Recognition for International Medical Graduates

If you are an International Medical Graduate (IMG) in clinical radiology or radiation oncology who wishes to practice in Australia or New Zealand, RANZCR will be involved in assessing your training and experience.

How we are involved depends on the type of assessment and the country in which you are applying. There are two main pathways to practising in Australia and New Zealand:

  • Specialist assessment: You apply to RANZCR (in Australia) or the Medical Council of New Zealand (in New Zealand). RANZCR assesses your training and experience.
  • Area of Need assessment (Australia only): You apply directly for a position in a rural or remote Australian location where there is a shortage of clinical radiologists or radiation oncologists. RANZCR assesses your training and experience.

RANZCR also assesses applications for short-term training positions for specialists or specialists-in-training who need to supplement their skills or experience in areas not available in their country.

Specialist Assessment

The purpose of specialist assessment is to determine the comparability of the training, qualifications and experience of International Medical Graduates (IMGs) to Australian and New Zealand trained specialists. There are different processes for Australia and New Zealand.

Applying for specialist assessment in Australia

In Australia, you apply first to the Australian Medical Council (AMC) for primary source verification (PSV) of your medical and specialist qualifications. All relevant documentation and qualifications are checked through the Electronic Portfolio of International Credentials (EPIC), through the Educational Commission for the Foreign Medical Graduates (ECFMG).

Once you have submitted the application to the ECFMG via the AMC, you are able to apply to RANZCR for specialist recognition assessment.

RANZCR assesses the comparability of your training, qualifications and subsequent experience, including:

  • your formal training and assessment (including assessment of your exit exams)
  • your clinical experience
  • your current practice, including participation in continuing professional development and contribution to the profession.The aim of the assessment is to find out whether your training and experience are comparable to those of an Australian specialist.

More about applying in Australia.

Applying for specialist assessment in New Zealand

In New Zealand, you apply for registration to the Medical Council of New Zealand (MCNZ). The MCNZ takes advice from RANZCR when assessing your training and experience.

More about applying in New Zealand.

Area of Need assessment in Australia

Many locations in rural and remote Australia need clinical radiologists and radiation oncologists. If a state or territory government health department finds there is a gap in radiology or radiation oncology services that cannot be filled locally, they can declare the location an Area of Need (AoN). Area of Need positions are advertised on state and territory government health department websites and through medical employment agencies, and not through the College. If an employer selects you for an Area of Need position, RANZCR will assess your suitability. You must have at least five years of accredited training or, if less than 5 years accredited training, at least five years of clinical experience as a consultant radiologist at an accredited training site.

More about Area of Need Assessment.

Overseas trained doctors with non-specialist qualifications

In order to be recognised as a specialist in clinical radiology or radiation oncology by the College, you need to have completed five years of training in a clinical radiology/radiation oncology training position accredited by the College and pass the College's Part 1/Phase 1 and Part 2/Phase 2 clinical radiology/radiation oncology examinations.

To be accepted by RANZCR into the clinical radiology or radiation oncology training programs, there are a number of criteria that you must attain.

For more information see the Join our Professions pages for clinical radiology or radiation oncology.

Useful Resources

Q - What is specialist recognition?

The purpose of the specialist recognition is to determine the comparability of training, qualifications and experience of international medical graduates (IMGs), with Australian trained specialists. The applicant applies to the College who assesses the applicant's training and experience.

The process does not solely consider formal training and assessment but takes into consideration subsequent clinical experience and the nature of the IMG's current practice including participation in continuing professional development activities and contribution to the profession.

There are three possible outcomes for an applicant assessed for specialist recognition:

  1. Not comparable - applicants are referred back to the AMC; or
  2. Partially comparable - applicants are required to sit the FRANZCR Part/Phase 2 exams; or
  3. Substantially comparable - applicants are required to undergo a period of supervised practice under peer review.

Q - How much is the assessment fee for specialist recognition?

A$6,315. (subject to change)

Q - Do I need to apply to both the AMC and the College for the application for specialist recognition pathway?

