New Delhi: Indian students will now need to clear the National Eligibility cum Entrance Test (NEET) if they want to pursue medical studies outside the country.

Approving the proposal of Medical Council of India (MCI) to amend the Screening Test Regulations, 2002, the ministry of health and family welfare on Tuesday said that it will be now mandatory to qualify NEET to pursue a foreign medical course.

“The common national entrance exam i.e. NEET has been made mandatory for admission to all medical courses in the country. Indian students can also pursue medical education abroad and have to qualify a Screening Test called Foreign Medical Graduates Exam (FMGE), for registration to practice in India after obtaining primary medical qualification (MBBS) overseas," union health ministry said in a statement.

“It has come to notice that medical institutions and universities of foreign countries admit Indian students without proper assessment or screening of the students’ academic ability to cope up with medical education with the result that many students fail to qualify the Screening Test," the statement read.

Health ministry has said that the Indian citizens or overseas citizen of India intending to obtain primary medical qualification from any medical institution outside India, on or after May 2018, shall have to mandatorily qualify NEET for admission to MBBS course abroad.

According to the health ministry statement, the result of NEET shall be deemed to be treated as the eligibility certificate for such persons, provided that such persons fulfils the eligibility criteria for admission to the MBBS course prescribed in the Regulations on Graduate Medical Education, 1997.