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Frequently asked questions (FAQs)

Frequently asked questions (FAQs)

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.

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

There are several criteria used to assess an applicant’s eligibility to enter the PEP Specialist Stream.

Applicants looking to apply for entry into the Practice Experience Program (PEP) Specialist Stream must first undertake a comparability assessment to determine eligibility. In addition, applicants must meet the following criteria before applying:

  1. Hold a specialist general practice qualification with a recognised curriculum (see Curricula classifications) and provide evidence of the training route completed and assessments undertaken.
  2. Assessment type - completed a summative assessment comprising both theoretical and practical components equivalent to those utilised within the RACGP examinations.
  3. Recency of practice - your experience within both the last 12 months and last four years must meet the requirements of the Practice Experience Program – Specialist Stream Assessment of Recency Policy
  4. Continuing Professional Development (CPD) - completion of 50 hours of CPD in the last 12 months and complete 10 case analyses on the RACGP template.
  5. Continuity of practice - explain any gaps in clinical practice of longer than three months.
  6. Have at least 18 months FTE general practice experience.

We recommend reading the Practice Experience Program – Specialist Stream Comparability Assessment Policy, the RACGP’s online guide to completing the PEP Specialist Stream comparability assessment and review the list of comparability assessment criteria before applying.

To apply for a comparability assessment, please see ‘Apply for the PEP Specialist Stream’.

If your specialist qualification is not listed, your training curriculum has not been assessed by the RACGP. Your curriculum must be assessed before you can apply for a comparability assessment. To have your curriculum assessed, please complete the interactive application form available here, print, sign and return to the RACGP scanned by email to educationsupport@racgp.org.au.

We require the following documentation:

  1. An official copy of your training organisation/Medical Board training curriculum
  2. An official letter from your Training Organisation confirming:
    1. this is their curriculum;
    2. curriculum year;
    3. the specialist general practice qualification it leads to; and
    4. the year you obtained this qualification.

To support your curriculum comparison application, please also provide an official document from the college, training organisation or Medical Board that outlines their good medical practice guidelines and ethics.

Curricula assessed as substantially or partially comparable is not indicative of what your comparability assessment outcome will be. The curriculum comparison process compares your training curriculum against the RACGP curriculum. Holding a specialist practice qualification with a recognised curriculum assessed as substantially or partially comparable is only one of several criteria used to assess an applicant’s eligibility to enter the PEP Specialist Stream. To apply for a comparability assessment, please see ‘Apply for the PEP Specialist Stream’.

The likely pathway to Fellowship would be the General Practice Experience Pathway. As part of this, is it necessary to complete an educational program. The FSP is the new education and training program to support doctors on the General Practice Experience Pathway. For further information about the FSP, including application dates, please refer to the following link on our website Fellowship Support Program for IMGs. You would need to have Australian medical registration at the time of application and the appropriate visa.

Joining the program would give you access to a Medicare Provider Number (under the Department of Health rules), and you would be supported in your transition to work in general practice in Australia. Upon completion of the program, you would need to sit and pass the RACGP exams before becoming eligible to apply for Fellowship.

There is an overview of the various RACGP pathways and their associated policies here.

If you wish to practice in Australia as a general practitioner, you will need to work towards Fellowship of the RACGP (FRACGP).  The PEP Specialist Stream is the program for Specialist international medical graduates (SIMGs) who are transitioning to practice in Australia, and it will support your progression to FRACGP.

To apply for a comparability assessment, please refer to ‘Apply for the PEP Specialist Stream’. The ICFRACGP is considered a recognised qualification to apply for a comparability assessment. You will need to have a comparability assessment outcome of Substantially Comparable or Partially Comparable to enter the PEP Specialist Stream.

Please note that EPIC verification of your specialist qualification is not required for holders of ICFRACGP.

For information about the PEP Specialist Stream, please refer to the PEP Specialist Stream Participant guide or email educationsupport@racgp.org.au. 

An application is only deemed complete when no further feedback requesting information or documentation. Applicants will be advised of the outcome of their application within ten weeks of submission of a complete application.

Unmet requests for further information may delay assessment time beyond this period.

Please contact educationsupport@racgp.org.au. The Education Support team will first need to check the status of your application before unlocking it.

Applicants have six months from making payment to complete their online application. If you cannot complete your application within six months, please send an email to educationsupport@racgp.org.au to request an extension.

This extension does not extend to changing the expiry date of your most recent outcome letter.

All comparability assessment outcomes are valid for 12 calendar months from the date of the outcome. You need to complete all parts of the application and start the program within this timeframe. You must submit a new application if your comparability assessment outcome expires before beginning the program.

Previously the RACGP had extended PEP Specialist Stream Comparability Outcomes in response to the global uncertainty caused by COVID-19. All PEP Specialist Stream comparability outcomes dated between 1 November 2019 - 31 March 2021 have been extended to be valid until 1 November 2022 or 1 year from their issue date, whichever is the latter. No further extensions will be offered.

The RACGP must check that you still meet recency, continuing professional development and registration requirements; therefore, you will be required to undertake a new comparability assessment.

Your training undertaken in general practice can contribute to your assessment of recency and general practice experience. Make sure you have supporting documentation from the practices themselves rather than solely from a training body. For letter of support requirements, please refer to the guide to completing the PEP Specialist Stream Comparability Assessment.

While concessions have been made in some jurisdictions to allow fewer CPD hours, the requirement for PEP Specialist Stream Comparability Assessments remains 50 hours in the 12 calendar months preceding Comparability Assessment as per the Practice Experience Program – Specialist Stream Comparability Assessment Policy.

Applicants are required to demonstrate 50 hours of CPD in the 12 months before applying for your Comparability Assessment (the date of signing the statutory declaration). You need to provide evidence that details the nature of each CPD activity, the date of each CPD activity and the number of hours completed for each activity. Where certificates are not available, or do not give hours for an activity, there should be a statement from the relevant international College, training provider or similar. Please refer to the RACGP’s guide to completing the PEP Specialist Stream comparability assessment.

You need to apply for primary source verification of your primary and specialist general practice qualifications from the Educational Commission for Foreign Medical Graduates (ECFMG) through EPIC. Step-by-step instructions are available on the AMC website.

The Department of Health (DoH) Non-vocationally Registered Fellowship Support Program (Non-VR FSP) grant provides support for doctors to gain their Fellowship. The RACGP developed the Practice Experience Program (PEP) - Specialist Stream (SP) as a self-directed education program to support doctors on their journey to Fellowship of the RACGP.  The non-VR FSP funding from the DoH ends in mid-2023.

There is a limited number of partially funded positions for PEP (Standard and Specialist Streams). To ensure that we can make as many of these positions available as possible, we are aligning final start dates of 1 July 2022 for both PEP streams. 

The fee change is a result of the non-VR FSP grant funding ending.

No. The fee change is a result of the non-VR FSP grant funding ending. 

The Department of Health subsidy for the Practice Experience Program (PEP) is ending for new entrants to both PEP-Standard and PEP-Specialist Streams. Applicants who've already entered each program will still be able to access the subsidy until 30 June 2023, but there will be no new positions offered beyond 1 July 2022.

PEP Specialist is your route to access the Medical Board of Australia’s Specialist Pathway through the RACGP. If you choose to take a different route to registration, you may be required to undertake more examination and testing, including the AMC’s clinical examination and a Pre-Employment Structured Clinical Interview. However, you can choose this pathway if you wish to, and may be eligible to work as a GP for a limited amount of time under the More Doctors for Rural Australia Program or in an Area of Need.

You will need to complete an RACGP-approved program, such as PEP-Specialist, to obtain Fellowship of the RACGP.

The first term will cost $8000, with most participants finishing the program after just one term. Subsequent terms will have lower fees.

Participants experiencing financial hardship are encouraged to contact pepadmin@racgp.org.au to arrange making split-payments, however, full payment is required before commencing the program.

No, RACGP membership fees are additional to PEP Specialist program fees.

The end-date of funding has been set by the RACGP’s contract with the Commonwealth government. There is no avenue to appeal this end date.

Yes, there is currently no planned change to the fee for comparability assessment. 

You can still access funding if: 

  • You have completed parts A and B of your application 
  • You submit a completed Part C application by 29 April 2022, and 
  • You can start work in Australian general practice by 1 July 2022. 

We will prioritise assessments which are submitted by 29 April 2022. This will give applicants the best possible chance to complete the non-RACGP steps of the process in time to obtain funding.

The end-date of funding has been set by the RACGP’s contract with the Commonwealth government. While we understand the difficulties associated with international travel and migration during the COVID-19 pandemic, no exceptions to this end date are available.

If you have already paid your program invoice and started work, there is no additional program fee.

The RACGP is developing a program to follow the PEP Specialist Stream and the expectation is that it will be self-funded.

There will be no limit to self-funded places in the Specialist 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.


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.

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.

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.

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

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

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

  • 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

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).


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.