Yes. For the specialist recognition pathway, the applicant must first apply to the AMC for primary source verification (PSV) of their medical qualification and all specialist qualifications attained.
Concurrently, the IMG will apply directly to the College for specialist recognition to determine if the applicant's training, qualifications and professional experience are comparable to an Australian-trained specialist.

Q - Do I require an interview for the specialist recognition pathway?

Yes, you will be required to have an in-person interview by the assessment panel at the College office. During the interview, the assessment panel will determine if you are substantially comparable, partially comparable or not comparable to a locally trained specialist.

Q - Is the interview like an exam? What preparation is required before the interview?

The interview is not an exam; it is more like talking through your training and experience.
As the purpose of the interview is to assist the College in assessing the comparability of your qualifications, training and experience to those of an Australian trained specialist, you may wish to familiarise yourself with the College’s radiology or radiation oncology training program and the requirements for the Part 1/Phase 1 and Part 2/Phase 2 examinations. This may help you understand the scope of knowledge, skills and practice expected of general radiologists/radiation oncologists in Australia. Information is available on the College’s website at: https://www.ranzcr.com/join-our-professions

Q - If my outcome, after the interview, is that I am partially comparable and that I require further training, what must I do?

You will need to contact departments directly to discuss obtaining a position.

The College accredits the positions, but does not determine their numbers or locations. Similarly, the College does not have a role in employment matters – this is solely up to training departments.
The onus of finding the necessary training position lies solely with the applicant. The College nor training sites are responsible for the placement of applicants in accredited training sites. Positions in accredited training sites are limited and the application process for obtaining such positions is competitive
A list of accredited departments for radiology and radiation oncology training can be found on the College website:
Accredited Radiology Training Sites
Accredited Radiation Oncology Training Sites
All enquiries in regard to training positions should be made in writing to the Director of Training at the institutions listed above.

Q - How difficult is it to obtain a training position?

Accredited radiology training positions are highly competitive. In many circumstances, you will be competing alongside Australian and New Zealand trained graduates. There are many more applicants than positions available and it should be noted that it may take time to secure a position. In some circumstances, the position may be unpaid.
The onus of finding training positions lies solely upon the applicant. The College is not involved with or responsible for appointments to short term or advanced training positions.

Q - If I obtain a training or Fellowship position in an accredited training hospital, what procedure should I follow?

Once a training position is obtained, as part of the mechanism to grant special purpose registration from the Medical Board of Australia through the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency (AHPRA), the employing hospital will need to obtain a letter of support from the College to approve the training position. The role of the College is to determine whether the position is a genuine training position and whether the training program is appropriate for the applicant according to the outcome from the College assessment.
The hospital must submit the following documents:
• a position description and/or detailed training program;
• a written statement that the appointment will not disadvantage any trainees currently registered in the College's training program;
• the applicant’s current curriculum vitae, including evidence of post graduate training and/or work experience in radiology or radiation oncology since the College assessment;
• copy of IELTS certificate with a minimum score of 7.0 (if relevant);
• the Medical Board of Australia application form will need to be completed and accompany the RANZCR application form;
• completed relevant RANZCR application form which is available from the website at: https://www.ranzcr.com/join-our-professions/img/recognition-for-img

Q - Once I complete my training, what do I need to do before I can apply for the FRANZCR Part 2 or Phase 2 examinations?

At the end of the training period and before the applicant can apply for the Phase 2 examinations, the supervisor must provide a letter to the College stating that the applicant has completed the training according to the requirements of the assessment outcome.

Q - I have heard about the pathway called peer review pathway under specialist recognition. How do I go about to apply this pathway?

This pathway is for those whom, at the end of the interview, the assessors have deemed them to be substantially comparable to an Australian-trained specialist thereby only requiring that the applicant take up an appointment in a specialist position under supervision and undertake a peer assessment in the work place.

