Gaining medical registration in Australia

International medical graduates (IMGs) who wish to practice as a medical practitioner in Australia must have their overseas medical qualifications verified by relevant authorities before they will be permitted to practice.

IMG medical qualifications must be verified by the Australian Medical Council (AMC) prior to applying to register to practise medicine.

All doctors practising medicine within Australia must be able to be registered with the Medical Board of Australia.

There are 4 pathways to medical registration for IMGs in Australia:

The AMC website contains comprehensive information for IMGs on the different assessment pathways for registration for IMGs (external site).  They provide a self-assessment check (external site) to help IMGs clarify which pathway is relevant.

Doctors in theatre masks and gowns

Competent Authority Pathway

  • The Competent Authority pathway is for overseas-trained non-specialists, but is also available to specialists, including general practitioners. This pathway leads to general registration.
  • IMGs who have passed recognised examinations or have completed training through a Medical Board of Australia approved competent authority, can apply for assessment under this pathway.
  • IMGs applying for the Competent Authority pathway should apply directly to the Medical Board of Australia for provisional registration.

International authorities competent to assess

  • United Kingdom – General Medical Council (GMC) and Professional and Linguistics Assessment Board (PLAB) examination or graduates of GMC-accredited medical courses in the UK
  • Canada – Licentiate examinations of the Medical Council of Canada (LMCC)
  • United States – United States Medical Licensing Examination of the Federation of State Medical Boards (FSMB) and the National Board of Medical Examiners (NBME)
  • New Zealand – Medical Council of New Zealand Registration EXamination (NZREX)
  • Ireland – medical courses accredited by the Medical Council of Ireland.

The Medical Board of Australia provides further information about the Competent Authority Pathway (external site) and application process.

Specialist Pathway

The Specialist pathway is for the following IMGs: 

  • overseas-trained specialists applying for assessment of comparability to the standard of a specialist trained in that specialty in Australia (specialist recognition), and
  • overseas-trained specialists applying for an area of need specialist level position in Australia (area of need).

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

The Medical Board of Australia provides further information on the Specialist Pathway (external site).  

Standard Pathway

The standard pathway (external site) is for IMGs seeking general registration with the Medical Board of Australia who are not eligible for the Competent Authority Pathway or the Specialist Pathway. 

IMGs should apply directly to the Australian Medical Council (AMC).  There are a number of eligibility requirements. Visit the AMC website for a full list of requirements.

AMC Certificate

The AMC Certificate is a requirement to apply for general registration with the Medical Board of Australia.

There are two ways to achieve AMC Certificate under this pathway. Both ways require IMG applicants to successfully pass the AMC Computer Adaptive Test Multiple Choice Questionnaire (external site) (AMC CAT MCQ). In addition to the AMC CAT MSQ, applicants will need to successfully pass one of the following:

Successful completion of the pathway (AMC CAT MCQ examination + Clinical Examination or AMC CAT MCQ examination + WBA) results in awarding of the AMC Certificate.

Standard Pathway:  AMC Clinical Examination

Most IMG applicants are assessed through the AMC CAT MCQ and AMC Clinical Examination. The AMC website provides more information on the clinical examination process (external website).

Workplace Based Assessment

Workplace-based assessment (WBA) is an assessment program; it is not a bridging or training course. WBA programs assess an IMG’s clinical skills and knowledge at the level expected of an Australian medical graduate at the end of the postgraduate year 1 (PGY1) or internship level. All WBA programs are accredited with the AMC. For a full list of current providers of Workplace Based Assessment across Australia visit the Australian Medical Council website (external site).

A candidate who accepts a place in a WBA program cannot apply for the AMC Clinical Exam during the 12-month period of the WBA Program. If a candidate is already enrolled in the AMC Clinical Exam for the year of WBA commencement, they will need to withdraw to be accepted into the WBA program for that year.

It is the responsibility of each IMG to:

  • ensure they obtain sufficient experience across the six clinical areas of emergency medicine, adult surgery, adult medicine, paediatrics, women’s health, and mental health
  • complete all assessments in accordance with the AMC approved WBA requirements
  • undertake pre-reading and appropriate clinical experience to develop skills in preparation for assessments.

WA Health provides workplace-based assessment programs at:

Find out more about WBA Programs at WA Health.

*New Programs at Rockingham General Hospital and Armadale Health Service have limited places available for IMGs without prior experience working in the WA health care system. IMGs in this category will need to successfully complete a period of unpaid observership, generally 6-16 weeks in duration, depending on individual knowledge and experience.  Expressions of Interest for the IMG Observership Program are advertised on MedJobs (external site). Candidates who successfully complete the requirements of the observership program may be invited to undertake a 12-month Workplace Based Assessment Program at Rockingham General Hospital or Armadale Health Service. Completion of an unpaid observership program is not a guarantee to entry in a WBA Program.

Short-term training in a medical specialty pathway

The short term training in a medical specialty pathway is for IMGs who are overseas-trained specialists or specialists-in-training wishing to undertake a short period (usually up to 24 months) of specialist or advanced training in Australia.

This pathway does not lead to registration as a specialist in Australia. IMGs seeking to qualify for specialist registration apply for registration via the specialist pathway - specialist recognition.

The Medical Board of Australia provides further information on Short term training in a medical specialty pathway (external site).

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