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Year : 2011  |  Volume : 24  |  Issue : 1  |  Page : 452

Canadian and Australian Licensing Policies for International Medical Graduates: A Web-based Comparison

1 International Program of Psycho-Social Health Research, CQU, Milton, Queensland, Australia
2 Department of Anaesthesia, McMaster University, Hamilton, Ontario, Canada

Correspondence Address:
P McGrath
PO Box 1307, Kenmore 4069, Queensland
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

PMID: 21710414

Context: The increasing global mobility of physicians and severe physician shortages of many countries has led to an increasing reliance on International Medical Graduates (IMGs) by countries including Australia and Canada. Objectives:A web-based comparison of licensing policies for IMGs in Australia and Canada to inform and improve policies in each country. Methods: The research involved identification of relevant government and medical regulatory bodies' official websites documenting information on the licensing process for IMGs from each respective country; in-depth examination and comparison of the licensing processes outlined on these sites; and compilation of a comprehensive list of similarities and differences. Findings: While difficult entry requirements are imposed in Canada, once full registration is achieved IMGs have the same membership rights as Canadian medical graduates and their separate status (nominally) ends. In Australia, IMGs are allowed relatively easy access to temporary or conditional licenses, especially in designated underserviced areas or areas of need in order to fulfil resource demands. However IMGs are predominantly restricted to practise in limited and less prestigious positions within the medical hierarchy. Discussion: The Canadian process for recertifying IMGs can be characterized as being based on the integration/assimilation of IMGs with domestically trained doctors. In contrast, Australia has pursued a different strategy of parallelism of its IMGs. Conclusions: The findings provide insights into how each country balances national licensing requirements with physician shortages in a globalized environment in order to provide healthcare for its citizens.

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