Whereas the pathway to post graduate medical education and training in most countries of the world traverses through a myriad of entrance exams, Ireland stands out by simplifying the process for some selected countries. For Ireland, all you need is IMC – Irish Medical Council Registration and you are eligible to apply for training and non – training posts in this small but developed country of less than 5 million people.
However, the only catch is that this process despite being simple takes quite long. In the Pre-COVID area, it used to take almost 6 months but now the waiting time has become longer. Sometimes, even taking up to a year!
The solution is to start the application process for IMC registration and make yourself busy with getting clinical or research experience or passing foreign post graduate exams in the meanwhile to improve your CV. Then, once you have the registration, you can start the job hunt.
The steps of IMC registration are as follows:
After completing medical degree, you need to have an internship or house job as it’s called in Pakistan. This internship must comprise a minimum of twelve months of which at least 3 months each in General Medicine and General Surgery. The remaining rotations must be in allied medicine or allied surgery consisting of not less than two months and not more than four months in the following specialties:
- Emergency medicine
- General Practice
- Obstetrics and Gynaecology
This list is not exhaustive and other specialties are also accepted. You can contact IMC if you want to confirm whether your rotations will be acceptable or not. Also, sometimes, IMC requires certain names of rotations to approve them. For example, Ophthalmology is not accepted but Ophthalmic surgery is. In this case, you will need to get the internship certificate rectified by your hospital first and then request PMC – Pakistan Medical Council to issue a new experience certificate with the correct names of rotations.
For more details about accepted rotations: https://www.medicalcouncil.ie/education/career-stage-intern/quality-assurance/approved-guidelines-on-medical-education-and-training-for-interns.pdf
2) PRES exemption:
The following situations make you exempt from PRES – the entrance exam of Ireland.
- Graduate of an EU medical school
- Have completed an internship in the following countries:
- Pakistan: internship commenced after 31st December 2008
- New Zealand
- South Africa: internship commenced from 1st July 2006
There is also another category for PRES exemption in which holders of higher qualification are included. For details, check this link: https://www.medicalcouncil.ie/registration/registration-rules-and-exemptions/registration-rules-and-exemptions.html
3) English Language competency:
Multiple proofs are accepted in this category. One of them is Academic IELTS certificate (dated within the last two years at the time of application) with an overall band score of 7.0 and a minimum score of 6.5 in each module. Another acceptable evidence is OET (Category – Medicine) with a minimum grade B in each module. This should also be dated within the last two years.
Further details about effective communication skills are present here: https://www.medicalcouncil.ie/registration-applications/first-time-applicants/english-language.html
4) Certificate of Experience (COE):
Apply for the house job experience certificate from the PMC website. The application form asks about your biodata and contact details of IMC. You need to upload a passport size photograph and the house job experience certificate issued by your hospital. Then you proceed to online payment of 3000 PKR. It can take 6 -8 weeks to get this certificate.
PMC website: https://online.pmc.gov.pk/Account/Login
5) EPIC verification:
Electronic Portfolio of International Credentials – EPIC – offers primary-source verification of medical credentials to organizations worldwide. It confirms their authenticity by directly checking with the institution that issued the credential.
Firstly, you need to create an EPIC account. You need to upload a passport size photograph and scanned copy of your passport A complete guide for setting up the account is present here: https://www.ecfmgepic.org/physicians-getting-started.html. You are required to pay the initial fee of US$ 130 so have your credit/debit card ready. Once the account request has been processed, you will receive an email containing your EPIC ID. It usually takes 3 business days for this.
