The National Resident Matching Program (NRMP) is the channel through which physician hopefuls fill residency spots.  Since the 1950s, the number of individuals participating in The Match rises steadily each year. Despite record-breaking 44,603 applicants this year, the number of International Medical Graduates applicants continue to dwindle. While the exact reason for the low number of IMG applicants is unclear, the current U.S. political climate and visa restrictions are suspect. Below is a highlight of important data from the 2019 NRMP that IMGs should consider.


Less Competition in 2019 NRMP

Data from the 2019 NRMP shows a drop in IMG applicants. This is disappointing for the U.S. healthcare system, which is relying on these individuals to fill physician vacancies in niche areas of the country. For applicants, it could be positive. Fewer applicants, regardless of their identity, means less competition. This year nearly 59% of IMGs were matched into residency. This is the highest that number has been since the early 1990s.

With fewer individuals competing for spots, the chances that an IMG secures a residency position increases. This considered IMGs who skipped applying for the 2019 NRMP should try their luck and apply in 2020, provided this trend continues.


Internal Medicine, Family Medicine, and Pediatrics are Hot

Of the 7,025 2019 NRMP IMG applicants accepted into a rotation, 68.9% secured residencies in Internal Medicine, Family Medicine, or Pediatrics. In addition to being the three most IMG friendly specialties in the 2019 NRMP, the number of residency positions offered in these areas continues to grow. This has been a trend since the mid-2000s. More positions offered equals a higher rate of acceptance. For IMGs interested in becoming U.S. physicians, a residency position in one of these specialties should be considered. Additional specialization in other areas is an option in the future for those who go into one of the general specialties above.

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


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.

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