There are certain criteria for this pathway and the assessors will have taken into consideration the training program and subsequent work experience undertaken by the international medical graduate (IMG) before coming to Australia. As a minimum, the following criteria apply (but are not restricted to):

  • the training and assessment program is nationally based where the goals & objectives are clearly defined;
  • the program is a minimum of four years and preferably five years in length;
  • the training program is predominantly clinically based;
  • training is conducted under supervision;
  • objective written and clinical assessments are included in the program;
  • the qualification obtained or conferred is nationally recognised;
  • there is continuing professional development (CPD) activity;
  • the training, assessment and CPD programs leading to the nationally recognised qualification are accredited by an external assessing body;
  • there is ongoing performance appraisal in the workplace;
  • the applicant has had a minimum of five (5) years post Fellowship experience in a consultant position and/or held academic posts (senior lecturer or above) at nationally recognised institutions;
  • The applicant has published a minimum of five (5) articles in peer reviewed journals as first author. Articles must be published post fellowship (or equivalent) in the relevant fields of radiology or radiation oncology;
  • The consultant position being sought must be based in a hospital with a RANZCR accredited imaging/radiation oncology department.

The criteria for substantial comparability for specialist recognition under peer review relates to the training program and subsequent work experience undertaken by an international medical graduate. Please note:

  • that the criteria denoted in bold above must be met to satisfy specialist recognition under peer review.
  • that the local position excludes any area of need position unless it is located in a partially/fully accredited RANZCR training facility and/or has had approval by the relevant Education and Training Committee.

Q - What is the difference between a specialist recognition assessment and an area of need assessment?

The main aim of the area of need (AON) assessment process is to determine the applicant’s suitability for the specified position, in a designated area of need. Areas of need are determined by States and Territories, and can be any location in which there is a lack of specialists or where there are specialist International Medical Graduates positions that remain unfilled after local recruitment efforts.

This is different to the specialist recognition process where an IMG is assessed for comparability to the skills, qualifications and experience of an Australian-trained specialist.

In addition, all AON applicants will be assessed for comparability to the skills, qualifications and experience of an Australian (or New Zealand) trained specialist for the purposes of specialist registration in addition to their suitability for the specific position which they have applied for. There is no need for two applications to the College for both pathways and there is the one fee of $6130 for all AON applications.

Q - Can I work in Australia while I am going through the specialist recognition pathway?

See below for the outcome and the timing of when you can commence working:

  • If your outcome at interview is that you are considered substantially comparable:

    You are required to take up appointment in a specialist position under supervision and undertake a peer-assessment in the work place. The duration will be notified with the outcome.

  • If your outcome at interview is that you are considered partially comparable:

Radiology or Radiation Oncology - the applicant is required either

i. To undertake a prescribed period of supervised training in an accredited training site not exceeding two years and to sit and pass the CollegePart / Phase 2 examinations; or

ii. To sit and pass the College Part / Phase 2 examinations without additional training.

For partially comparable outcomes, until you have sat and have passed all the components of the FRANZCR Part 2 or Phase 2 examinations, you will not be able to work as a specialist without conditions. However, you can take up an area of need position with limited registration and work while you are attempting the examination (i.e. once you have come through the area of need pathway and receive College approval to work in that position).

Q - What steps are involved in appointing an area of need radiologist?

  1. The Federal Government determines areas as ‘District of Workforce Shortage’ (DWS) based on census and provider number data.
  2. An Area of Need (AON) declaration is determined by each state health department. This is based on an employer’s demonstrated inability to recruit locally.
  3. An application is made to RANZCR to assess the suitability of the applicant selected by the employer for the position. The assessment interview comprises of an interview, clinical case scenarios and film reading, which are based on the position description provided by the employer.

Q - How much supervision is required for Area of Need Radiologists?

During the AON assessment process, the assessors determine any limitations that will be imposed upon the applicants’ scope of practice and medical registration which are categorised according to the Medical Board of Australia’s Guidelines - Supervised Practice for Limited Registration. The prescribed limitations are forwarded to the Australian Health Practitioner Registration Authority (AHPRA) for verification and implementation.