After the account has been established, you will be able to access your EPIC identification form – EIF – as a downloadable file through the ‘My Identity Documents’ tab of your EPIC account. It includes your name, gender, date of birth, photograph and passport. This EIF is then certified by an authorized official to confirm your identity. This certification is done through NotaryCam which is a video call session in which you need to show your original passport to an official. Appointments for this call can be made for any time, 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Click here to proceed further: http://www.notarycam.com/ecfmg-epic
The Notary public officer will then send the notarized EIF to EPIC. So now, your identity has been verified. The next step is to upload on your EPIC account the credentials that need to be verified i.e. your medical school degree and certificate of experience (house job experience certificate by PMC). The medical school degree is called as ‘Final Medical Diploma’ and the certificate of experience is the ‘Postgraduate medical education credential.’ Another fee is charged here. US$ 100 per credential.
After a few days, you will receive an email from EPIC stating that your credentials have been sent to the primary source for verification. For the medical degree, you will then contact your medical school and ask them to verify the document. For the house job experience certificate, you will then fill the online form on the PMC website and make the payment of 5000 PKR. You will be notified by email when a credential has been verified. The EPIC reports are then directly sent to the IMC.
For any questions regarding EPIC verification, contact firstname.lastname@example.org or +1 (215) 966-3900. Telephone assistance is available Monday to Friday, 9:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m., Eastern Time in the United States. For special instructions to the applicants of medical council of Ireland, visit here: https://www.ecfmgepic.org/instructions-ireland.html
6) IMC online account:
After EPIC verification has been completed. Make online application for IMC registration.
Click here to set up your online account: https://www.medicalcouncil.ie/registration-applications/submit-application/
This application will ask for your personal details and for some documents to be uploaded. Then you will pay 410 euros as application fee. Once the application has been submitted, you will receive a cover letter within 1-2 days by email.
7) Posting the documents:
Now, you will post the following documents to IMC:
- The cover letter
- Notarised copy of your passport – Notary public stamp is easily available at your local court (tehsil or district). It is an international notary with 3 stamps.
- Copy of IELTs/OET result
They are sent to the following address by any reliable post e.g. DHL: Medical Council of Ireland, Kingram House, Kingram PI, Dublin, D02 XY88, Ireland
8) Wait for emails from IMC:
Previously, IMC used to send the confirmation email of having received the documents within a few days but now, I’ve heard it can take up to 1- 2 weeks. In this email, they inform that the IMC registration process can take a further 20 – 24 weeks to complete. In the Pre – COVID era, this waiting time was around 4 – 6 weeks!
After this waiting time, you get another email from IMC, in which they inform you that your documents have been reviewed and ask for the Good Standing certificate to be sent from PMC.
9) Good standing certificate:
So, now you apply for good standing certificate to be sent from your medical council body (e.g. PMC for Pakistan) directly to IMC. Please keep in mind that it is valid for only 3 months so don’t apply for it too far in advance. This good standing certificate can be applied on the PMC website and it usually takes a few days to be delivered to IMC. I’ve been informed that the current fee for the good standing certificate is 9000 PKR.
PMC website: https://online.pmc.gov.pk/Account/Login
10) Eligibility letter:
Then the IMC will email you the eligibility letter for IMC registration and also a Genform. This Genform needs to be filled up and can be returned by post or email. It consists of personal information; professional experience and queries about legal convictions/disciplinary proceedings. You need to submit a new notarised copy of your Passport along with this form.
11) Make the payment:
After IMC has received your documents, they’ll send you an email to make the payment. You will not be able to make the payment until the IMC has asked you to. So, wait for their email first. For registration year between 1st July and 31st December, the fee is 560 euros. And for registration year on or after 1st January, the fee is 280 euros.
Within a day or two, your IMC registration will be complete! And now you can start the job hunt!
If you have any further queries regarding the entire process, please do not hesitate to contact me via my facebook page: Magic with medicine
Also, there is a great deal of guidance being provided by two very helpful Pakistani doctors, Dr. Shoaib Mahboob and Dr Usman Safeer via a facebook group – Gateway to Ireland. You can join this group to benefit from their experience too.
This world is indeed full of supportive and cooperative advisors and guides. Kudos to everyone who’s helping others.