Login

How do I work in Australia

       

Specialist International Medical Graduates (SIMGs) who want to be assessed for eligibility for specialist registration in order to practice as ophthalmologists in Australia must apply to RANZCO. As part of the Medical Board of Australia (MBA)’s Specialist Pathway, RANZCO is directed to conduct assessments for the application types detailed below. Upon completion of an assessment RANZCO will provide a recommendation as to whether or not a SIMG applicant is eligible to apply for specialist registration.

Specialist registration is granted by the Medical Board of Australia (MBA) and supported by the Australian Health Practitioners Regulation Agency (AHPRA) which has its own process, RANZCO’s recommendation being only a part of this.

Specialist Recognition Assessment

Specialist Recognition Assessment evaluates the training, qualifications and experience of SIMGs for comparability with Australian trained ophthalmologists. Australian trainees graduate as specialists equipped to undertake safe, unsupervised, comprehensive, general ophthalmology practice with experience in each of the 12 clinical areas of ophthalmology. It is recommended that SIMGs familiarise themselves with the RANZCO Vocational Training Program and its Curriculum Standards in order to make an informed decision prior to application.

SIMGs are required to be recognised as specialists in ophthalmology in their country of training in order to be eligible for Specialist Recognition Assessment.

Before a SIMG can apply for Specialist Recognition Assessment an application must first be submitted to the Australian Medical Council (AMC) for primary source verification of their medical qualifications.

Details of the Specialist Recognition Assessment Process

Specialist Recognition Assessment is conducted in stages, outlined below. At each stage a determination is made and the assessment is either concluded, or the requirements to progress to the next stage set out.

RANZCO will not support any application for registration to practice as a specialist ophthalmologist in Australia unless and until a determination of ‘Substantially Comparable’ has been reached under the Specialist Recognition Assessment Process.

DOCUMENT REVIEW

SIMGs are required to submit a completed application form together with all the required documents for application. RANZCO’s SIMG Committee reviews the documentation in order to make a determination on the level of comparability, resulting in either of two possible outcomes:

Determination of 'Not Comparable'

RANZCO informs the applicant and the MBA (via the AMC online portal) that the SIMG’s training, qualifications and experience is ‘Not Comparable’ with the training and qualifications of specialists trained in Australia. The assessment is concluded at this point.

Determination of 'Substantially Comparable'

The applicant is invited to attend an interview with members of the SIMG Committee. 

Determination of 'Partially Comparable'

Applicants determined as ‘Partially Comparable’ will be required to attend an interview with members of the SIMG Committee.


interview

Interviews are conducted in Australia by a panel of SIMG Committee members, and applicants are required to attend in person. The purpose of the interview is, in conjunction with the documentation, to further determine the applicant’s level of comparability. After completion of the interview the interim determination is either confirmed or modified (‘Not Comparable’, ‘Partially Comparable’ or ‘Substantially Comparable’) and both the applicant and the MBA are informed.

Determination of 'Not Comparable'

RANZCO informs the applicant and the MBA (via the AMC online portal) that the SIMG’s training, qualifications and experience is ‘Not Comparable’ with the training and qualifications of specialists trained in Australia. The assessment is concluded at this point.

Determination of 'Partially Comparable'


Applicants determined as ‘Partially Comparable’ will be required to undergo further assessment. The SIMG Committee will decide on one of two pathways for such applicants following the interview:

Pathway 1

  • Sit the written and clinical components* of the RANZCO Advanced Clinical Examination (RACE). The written component must be sat within the first two sittings from date of the partially comparable determination, and the clinical component must be attempted at the first sitting available following a satisfactory performance in the written component; AND/OR
  • Complete a short term supervised clinical assessment on site in a hospital; AND/OR
  • Other appropriate assessment tools as required.

Pathway 2

  • Complete a period of ‘top-up training’ (no longer than 24 months) to prepare for the RACE and other possible assessment; AND/OR
  • Sit the written and clinical components* of the RACE. The written component must be sat within the first two sittings from date of the ‘partially comparable’ determination and the clinical component must be attempted at the first sitting available following a satisfactory performance in the written component; AND/OR
  • Complete a short term supervised clinical assessment on site in a hospital; AND/OR
  • Other appropriate assessment tools as required.     

*Applicants will only proceed to the clinical component where a satisfactory standard has been reached in the written component. 

RANZCO will determine which combinations of these components in each pathway will be undertaken by the applicant. The applicant and the MBA (via the AMC online portal) will be notified of the required assessment components and the required timeframe for completion.

