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Frequently asked questions (FAQs)

FAQ’s are updated frequently

The following FAQs refer to the Practice Experience Program Specialist Stream and are updated regularly.

This stream is designed for specialist international medical graduates (SIMGs) who want to qualify for specialist registration in Australia. It’s a 3GA workforce and training program that allows doctors to access Medicare benefits while working towards Fellowship.

All SIMGs must complete a comparability assessment to see whether they are eligible to apply for the program.

The RACGP is removing the up-front award of FAEG. This will help with a full and responsive assessment of overseas-trained health practitioners, and ensure a uniform approach to the process. The change comes in direct response to the Medical Board of Australia’s (MBA’s) good practice guidelines.

Specialist international medical graduates (SIMGs) will no longer be granted immediate recognition as a specialist in Australia. They now have to work in Australia to show that they’re at the same standard as a locally-trained specialist at the point of Fellowship.

Eligible SIMGs will now apply for limited registration with the Medical Board of Australia (MBA) while working towards Fellowship, and must undertake a period of up to 24 months’ full-time equivalent (FTE) practice under peer review decided by the comparability outcome.

Under the new program, SIMGs will be issued a provider number through the RACGP to enable access to the full Medicare rebate. SIMGs will be awarded Fellowship of the RACGP (FRACGP) upon completion of all Fellowship requirements.

  • Completion of the RACGP core modules and units, including a self-reflective activity
  • Successful completion of a workplace-based peer review
  • Supervisor reports at required intervals

Specialist registration will be granted when all Fellowship requirements have been met. Doctors on the Practice Experience Program (PEP) Specialist Stream must apply for provisional or limited registration with the Medical Board of Australia.

For more information, visit the Medical Board of Australia.

This is decided by your comparability outcome.

You must be categorised as partially or substantially comparable to be eligible for the Practice Experience Program (PEP) Specialist Stream, and your time working towards Fellowship requirements starts from the day you commence employment in Australia.

If your comparability outcome is:

  • substantially comparable – you’ll be required to achieve Fellowship of the RACGP (FRACGP) within 12 calendar months if working full-time
  • partially comparable – you’ll be required to achieve FRACGP within 24 calendar months if working full-time. This includes successful completion of the RACGP Fellowship examinations.

Working part-time means it will take longer to complete your Fellowship requirements.

Eligible specialist international medical graduates (SIMGs) will need to have their job offer approved by the RACGP and be granted registration by the Medical Board of Australia (MBA) before they can apply for a provider number through the RACGP.

These applications can take up to 12 weeks to process and are only granted for the approved practice. If an applicant changes practices, they will need to reapply and have their new practice approved.

The Practice Experience Program (PEP) Specialist Stream is an Australian Government-approved 3GA program designed to provide medical services to communities most in need. Since 1 July 2019, the Australian Government has required international medical graduates with an overseas specialist qualification to work in a Distribution Priority Area (DPA) to access Medicate rebates under section 19AB of the Health Insurance Act 1973.

Provider numbers will only be issued to SIMGs whose job offer:

  • meets the RACGP definition of comprehensive general practice
  • is located in a Modified Monash Model (MMM) 2–7 location (you can check the MMM classification of a location on the DoctorConnect website).

If your job offer is not approved, you may submit another job offer that meets the requirements.

The 19AB class exemptions are managed by the Department of Health (DoH), not the RACGP. The RACGP can issue a provider number on its 3GA program, but SIMGs seeking an alternative exemption to section 19AB will need to apply directly to the DoH.

For more information email 19AB@health.gov.au

Yes. The Health Workforce Certificate does not demonstrate that a job meets the RACGP definition of comprehensive general practice.

The RACGP strongly recommends PEP Specialist participants do not change practices during the six months program time. Changing practices requires approval from AHPRA and RACGP to reassess the job suitability and supervisor confirmation.

This process is in addition to issuing of the new provider number which can take anywhere between 8-12 weeks' time to process. During the time it takes to process your change of job request and issue a provider number, we can’t pause your program time which means you might find it difficult to fulfill your program requirements in time. You’ll need to complete your requirements within the six month term irrespective of your provider number situation.

The workplace-based assessment (WBA) must be completed between three and six months of commencing employment. It provides a framework for evaluating a doctor’s performance and progress in the areas of practice best assessed in the context of the workplace.

The aim is to support professional development and transition to Australian general practice. It also enables participants to receive feedback on their progress towards Fellowship.

The WBA consists of the following components:

  • Online core learning units and reflective activity
  • Colleague and patient feedback using a Colleague Feedback Evaluation Tool (CFET) and Doctors’ Interpersonal Skills Questionnaire (DISQ), together known as multisource feedback (MSF)
  • A clinical assessment visit that will involve a medical educator observing you in practice during four consultations (direct observation) and a clinical case analysis. The clinical case analysis involves the assessor selecting patients seen by you in the preceding week with oral questioning about aspects of the case. You will be provided with feedback on your performance
  • Supervisor reports are a requirement by the Medical Board of Australia and must be submitted to the RACGP at three, 12 and 24 months.

All components of the workplace-based assessment (WBA) must be successfully completed between three and six months of commencing work in Australia.

Substantially comparable specialist international medical graduates (SIMGs) who do not satisfactorily complete all areas of the workplace-based assessment (WBA) will be required to complete further assessment to demonstrate their eligibility for Fellowship of the RACGP (FRACGP).

Doctors will receive constructive feedback about performance from a medical educator and will be notified about which WBA component/s require a second review. If the WBA is not satisfactorily completed on the second attempt or within the specified timeframe, the doctor will no longer be recognised as substantially comparable – they will be recognised as partially comparable and required to complete the RACGP Fellowship examinations.

Partially comparable doctors must complete the WBA within the specified timeframe.

WBA feedback is designed to provide guidance to support the doctor through successful completion of the RACGP Fellowship examinations.

Prior to sitting exams, partially comparable doctors must:

  • complete six months of full-time equivalent (FTE) work in a comprehensive Australian general practice in their RACGP-approved job
  • satisfactorily complete the workplace-based assessment (WBA).


Applications for the PEP Specialist Stream opened on 1 September 2019.

The RACGP stopped accepting comparability assessment applications for the SRP from 31 August 2019. Specialist international medical graduates (SIMGs) who want to apply for specialist recognition after this date must now apply through the PEP Specialist Stream.

Yes. If you’re not an RACGP member, you’ll need to fill in the membership application form for overseas-registered medical practitioners and become a financial member of the RACGP. The form can be found on the PEP Specialist Stream resources page.

Your curriculum must be assessed before you can apply for a comparability assessment. To request a curriculum comparison, please refer to the instructions on the PEP Specialist Stream Eligibility page.

A curriculum explains the content of what is being taught whereas, a handbook explains how the curriculum is delivered.

All Practice Experience Program (PEP) Specialist Stream policies and guidance documents are available on the RACGP website.

You can email pepadmin@racgp.org.au if these FAQs have not answered your question/s.