Once the AON doctor commences in the AON position, three-month, twelve-month and subsequent yearly progress reports are submitted to the College and AHPRA as well as being reviewed by the International Medical Graduate (IMG) Committee.

Q - Where can an IMG specialist work?

An IMG specialist is bound by the 10-year Medicare moratorium and is only eligible to receive Medicare provider numbers for Districts of Workforce Shortage for 10 years from initial medical registration in Australia. After 10 years of medical registration in Australia, they are eligible to apply for Medicare provider numbers for any location.

Becoming a Fellow of the College does not reduce the 10-year Medicare moratorium.

An IMG who attained their primary medical degree in Australia, but gained their specialist radiology or radiation oncology training overseas, may still be bound by the moratorium. Your residency status and where and when you obtained your primary medical degree will determine the pathways to registration and any restrictions on obtaining a Medicare Provider Number.

 It is best for the IMG to contact the College directly to discuss each case individually.

Further information can be found here: http://www.doctorconnect.gov.au/internet/otd/publishing.nsf/Content/medicareProviderNumberLegislation.

Q - When can an IMG specialist become a Fellow of the College?

  1. Since June 2010, all AON practitioners are required by AHPRA to work towards successfully completing the Part/Phase 2 examinations within three years of commencing in their position. Once the candidates have successfully completed the Part/Phase 2 exams they are eligible to apply to become FRANZCRs.
  2. IMG specialists who are assessed as substantially comparable to an Australian or New Zealand trained radiologist/radiation oncologist must undertake up to 12 months supervised practice under peer review and successfully complete a multi-source feedback (MSF) review. They must also have held medical registration in Australia for a minimum of 2 years prior to being eligible to apply for Fellowship of the College.

Q - Who can work as an Area of Need Radiologist?

  • As of 1 July 2015 Area of Need practitioners undergoing the Area of Need assessment are required to have completed at least five (5) years of accredited training OR a minimum of five (5) years clinical experience working at a consultant radiologist level in an accredited teaching site in order to be found suitable for the Area of Need position.
  • From RANZCR’s understanding permanent residents or citizens of Australia are not eligible for Medicare provider numbers until specialist medical registration is achieved, this means permanent residents and Australian citizens would not be eligible to receive medicare rebates for Area of Need on a limited or provisional medical registration. For further information please contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

 

For the latest workforce statistics please see the Australian Government Health Workforce Data:

 

Diagnostic Radiology

Radiation Oncology

For further and more comprehensive data please see the Medical Board of Australia website: Specialist medical colleges' specialist pathway data

Useful Websites

The following websites provide information about registration, practising medicine, and general health issues in Australia and New Zealand:

  • Medicare Australia
    For information regarding the 10 year moratorium and criteria for exemption to Section 19AB of the Health Insurance Act 1973.

  • Doctor Connect
    Information for doctors trained outside of Australia and for Australian medical employers.

  • Department of Immigration and Border Protection
    For information regarding visa applications and living in Australia.

  • Australian Medical Council
    For information regarding the assessment pathways and primary source verification of medical and specialist qualifications.

  • Medical Board of Australia
    Information regarding registration types, registration standards, forms and fees. Links to the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency (AHPRA), who is the organisation responsible for the implementation of the National Registration and Accreditation Scheme across Australia and the renewal of practitioner registration.

  • Medical Board of Australia, International Medical Graduates
    Specific information regarding the pathways to registration for IMGs.

  • Department of Health
    The Department of Health has a diverse set of responsibilities, but throughout there is a common purpose, which is reflected in their Vision statement: "Better health and wellbeing for all Australians".

  • Medical Council of New Zealand
    The Medical Council registers doctors in New Zealand and carries responsibilities in the areas of standards, conduct and competence.

  • Ministry of Health, New Zealand
    The Government's principal advisor on health and disability: improving, promoting and protecting the health of all New Zealanders.

  • Immigration New Zealand
    Immigration New Zealand is responsible for bringing the best people to New Zealand to enhance New Zealand’s social and economic outcomes.