Once the assessment tasks have been completed there are two possible outcomes:

  • The applicant is determined ‘Not Comparable’. The assessment is concluded at this point.
  • The applicant may be invited to attend a final interview after which the interim determination on comparability is either confirmed or modified. Further assessment tasks may be required before the application can be finalised.      

Determination of 'Substantially Comparable'

Applicants determined as ‘Substantially Comparable’ will be either advised they have completed the assessment process and been determined ‘Substantially Comparable’, or required to complete up to a 12-month Period of Oversight, after which the determination on comparability is again either confirmed or changed:

  • The applicant is determined ‘Not Comparable’. The assessment is concluded at this point.
  • The applicant may be invited to attend a final interview after which the interim determination on comparability is either confirmed or changed. Further assessment tasks may be required before the application can be finalised.
  • The applicant is advised they have completed the assessment process and have been determined ‘Substantially Comparable’.     

The determination of ‘Substantially Comparable’ following interview or upon having completed assessment tasks concludes the specialist recognition assessment. RANZCO informs the applicant and the MBA (via the AMC online portal). Applicants may then be eligible to apply to the MBA for registration as a specialist ophthalmologist in Australia and may be invited to apply for Fellowship of RANZCO.

TIMEFRAME

Timeframes for completion vary due to differing requirements for individual applicants. The following should be taken as a guide to the time required for the various stages and assessment tasks:

  • Document Review – four to six weeks from submission of complete application
  • Interview – may be conducted up to three months following the outcome of the Document Review
  • RANZCO Advanced Clinical Examination (RACE) – dependent on the timing of the outcome of the interview. The written component must be sat within the first two sittings from date of determination, and the clinical component must be attempted at the first sitting available following a satisfactory performance in the written component. 
  • Any period of ‘top up training’, supervision, or oversight – as detailed at the time of determination.     

SIMGs must only apply when they are ready to be assessed. Upon receipt of an application RANZCO considers the individual should be available to undergo assessment tasks as required. Extensions to timeframe may only be granted under exceptional circumstances.

FEES

The application fee is required to be included in the submission of the application form and required documents. This fee covers application only and does not include fees for further assessment tasks which may be required.    

 Specialist recognition assessment         AUD 6650     
 Concurrent specialist recognition and area of need assessment    AUD 6650
 RACE written component    AUD 650
 RACE clinical component    AUD 1880
 Period of Oversight administration    AUD 400
 Period of Supervised Practice administration    AUD 1000
 Practice Visit Assessment    AUD 1500
 Monitored Practice assessment    AUD 400
 Incomplete application administration    AUD 650
 RACE withdrawal    AUD 100


MBA ANNUAL REPORT

The Medical Board of Australia (MBA) publishes an annual report on specialist medical colleges specialist pathway data. The report provides information on applicants’ comparability to Australian trained specialists including the number of overseas trained physicians assessed by RANZCO each year by specialty, country and level of comparability.

To find ophthalmology workforce data, please visit the Health Workforce Data section on the Australian Government Department of Health website.

APPEALS

If an applicant wishes to appeal the decision of RANZCO they must do so in accordance with the revised Reconsideration, Review and Appeals Policy.

Please read the guide to the specialist pathway, good practice guidelines for the specialist international medical graduate assessment process, and frequently asked questions on the MBA website before submitting application. Further information is available on the AMC website.

Specialist Recognition Assessment Chart


CONCURRENT SPECIALIST RECOGNITION AND AREA OF NEED ASSESSMENT

Area of Need (AoN) positions are declared by the relevant State or Territory Health Department when the provision of a particular service is considered to be inadequate for the need, an employer wishes to provide such services and is unable to recruit an Australian-recognised specialist to the position.

For Employers: Details of the AoN Declaration Process

Concurrent Specialist Recognition and AoN Assessment allows SIMGs to seek RANZCO’s recommendation for limited registration in order to commence practice in an AoN position whilst undergoing Specialist Recognition Assessment. If at any time an SIMG is found to not be satisfactorily progressing through the assessment process RANZCO’s recommendation will be removed.

The AoN Assessment itself evaluates a SIMG’s training, qualifications and experience for suitability to work in a specific AoN position. Whilst AoN Assessment is a separate process, it must be undertaken concurrently with Specialist Recognition Assessment.

