IMG Secrets

Misconceptions About Indian IMGs Practice in US, Canada, Australia – The Real Story Revealed

This breaking news has emerged due to a significant development: the National Medical Council in India has achieved accreditation from the esteemed World Federation of Medical Education (WFME). But what does this mean for aspiring International Medical Graduates (IMGs)? Let’s dive into the implications.

Exciting news has taken the Indian medical community by storm, as recent reports indicate that Indian medical graduates may now have the opportunity to practice medicine in the USA, Canada, and Australia. This revelation has sparked a flurry of inquiries from numerous Indian graduates who have reached out to us at IMG Secrets, flooding our WhatsApp and email with questions and hopes. Many have assumed that completing their MBBS or postgraduate studies in India automatically qualifies them for medical practice in these coveted international destinations. However, the true implications of this development have left many in a state of bewilderment.

What does this news mean?

In order to shed light on this situation and provide clarity to the anxious Indian medical graduates, I took it upon myself to reach out to the WFME and the Educational Commission for Foreign Medical Graduates (ECFMG) to gather more information. These organizations are pivotal in determining the recognized accreditation policies that govern the practice of medicine abroad.

First and foremost, it is essential to emphasize that any policy in question, once it is implemented, serves purely as an informational guideline. It does not automatically grant universal rights to practice medicine in these foreign countries. So, what exactly does this development signify?

The road to medical practice in the USA, Canada, and Australia involves a complex web of requirements and evaluations, extending far beyond the confines of Indian medical education. While this news is undoubtedly promising, it should be viewed as just one piece of the puzzle. The process will undoubtedly demand additional steps, examinations, and assessments to ensure that Indian medical graduates meet the stringent standards of these countries.

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Therefore, while this news is a reason for optimism, it should also be a call to action for Indian medical graduates to embark on a thorough and well-informed journey towards realizing their dream of practicing medicine in these nations. Stay tuned as we continue to unravel the intricacies of this development and provide you with the guidance you need to navigate this exciting but complex path.

What did WFME tell me?

I decided to reach out to the WFME based in France, hoping to gain some insights into the implications of the recent developments. To my surprise, the phone was answered promptly. However, my hopes for a fruitful conversation were soon dashed.

When I inquired about the implications of the new policy, the person who answered the phone seemed to lack information about WFME. It was explained to me that while WFME indeed had a representative in that particular office in France, it was not the primary headquarters of WFME. To my disappointment, I was informed that WFME was in the process of considering a shift, potentially relocating to either Switzerland or Romania.

In summary, my attempt to gather information from WFME did not yield substantial results, leaving me with more questions than answers regarding the implications of the recent developments

What did ECFMG tell me?

I decided to give ECFMG a call, and to my relief, I was able to easily connect with them over the phone. I even had a backup plan in mind – if the phone call didn’t work out, I was willing to make the trip to ECFMG’s physical office in Philadelphia. Fortunately, my call was successful, and I had a pleasant conversation with the person on the other end, from whom I gained some valuable insights. Here’s what I learned:

The eagerly anticipated process of WFME recognition is set to take effect on January 1, 2024. However, it’s important to clarify that ECFMG won’t simply flick a switch on January 1, 2024, and suddenly bar non-accredited individuals from entering the USA. The situation is far more nuanced.

What ECFMG is planning to do is to introduce this new recognition process on January 1, 2024. If you hail from a country that’s already accredited by WFME, you can proceed with this new process. On the other hand, if you’re from a country that has not yet received WFME accreditation, you will continue to use the older process. In essence, ECFMG is taking a measured approach to ensure a smooth transition for medical graduates from various backgrounds.

Did anything really change for Indian IMGs?

Previously, for IMGs looking to pursue medical careers in Canada or the USA, the process was a one-step thing. It involved their Medical Colleges in India seeking recognition and sponsorship from the respective Medical Councils in these North American nations—specifically, the Medical Council of Canada and the ECFMG in the USA.

However, with this transformative change, the spotlight now shifts to the National Medical Council of India, which has earned recognition from the globally respected WFME. Essentially, the process now involves a more streamlined approach. Instead of individual Medical Colleges reaching out directly to the ECFMG, they will gain recognition through the National Medical Council of India, which, in turn, holds accreditation from WFME.

What’s even more promising is that this marks the beginning of electronic collaboration between WFME and ECFMG, facilitating efficient data exchange for all IMGs aspiring to practice medicine in the USA and Canada. This development, while simplifying the process, is incredibly significant for IMGs.

Would the absence of this change have affected Indian IMGs? Perhaps not significantly, as a substantial number of IMGs in the USA and Canada hail from India. ECFMG acknowledges this and strives to make the journey smoother, not more challenging.

In light of these advancements, congratulations are certainly in order to the National Medical Council of India for attaining WFME accreditation—a milestone that promises to make the dreams of countless IMGs a reality.

Can IMGs move to USA, Canada & Australia without any exams?

Absolutely not. While the doors are open for them to pursue their careers in these countries, it’s crucial to clarify that this doesn’t mean the requirements for practice have vanished. Let’s break it down:

For those aspiring to practice medicine in the USA, the USMLE (United States Medical Licensing Examination) is still an essential step. USMLE remains a mandatory pathway for IMGs to engage in clinical work within the United States. So, yes, you still need the USMLE.

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For those eyeing a medical career in Canada, the MCCQE (Medical Council of Canada Qualifying Examination) is your path to licensure. If you’re aiming for a residency position in Canada, these requirements remain steadfast.

In the case of Australia, the AMC exams (Australian Medical Council Examinations) are a prerequisite. These exams are your ticket to practice medicine Down Under. So, the need for AMC exams remains unchanged.

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In essence, while the doors are open for Indian IMGs to work in these countries, the essential licensing examinations and qualifications remain intact. These tests and assessments are crucial steps on your journey to practicing medicine in these diverse and welcoming nations.

Costs of WFME Accreditation

Another intriguing aspect that came to my attention is the cost associated with this accreditation process, which is rumored to be a staggering sixty thousand dollars. Naturally, I felt compelled to seek clarification from ECFMG on this matter. My primary question was straightforward: Is this cost estimate accurate?

However, the person I spoke with at ECFMG refrained from commenting on the cost, explaining that she didn’t possess the specific knowledge to address this aspect. It’s entirely reasonable for her not to have detailed information on such financial matters.

The news source as you can see above also provided an estimate, suggesting that the total expenditure for the 706 medical colleges in India seeking WFME recognition would amount to approximately 351.9 crores, equivalent to $42,360,000. While this figure may seem staggering, it’s important to note that the allocation of this sixty thousand dollars per case may involve various considerations.

One possibility is that part of this cost reflects the expenses incurred by individuals from WFME and the USA traveling to India. Their role may involve ensuring that the National Medical Council (NMC) in India is appropriately accredited and handling all necessary administrative tasks. It’s important to understand that it wouldn’t be feasible for these individuals to visit all 706 medical colleges individually.

So, while the cost may appear substantial, it likely encompasses a range of logistical and administrative expenses associated with the accreditation process, rather than being an exorbitant fee for each medical college.

Dr. Rajeev Iyer, MBBS, MD, FASA Associate Professor of Anesthesiology University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, USA

The opinions expressed in this article are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views or opinions of the University of Pennsylvania or any other affiliated organization.

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