Since its inception in the 1950’s, the National Residency Match Program has placed medical hopefuls in residency positions across the nation with the numbers of applicants rising steadily each year. Despite this trend leading to a record breaking 44,603 applicants this year, the number of these applications belonging to International Medical Graduates is dwindling. While the exact reason for the low number of IMG applicants is unclear, the current U.S. political climate and visa restrictions are suspect.

There is Less Competition

The drop in IMG applicants, although disappointing for the U.S. healthcare system, which is relying on these individuals to fill physician vacancies in niche areas of the country, means that the Match for IMGs has become less competitive. This year nearly 59% of IMGs were matched into residency. This is the highest that number has been since the early 1990’s.

With less individuals competing for spots, the chances that an IMG secures a residency position increases. This considered, IMGs who have skipped applying for the Match in the past should try their luck and apply in 2020, provided this trend continues.

Internal Medicine, Family Medicine, and Pediatrics are Hot

Of the 7,025 IMG applicants who were accepted into a rotation, 68.9% of these individuals secured residencies in Internal Medicine, Family Medicine, and Pediatrics. In addition to being the three most IMG friendly specialties, the number of residency positions offered in these areas have been continually growing since the mid-2000’s. More positions offered equals a higher rate of acceptance. For IMGs interested in becoming physicians within the U.S., a residency position in these areas should be considered. It allows IMGs to get their foot in the door. Additional specialization in other areas is always an option in the future and may be easier after completing a rotation in one of the tree areas listed above.

To view all the collected data from the 2019 Match click here.


Are you interested in increasing your chances of matching into a U.S. residency position? An AMO rotation can help you gain the clinical experience and the Letter of Recommendations needed to stand out. Apply for a rotation with AMO today!