International medical graduate

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An International Medical Graduate or "IMG", earlier known as a Foreign Medical Graduate or "FMG", is a term used to describe a physician who has graduated from a medical school outside of the country in which he or she intends to practise. Generally, the medical school of graduation is one listed in the International Medical Education Directory (or IMED) as accredited by the Foundation for Advancement of International Medical Education and Research or the World Health Organization.

Medical schools around the world vary in educational standards, curriculum, and evaluation methods. The purpose of ECFMG Certification is to assess the readiness of international medical graduates to enter specialty training and fellowship programs.

Licence requirements by country

The requirements to obtain a licence to practise varies by country (and often by state or province).


IMGs who wish to be licensed in Australia must obtain certification from the Australian Medical Council (AMC). To do so, an IMG must obtain an ECFMG certificate and sit a series of exams.

Those IMGs who have successfully passed the necessary exams and obtained AMC certification can then apply to an Australian specialty training positions.[1]


In addition to undergoing the regular licencing process as required of all Canadian medical school graduates, IMG's must also achieve a pass mark on the LMCC Evaluating Examination. IMGs in Canada also have harder to get into residency programs compared to Canada graduates - only ten percent of IMG applicants get a position. [1]

United States


Many IMGs who wish to be licensed as a physician in the United States begin by completing a U.S. residency hospital program. To do so, an IMG must obtain an ECFMG certificate.

Those IMGs who have successfully passed the necessary USMLE exams and obtained the ECFMG certification can then apply to U.S. residency positions via the NRMP and ERAS.


The Educational Commission for Foreign Medical Graduates


  1. - Why Is Canada Shutting Out Doctors?: "In 2003, 625 international graduates competed. Only 67—about ten percent—found a position"

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