ECFMG Concerns for Pakistani Medical Graduates

A recent news article titled, ”The fate of Pakistani medical graduates working in US hangs in balance” has created a lot of misconceptions and chaos amongst the Pakistan medical community. Emerging Visions, official representative for Kaplan Medical in Pakistan, would like to clear some doubts to ensure medical students and physicians who are interested to work in the United States are making smart decisions and planning their timeline and calendars accordingly.

The concern

We all know that changes happen in any sphere of life. ECFMG had announced that starting in 2024, students who apply for ECFMG certification must have attended a school that is accredited by an agency, officially recognized by the World Federation for Medical Education (WFME). Pakistan, like many countries due to the pandemic, saw delays with that process but to paint the message that Pakistani doctors will not have a chance to match into residency in the USA, is misguided. Currently, one forth of the physicians working in the United States are International Medical Graduates (IMG’s).

Interestingly, Pakistan is the third leading country sending physicians to the US on a J1 visa behind only Canada and India (*Over 1,243 in 2020). The U.S needs IMGs and that number is expected to continue to grow. As always, obtaining a medical residency for any international medical graduate is competitive and recent changes to both USMLE and ECFMG have created increased obstacles that applicants must be aware of.

At present, this is the list of countries who have or are in the process of establishing an authorized accrediting agency: WFME Accredited Countries. As you can observe, there are many countries globally who have not yet initiated the accreditation process. The Pakistan Medical Commission has already been established as an authorized agency. This is a great first step but there is still a lot of work that needs to be done to ensure each school meets these new accreditation requirements.

What needs to be done before 2024?

Most importantly, as per ECFMG, if a student or graduate from a currently acceptable school applies for ECFMG Certification before 2024, they will be able to take the USMLE exams and obtain ECFMG Certification under our current rules, even if that process extends into 2024 or later.

Applying through ECFMG is the first step in the process, before applying for and taking your USMLE exams.

To confirm that your medical school meets the current ECFMG’s requirements, visit the World Directory of Medical Schools at Medical schools that meet ECFMG’s requirements will have a note stating this in their directory listing under “Sponsor Notes.”

Once you are enrolled in a school that meets the current requirements, you can apply for ECFMG Certification anytime before 2024. This means submitting the online application for certification and the certification of identity form (Form 186).

You are eligible to start taking your USMLE exams after you have completed the second year of medical school. As long as you apply before 2024, you can take your exams and finalize your certification process as you are ready, even if that is after 2024.

Please refer to the page for more on the ECFMG Certification process:

See here for more on the 2024 Accreditation Requirements:

Final Message:

Stay positive and informed medicos. Follow us for the latest updates on US medical residency so that you know the full facts and are making smart and informed decisions that help increase your chances in the Match! Best of luck with the next steps in your medical career. For more information or support with your journey, please feel free to contact us.

Data – *

study in Australia

Student Visa update – Australia

Like all other Nations, Australia has announced some changes in their visa arrangements for international students to ensure Australia remains the prime destination for them. According to a statement issued by the Morrison government “International students are extremely important to Australia and our economy, contributing $40 billion annually and supporting 250,000 jobs. Many also go on to become great Australian citizens”.

Following are the five changes to ensure Australia remains competitive with other countries for International students:

  • As soon as the borders open and people are allowed to travel, Australian government will recommence issuing of student visas outside Australia.
  • If any International student could not complete studies within the visa validity time period due to COVID-19, they will be able to launch further application free of charge.
  • The study time will count towards the post-study work permit for the current student visa holders studying outside Australia due to COVID-19.
  • All the graduates from Australian institute who were unable to return to Australia due to the pandemic, will be eligible to apply for Post-study work visa from outside.
  • Due to COVID-19 effects on IELTS tests, the students will be given additional time to meet their English language requirements.

Canada Student Visa Update

Canadian Government has finally announced additional measures to support International students starting their program online with Canadian learning Institute. If the institutes are offering their courses online, they will have to ensure everyone’s safety.

The decided new measures are:

  • Priority study-permit processing to the applicants who have submitted a complete online application
  • Time spent during their online study overseas will count for post-graduate Work permit (PGWP) provided; they have completed 50% of their program in Canada and submitted a study permit application.
  • To perform a two-stage approval process, for the international students who can not submit all the documents required to process their application and chose to pursue distance-learning program

Applicants will submit remaining documents and receive their study permit as soon as the Canadian embassy resumes its operations and candidates are allowed to travel to Canada. This process will be available for students who submit their application before 15th September 2020. The process will also ensure that students can join and begin their classes online.

List of Documents for students to provide to Apply for Study-permit

For Student Direct Stream (SDS): 

  • Letter of Acceptance (LoA) from a Canadian Designated Learning Institute (DLI)
  • Guarantee Investment Certificate (GIC) of CAD 10,000 or above
  • Receipt of initial Payment of tuition fee to DLI
  • IELTS with min score of 6.0 in each module
  • Transcripts / Degrees of most recent qualification(s)

For Non-SDS Applicants:

  • Letter of Acceptance (LoA) from a Canadian Designated Learning Institute (DLI)
  • Financial documents to prove that applicant (or their sponsor) have liquid funds for tuition & living in Canada for upto a year
  • Evidence of the remaining payment to the institution
  • English Language qualification / certificate or equivalent to IELTS 6.0 (IELTS, TOEFL, PTE etc.)
  • Transcripts / Degrees of most recent qualification(s)