Details of the AoN Assessment Process

 
 

Concurrent Specialist Recognition and Area of Need Assessment Chart

SHORT TERM TRAINING in a medical specialty pathway

Short term training positions are usually conducted in a sub-specialty area (e.g. glaucoma) to enable overseas specialists or specialists-in-training to upskill or gain further experience. These positions are often approximately 12 months long, but the timeframe may vary. The Medical Board of Australia (MBA) states that these positions are conducted on the understanding that the applicant will return to their country of training on completion. RANZCO assesses the suitability of the proposed training position for the specific applicant only. Short term training does not lead to specialist recognition in Australia.

To be eligible for the short term training in a medical specialty pathway, an International Medical Graduate (IMG) must have a primary qualification in medicine and surgery awarded by a training institution recognised by both the Australian Medical Council (AMC) and the World Directory of Medical Schools (WDOMS), and have satisfied all the training and examination requirements to practise in their field of specialty in his/her country of training or who are no more than two years away from completing his/her specialist training overseas. 

To apply for the short term in a medical specialty pathway:

  • the IMG applies for and is offered a short term training position 
  • the IMG applies to the AMC for primary source verification of their medical qualifications. This must be obtained before an application is submitted to RANZCO.
  • the authorised representative of the Australian institution applies to RANZCO for approval of the proposed short term training position by submitting the completed Short-Term Training Assessment Application Form, required documents and MBA Application for Assessment by a Specialist Medical College (AAMC-30) 
  • the RANZCO assesses the suitability of the training position for the specific applicant 
  • the IMG applies to the MBA for appropriate medical registration to undertake the short term training position

Please read the current RANZCO Short-Term Training Policy (PDF 232KB)MBA Limited Registration Standard and MBA Short-Term Training in a Medical Specialty Guidelines before submitting an application. 

Those interested in completing a short term training position in Australia must contact training institutions directly to enquire about any such positions that may be available. The following are amongst the major eye hospitals in Australia:

New South Wales: Sydney Eye Hospital

Victoria: Royal Victorian Eye and Ear Hospital

South Australia: Royal Adelaide Hospital

Western Australia: Royal Perth Hospital

Queensland: Royal Brisbane Hospital

PROCESSES OUTSIDE OF THE MBA’S SPECIALIST PATHWAY

RANZCO may conduct the assessment, or training, of SIMGs in the processes outlined below. The successful completion of each leads to eligibility to apply for Fellowship of RANZCO (FRANZCO) and with it the recommendation to the MBA for specialist registration in Australia.

OPHTHALMOLOGIST OF EMINENCE

An international ophthalmologist may be considered for admission as a Fellow according to Clause 6 of the RANZCO Constitution and Paragraph 3.2(b)(ii) of the RANZCO By-Law: Membership, Council and Governance. Nominations will be considered individually and the nominee may not be required to meet all aspects of the criteria set out in the Ophthalmologist of Eminence Policy.

AUSTRALIAN AND NEW ZEALAND MEDICAL GRADUATES WITH OVERSEAS SPECIALIST QUALIFICATIONS

Although not eligible to enter the MBA’s Specialist Pathway, SIMGs who have obtained a primary medical degree within Australia or New Zealand are assessed by RANZCO under the same process as Specialist Recognition applicants. For further information see:

RANZCO Fellowship Eligibility: Australian and New Zealand Medical Graduates with Overseas Specialist Qualifications (PDF 199.2KB)

Specialist Recognition Assessment

OPHTHALMOLOGISTS ASSESSED BY THE MEDICAL COUNCIL OF NEW ZEALAND

SIMGs who have been granted Vocational Registration within the scope of Ophthalmology by the Medical Council of New Zealand (MCNZ) may apply for FRANZCO. Applicants are assessed by RANZCO under the same process as Specialist Recognition applicants. For further information see:

RANZCO Fellowship Eligibility: Ophthalmologists Assessed by the Medical Council of New Zealand (PDF 194.9KB)

Specialist Recognition Assessment

VOCATIONAL TRAINING PROGRAM

RANZCO’s Vocational Training Program (VTP) trains doctors to become specialist ophthalmologists in Australia and New Zealand. International Medical Graduates (IMGs) may apply to enter, however all applicants to the VTP must first meet the eligibility criteria and undergo the process of Selection. The VTP must be completed from start to finish. Despite any applicant’s previous training, qualifications or experience there is no option for exclusion from any part of the VTP.

Please email img@ranzco.edu if you have further questions regarding specialist assessment.