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Starting in January doctors who come from countries where English is not the first language will have to pass one of two internationally recognized written exams.

Foreign doctors wanting to move to Nova Scotia are going to have to pass new English language tests in the new year.

The College of Physicians and Surgeons of Nova Scotia (CPSNS) says the new guidelines will affect all doctors applying to work in the province whose first language is not English.

Until now, foreign doctors applying to practice in Nova Scotia only had to satisfy the registrar of the CPSNS that they had satisfactory English skills — that was usually done by an oral interview.

However, starting on Jan. 1, doctors who come from countries where English is not the first language will have to pass one of two internationally recognized written exams.

Dr. Gus Grant, college registrar, says it’s important for doctors to be able to communicate well both orally and in writing.

Grant says he doesn't believe the new guidelines will hamper Nova Scotia's ability to attract foreign doctors. He says he expects the new English requirements will soon be adopted nationally.