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The Specialist Pathway is for Specialist International Medical Graduates (SIMGs interested in working permanently as a specialist surgeon in Australia. It includes two streams:

Specialist Recognition: overseas-trained specialists applying for assessment of comparability to the standard of an Australian-trained specialist.
Area of Need (AoN): overseas-trained specialists applying to fill a specialist-level vacancy classified as an “Area of Need” by the Australian government.

Specialty training in surgery overseas does not always correspond to the Australian and Aotearoa New Zealand context. Even where specialties are broadly aligned to those of RACS, there are likely to be wider or narrower scopes of practice, different procedural and core competencies and different methods of assessment. 

Therefore, every SIMG wishing to practice as a specialist surgeon in Australia requires an individualised assessment of comparability to an Australian- and Aotearoa New Zealand-trained surgeon in the same field of specialty practice. This is known as Specialist Assessment (for the Specialist Recognition stream) or Area of Need Assessment (for the Area of Need stream).

Eligible SIMGs can apply for a Specialist and/or Area of Need Assessment in any one of RACS’ nine surgical specialties listed below:
o Cardiothoracic Surgery
o General Surgery
o Neurosurgery
o Orthopaedic Surgery
o Otolaryngology Head and Neck Surgery
o Paediatric Surgery
o Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery
o Urology
o Vascular Surgery