A Foreign medical graduate (FMG) can face a lot of challenges when seeking a residency program in institutions located outside his/her home country. The situation is so severe that as of 2016, medical graduates in the US outnumbered the available residency slots. A report by the Educational Commission for Foreign Medical Graduates states that out of the 26,678 slots offered last year, 53 percent were taken by US medical graduates and foreign graduates took up 49.5 percent slots.
Taking a look at the websites of two of the most popular schools in the Caribbean, the St George's University and Ross University, it is evident that foreign graduates got slots in residency programs like Family and Internal Medicine. These are non-procedural specialties and IMGs have the best chance of matching for these programs. 783 and 760 graduates were admitted by the Ross and St George's University respectively, with each institution admitting two batches of interns annually. More so, at St. George, a fraction of the candidates (2.8%) matched for general surgery positions while Ross matched just 2.3% in certain 5-year general surgery positions. So if we go by these figures, then only 3.3% of the graduates (numbering 40 out of 1,200) are on their way to becoming general surgeons.
A report by the Educational Commission for Foreign Medical Graduates stated that in 2013, hospitals had to fill either all of their residency positions via the NRMP or none. The result of this is a rise in vacancies by about 2672 through Match, indicating a decrease in seats available outside of Match. Statistics such as these raise serious questions. How many graduates (both US and non-US) are lucky to have an opening for residency? And for those who are unfortunate to have a residency slot, what do they do to earn a living? What are the possibilities of paying back their student loan if they are not fortunate to have a spot to do their residency in the US?
40 medical schools in the Caribbean cater strictly to US citizens; this is minus the ones at Cuba and the same goes for schools in Mexico. Statistics show that medical graduates have a higher chance of getting a residency in positions other than general surgery. Those opting for other specialties have a 70 percent chance of being chosen while for general surgery, it is a mere 25 – 30 percent chance. If the Resident goes for a school that is not well known, then the chances are even lesser. From the data provided, it is appropriate to state that Family Medicine and Internal Medicine are the two areas where Foreign Medical Graduates have the best chance of matching into.