Substantial Comparability Placement

The Substantial Comparability Placement is one of the ways that specialist international medical graduates (SIMGs) can work towards Fellowship of the Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Psychiatrists (RANZCP). 

This placement involves:

  • undertaking a supervised work placement for a period of at least 12 months full-time equivalent (FTE)
  • satisfactory completion of regular Workplace-Based Assessments (WBAs) during the placement period.

After these requirements are completed SIMGs are eligible to apply for Fellowship of the RANZCP.

This placement is open to:

  • new applicants wanting to attain specialist recognition to work as psychiatrists in Australia or New Zealand who have yet to apply for RANZCP specialist assessment
  • existing exemption candidates currently on the Partial Comparability Specialist Pathway.

In November 2014, expanded eligibility criteria were introduced for the Substantial Comparability Placement. These are based on categories of equivalence that align with the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency’s (AHPRA) concepts of equivalence.

Eligibility criteria

Applicants must meet the conditions below in addition to the eligibility criteria stated on the Applying for specialist assessment page in order to be eligible for the Substantial Comparability Placement.

Applicants must:

  • provide confirmation of employment as a consultant/specialist psychiatrist within Australia or New Zealand for the required placement period, plus a position description 
  • hold current medical registration in Australia or New Zealand or be registered at the time of starting the placement
  • be employed for at least 0.6 FTE in a suitable position and work at least 0.3 FTE in a clinical role
  • have a statement of employer support for the full placement period and for all required WBAs, including support for external assessor access to relevant clinical files
  • have nominated a supervisor who holds current accreditation as a RANZCP Substantial Comparability Supervisor
  • have current exemption status (for existing exemption candidates)
  • have completed a 3-month job orientation period prior to starting the placement (for new applicants).

Application and assessment

Applications from existing exemption candidates

Existing exemption candidates who wish to apply for the Substantial Comparability Placement will generally only be required to submit a complete application form with the supporting documents, which will be followed by a comparability assessment. However, in certain cases the Committee for Specialist International Medical Graduate Education (CSIMGE) may request an interview.

This application process will take approximately 8–10 weeks from the time the application is received until the outcome result. 

Existing exemption candidates who are not found to be Substantially Comparable will continue on the Partial Comparability Placement to Fellowship.

Refer to the Applying for specialist assessment page for information on the application and assessment process for the Substantial Comparability Placement.


SIMGs who have been assessed as Substantially Comparable will be approved to commence in the next available cohort once all the placement and registration requirements have been met. New cohorts are expected to commence yearly and candidates have the option of starting their job earlier while waiting for the cohort commencement date. They will be working under the Partial Comparability placement conditions during this waiting period.

Approved Substantially Comparable SIMGs can continue to proceed to RANZCP Fellowship via the Partial Comparability Pathway (which involves examinations rather than WBAs) if they prefer. However, candidates are required to choose either the Partial Comparability Placement or the Substantial Comparability Placement, and cannot be on both at the same time. 

Approved candidates will only move to a cohort waiting list when a confirmed job start date (by means of a signed and accepted job contract and the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency (AHPRA) registration certificate) has been provided to the RANZCP. This ensures that the RANZCP doesn’t hold places for candidates who have not yet moved to Australia or New Zealand and have not yet gained the required immigration and registration status to work. 

Applicants who are offered and accept the conditions of the Substantial Comparability Placement will be required to pay a placement fee. Failure to pay the placement fee may cause delay or deferral of the placement.

Refer to the fee schedule below for current prices and methods of payment, and the refund schedule for information about refunds upon withdrawal of application and/or placement.

All the conditions for the Substantial Comparability Placement, including employment, supervision and registration requirements need to be met by the start date of the placement. Not meeting these conditions may result in deferral of the placement to the next cohort start date. 


Substantial Comparability Placement candidates need to start their job at least 3 months before the placement start date, allowing enough time to complete the 3 months of workplace orientation time required by the College.

This time allows the candidate to familiarise themselves with the new position in a new country and, if they choose, to complete some of the additional requirements such as Non-Governmental Organisation (NGO) and Indigenous experiences.

AHPRA registration must be obtained prior to starting work. Applicants will be working under the Partial Comparability Placement conditions in the orientation period, as outlined in the outcome letter.

Candidates will be issued with an assessment schedule (including assessment due dates) prior to commencing the placement as outlined below.

Stage Assessment
Start 3-month job orientation complete
2 months Formative Case-based Discussion
Supervisor’s Report 1
3 months Summative Case-based Discussion 1
6 months Summative Case-based Discussion 2
360° Feedback
Supervisor’s Report 2
9 months Summative Case-based Discussion 3
10 months Supervisor’s Report 3
12 months Supervisor and Employer End-of-Placement Declaration

The expected time for completion of the placement is 12 months; however, this may be extended for an additional 6 months to accommodate supplementary assessments, remediation plans and exceptional circumstances.

Please note: Any extension to the placement will incur an additional fee.

Further information regarding the WBAs to be completed during the Substantial Comparability Placement is available in the Handbook for Workplace-Based Assessments [PDF; 158 KB].


Workplace-Based Assessment forms and tools

The following documents are commonly required for completion and approval of the WBAs:

Becoming an assessor or supervisor

Fellows of the RANZCP who are interested in becoming an assessor or supervisor for the Substantial Comparability Placement are invited to express an interest to the College.
Find out more about becoming an assessor or supervisor for the Substantial Comparability Placement 


For any queries, please email: comparability@ranzcp.org