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Failed to get doctor's license; siblings start agency for aspirants for MBBS abroad

Failed to get doctors license; siblings start agency for aspirants for MBBS abroad

New Delhi: After failing to crack the Foreign Medical Graduate Exam (FMGE), three siblings from Bihar's Siwan who were medical graduates from foreign institutions started a consultancy for students who aspired to do MBBS abroad, PTI reported.

PTI identifies the three with changed names. The first of the three went to China for MBBS in 2012, and a year later, his sister went to Poland to get the same degree. The youngest of the three went to Georgia and joined the MBBS course two years later. They were planning to run a hospital together in their home town.

The siblings continue to sit to pass the exam, which is conducted twice a year. Also, they run a consultancy connecting themselves with the three universities they have studied at and helping aspirants with the admission process.

"I do not know when and if we will be able to clear the exam. Of course, the first priority was to become a doctor, but having invested so many years, we cannot be sitting at home," the elder of the three told PTI.

"Foreign medical graduates who do not clear the exam choose different options like hospital management or other degrees, but we chalked out a different path," he said.

Talking to PTI, he demanded the condition of anonymity as he has signed a "non-disclosure agreement" with the National Board of Examinations (NBE) while applying for the FMGE.

The universities they work for pay them around USD 500 to 700 per admission, and they have secured admissions for more than 1,000 admissions to different universities in China, Poland, Georgia and Uzbekistan in 2023. They have earned Rs 4 crore out of it.

"We would not have been able to make this kind of money if we were practising as doctors. Rather than practising as quacks in some villages as we do not have the licence yet, we chose this way, which is a legitimate way. Earlier, we used to work with universities in Ukraine too, but the war has closed that option," the Older said.

"We then explored Uzbekistan, which has been a hidden gem with fantastic universities. We counsel the students about their options, help them choose a university which fits their choice and budget, and then help them with admission formalities and the visa process. We also guide them about accommodation options and help them settle in in the new country," he added.

The siblings do not intend to stop there. They plan to expand their services and open hostels for Indian students in these countries.

"One major challenge that Indian students face is Indian food. Either it is not easily available, or it is too expensive. There is a business opportunity here. We are planning to open hostels meant specifically for Indian students with the mess serving Indian food. We have begun with the first one in Uzbekistan's Samarkand, and the response has been good," said the second sibling.

Asked whether they inform their MBBS aspirants about the FMGE and its success rate so they are prepared mentally about what the future beholds, the second sibling said, "We keep everything transparent with students. We are not into making commissions - just take legitimate fees that universities pay us, and we charge a nominal fee from students for assistance with visa processes and other formalities. Our job is to apprise (students) and then herd them to the rather more affordable foreign shores." According to the second sibling, affordable fees of foreign universities are a big draw for aspirants.

"We chose to study abroad because in India, the number of seats is very limited in government colleges and studying at a private university costs around ₹ 80 lahks to 1 crore per student, whereas three of us finished our MBBS in less than ₹ 60 lakhs. Our father had to sell everything we had to bear these fees, and then our dreams crashed because, in India, foreign medical graduates are treated differently," she said.

Foreign medical graduates from countries like Russia, Ukraine, China, the Philippines, Bangladesh and Nepal, among others, are allowed to practise in India only after they have cleared the FMGE. However, MBBS graduates from the US, UK, Australia, Canada and New Zealand do not need to take the exam.

There is no cap on the number of attempts for biannual FMGE.

The universities abroad also offer fancy designations to consultants such as "official admission partners" or "deans for international students".

"We have been offered these, but we haven't opted for them yet as we are still attempting to clear FMGE," Mrinal said.

Every year, around 25,000 Indian students go abroad to study MBBS. However, only a small fraction of them are able to get a licence to practise in India.

In 2019, only 25.79 per cent of Indians cleared FMGE. The figure was 14.68 per cent in 2020, 23.83 per cent in 2021, the highest at 39 per cent in 2022 and 10.6 per cent in 2023.

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