METC Institute Blog

IMG: Important elements of the Competent Authority Pathway that every IMG should understand

Posted by Kristie on Apr 24, 2019 3:08:13 PM


With so many different pathways to registration in Australia available, it can sometimes be confusing for International Medical Graduates (IMGs) as to which pathway is the best option for them as an individual.

This article covers everything you need to know about the Competent Authority Pathway, from eligibility and application, to training and registration.

Who is the Competent Authority Pathway suitable for?

This particular pathway is suitable for IMGs seeking general registration with the Medical Board of Australia, who are non-specialist or specialists and meet the criteria in one of the competent authority categories.

Approved Competent Authorities

General Medical Council (United Kingdom - for the PLAB examination or for graduates of GMC-accredited medical courses in the United Kingdom)

  • Medical Council of Canada (LMCC)
  • Educational Commission for Foreign Medical Graduates of the United States (USMLE)
  • Medical Council of New Zealand (NZREX)
  • Medical Council of Ireland (graduates of medical courses in Ireland accredited by the Medical Council of Ireland)
Who is eligible to apply for the Competent Authority Pathway?

IMGs who meet the criteria in one of the competent authority categories may be eligible for provisional registration via the Competent Authority pathway. They must also hold a primary qualification in medicine and surgery awarded by a training institution recognised by both the Australian Medical Council and the World Directory of Medical Schools (WDOMS).

In addition, IMGs must also have secured an offer of employment before submitting their application for registration to the Medical Board of Australia. The requirements for each competent authority category can be viewed on the Medical Board of Australia’s website by clicking HERE.

Once an IMG on the Competent Authority Pathway has completed 12 months of supervised practice (minimum of 47 weeks of full-time service), they are eligible to apply for general registration with the Medical Board of Australia.

It’s also important to note that IMGs who qualify for provisional/general registration via the Competent Authority pathway are not eligible to apply for limited registration.

In addition, those who have Australian clinical experience can use this experience to substitute for post-examination or post training experience, for the purposes of meeting the criteria for eligibility for the Competent Authority pathway. This period of practice in Australia may also be accepted as meeting the requirements for the 12 month period of supervised practice which is required to gain general registration.

How do IMGs apply for the Competent Authority Pathway?

To apply for the Competent Authority Pathway, IMGs must apply directly to the Medical Board of Australia. IMGs must provide evidence of meeting the criteria of one of the competent authority categories, together with their application and compliance with the Board’s registration standards.

IMGs registered via the Competent Authority pathway will undertake a period of practice in either supervised hospital-based positions or supervised positions in general practice in Australia. Once this practice period is over, the IMG can apply for general registration.

It’s important to note that IMGs on this pathway may;

  • work in a position that has been determined as an area of need by the relevant state or territory health authority if granted provisional registration
  • also apply to the relevant specialist medical college for specialist recognition assessment if they wish to gain specialist registration in Australia, if they have specialist qualifications
  • also be required to undertake a pre-employment structured clinical interview (PESCI), prior to having their application for provisional registration considered by the Board.

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From this page, you can also view information about the Competent Authority Pathway and Specialist Pathway, if you want to do a quick check to ensure you are not eligible for one of these alternative options.

Gaining General Registration

When applying for general registration, Competent Authority pathway registrants must provide evidence of successful completion of 12 months supervised practice in Australia, in the form of specific work performance reports approved by the Medical Board of Australia. These must be completed by the IMGs supervisors, and accompanied by a letter of recommendation for general registration from the Director of Training, Director of Medical Services or other person authorised to sign off on the satisfactory completion of supervised practice.

IMGs on the Competent Authority pathway who are approaching the completion of their 12 months of supervised practice can apply for general registration at an earlier time.

What training programs are available to assist IMGs?

It can be very difficult for IMG's to independently seek employment, therefore the METC Institute recommend those IMGs who are planning to pursue the Competent Authority Pathway, to consider the IMG Registrar Training Program which includes a 12 month paid supervised placement in Australia. Details for this program can be found via the link below:

The METC Institute also offers PESCI preparation courses and a range of programs for those considering other pathways, like the Specialist Pathway.


Topics: IMG, AMC