Medical Board of Australia

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Medical Board of Australia
 

Specialist Pathway

Changes to the Specialist Pathway for International Medical Graduates

(Effective from 1 July 2014)


The Medical Board of Australia has made changes to the specialist pathway for international medical graduates (IMGs) recognised as specialists in their country of origin. The changes are aimed at streamlining the assessment process for IMGs. The specialist pathway includes specialist recognition (comparability assessment) and assessment for suitability for an area of need position.


The new process commenced on 1 July 2014.


The Specialist Pathway is for international medical graduates (IMGs) 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 specialist level 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).

Eligibility

IMGs who have a primary qualification in medicine and surgery from a training institution listed in the current International Medical Education Directory (IMED) of the Foundation for Advancement of International Medical Education and Research (FAIMER) and 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).

To be eligible for the short-term training (specialist-in-training) pathway, the IMG must have completed their training or be no more than two years away from completing their specialist training overseas. In addition, an IMG must have secured an offer of employment, prior to applying to the Board for registration via the short-term training pathway.

Primary source verification

Before applying for the Specialist Pathway, IMGs must apply to the Australian Medical Council (AMC) for primary source verification of their qualifications through the Educational Commission for Foreign Medical Graduates (ECFMG) International Credentials Services (EICS).

Further information about primary source verification is available on the AMC website.

Specialist Pathway

There are three pathways within the Specialist Pathway:

Specialist Pathway - specialist recognition:

  • the IMG applies directly to the relevant specialist medical college who assesses comparability against the criteria for an Australian-trained specialist in the same field of specialty practice 
  • the outcome of the specialist medical college's assessment will determine the registration type with the Board 
  • the relevant specialist medical college may require the IMG to undertake peer review (oversight) or further training or examinations, before recommending that the IMG be granted recognition as a specialist.

Learn more about the Specialist Pathway - specialist recognition

Specialist Pathway - area of need:

  • the IMG applies directly to the specialist medical college who assesses qualifications and relevant experience against the specified requirements of a position in a confirmed area of need. 
  • area of need is determined by the relevant state or territory health authority (the AMC, the college and the Board have no role in determining which areas are declared area of need) 
  • this pathway does not lead to specialist registration. IMGs on the Specialist Pathway - area of need can also be on the Specialist Pathway - specialist recognition if they wish to gain specialist registration with the Board.

Learn more about the Specialist Pathway - area of need

Specialist Pathway - short-term training (specialists-in-training):

  • an overseas qualified specialist or overseas specialist-in-training can undertake short-term training in Australia without being required to complete the AMC examinations or to have a full comparability assessment undertaken by the relevant specialist college 
  • the IMG applies directly to the relevant college using a Board application form for specialists-in-training (AAMC-30 Application for assessment by a medical college) 
  • the college assesses the suitability of the training position for the specific applicant 
  • the IMG applies to the Board for registration to undertake this short-term training 
  • this pathway does not lead to specialist registration. If the IMG is seeking to qualify for specialist registration they must apply under the Specialist Pathway - specialist recognition

Learn more about the Specialist Pathway - short-term training (specialists-in-training)

How to apply for the Specialist Pathway

IMGs apply directly to the specialist medical college for the Specialist Pathway.

Application forms for the Specialist Pathway - specialist recognition and Specialist Pathway - area of need are available on the relevant college website. A list of the college websites is available below:

The application form for the Specialist Pathway - short term training is available on the Board website.

Process for applying for Specialist Pathway (specialist recognition or area of need or both):

Apply to the AMC for primary source verification

  • See how to apply for PSV at the AMC website

Apply to the relevant specialist medical college for assessment

  • Download an application form from the college website (specialist recognition or area of need or both)

Complete your application form

  • Attach the supporting documentation including primary medical qualifications
  • Ensure your supporting documents meet college requirements i.e. copies of documents are correctly certified, documents are translated into English (if required) by an authorised service
  • If you are applying for an Area of need assessment, ensure you attach the area of need declaration, position description, offer of employment and location details

Review your application before you submit

  • Supporting documents must be attached and meet the document requirements of the college
  • Payment of the fee must be included

Incomplete applications will result in delays to your assessment and may incur a fee

Submit your application to the college

  • Incomplete applications will not be progressed

College confirms receipt of your application

  • This is not a confirmation of assessment

College sends you the assessment outcome

  • Your assessment outcome will determine whether you can apply to the Medical Board of Australia for limited or provisional registration or specialist registration

Download a PDF of How to apply for the specialist pathway (specialist recognition or area of need or both) (212 KB,PDF)

Medical registration

The outcome of a specialist medical college’s assessment of the IMG’s application for the Specialist Pathway will determine the type of registration an IMG may apply for with the Board. The Board makes the final decision on whether to grant registration.

An IMG who qualifies for provisional/general registration, via the Competent Authority Pathway, is not eligible to apply for limited registration under the National Law. They must apply for provisional registration.

Registration types for IMGs on the Specialist Pathway:

Pathway Assessment outcome Registration type
Specialist Pathway – specialist recognition IMGs who have been assessed by the college as substantially comparable or partially comparable and are working towards specialist recognition Limited registration for postgraduate training or supervised practice

OR

Provisional registration (for IMGs qualified for the Competent Authority Pathway)
Specialist Pathway – area of need IMGs who have been assessed by the college as suitable for an area of need position Limited registration for area of need (IMGs who are qualified for the Competent Authority Pathway are not eligible to apply for Limited registration for area of need)
Specialist Pathway – specialist recognition and area of need IMGs who have been assessed by the college for specialist recognition and an area of need position Limited registration for Area of Need (IMGs who are qualified for the Competent Authority Pathway are not eligible to apply for Limited registration for area of need)
Specialist Pathway – specialist recognition IMGs who have been admitted as Fellows of an AMC accredited specialist medical college, or who have been advised by the college that they are eligible for fellowship Specialist registration
Specialist Pathway – short term training IMGs who have been assessed as suitable for a short term training position Limited registration for postgraduate training or supervised practice

IMGs with limited or provisional registration work under supervision. Further information about supervision is available in the Board’s Guidelines for supervised practice.

In addition, all IMGs are required to comply with the Board’s registration standards.

The list of specialties that has been approved by the Ministerial Council is available on the Board website at Specialties and Specialty Fields.

Transitional arrangements

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:

  1. From the date of their application for provisional or general registration, or
  2. After exhausting the renewals of limited registration allowable in the National Law and an application for provisional or general registration is made, or
  3. If they have a significant change in their circumstances that would otherwise have required them to apply for limited registration de novo.

Further information

Further information is available to assist applicants seeking to apply for the Specialist Pathway:

 
 
 
Page reviewed 1/07/2014