registration online. A paper form (Application for general registration for medical practitioners currently holding provisional registration - APGR-30) is available on the forms page.
Further information is available to assist applicants seeking to apply for provisional registration via the Competent Authority Pathway: