English exam for IMGs may be too tough

TOUGH English language examinations are proving a stumbling block for many international medical graduates (IMGs), barring many competent doctors from practising in Australia, a parliamentary inquiry has heard.

According to several submissions presented to the ongoing parliamentary inquiry into registration and support processes for IMGs, the required English language standards have significantly increased in the last decade.

Dr Christopher Butt, a retired GP who currently teaches Advanced English for Overseas Trained Health Professionals at Ultimo TAFE in Sydney, told the inquiry the standard of English required by the Medical Board of Australia is now exceptionally high.

Competent IMGs, he said, were finding their progress into the workforce slowed.

“Passing that English exam is now an equal hurdle to passing the medical examinations,” Dr Butt said. 

Australian Doctors Trained Overseas Association