UK needs and allows people from various professions to come to the UK workforce. Doctors are also welcome in the UK. However, migrating doctors to the UK from outside the UK and EEA needs to know the law and process of it. Immigration laws in the UK are complex and multi-layered. So, it is always good to have the basic knowledge of it.
Basic Guidance for doctors looking to come to work in the UK
Medical professionals and citizens of EU/EEA nations
If you are a doctor and an EEA national, you can come to the UK to work. You don’t require applying for any visa or a job offer in hand to come to the UK to work as a doctor. However, you do need to pass the English language test. Medical graduates from EEA countries also need to apply for registration.
For medical professionals and citizens of non-EU/EEA nations
Non- EU nationals and medical graduates and professionals looking to come to the UK to work as doctors need two things. The first is to get a registration and license in the UK and the second is to get a valid visa.
Registration and license
If you want to practice medicine and exercise legal privileges like writing prescriptions and signing in death certificates that come with it, you need to be registered and obtain a license. As a doctor, you need to have one of the three types of registrations. The type of registration you need to obtain depends on the role and level of responsibility you will perform in your job. Three types of registration are Full registration, Limited Registration, and specialist Registration.
Full registration is not for everyone. This is for those who want to take a job as a doctor who gets paid and is unsupervised in the UK. Only such applicants need to obtain full registration from the GMC.
Those EEA nationals who are qualified medical professionals in an EEA country are eligible for full registration. Qualified doctors from some other countries like Australia, New Zealand, Singapore, South Africa, Malaysia, and the West Indies may also qualify for full registration.
If you are looking to work within the NHS at supervised training posts, you must get a limited registration. Such applicants must ensure that their primary medical qualification is recognized by the GMC.
Doctors with limited registration can apply for full registration later when they can prove their skills and knowledge and attitude.
Specialist registration is for those who are looking to work as a consultant for the NHS or who want to practice unsupervised in a private hospital or a clinic in the UK.
Tier 2 visa allows non-UK non-EU national workers/professionals including doctors to come to the UK to work. So, non-UK and non-EEA doctors who want to practice medicine in the UK need to apply for a Tier 2 visa. They need a job offer, certificate of sponsorship from an employer in the UK to apply for a Tier 2 visa. After getting the Tier 2 visa they can practice as a doctor in the UK.
UK employers can employ non-UK and non-EU professionals such as doctors to fill vacancies which they cannot fill with UK and EU nationals. This is possible under the Tier 2 visa. So, Non-UK and non-EU doctors need to apply for Tier 2 (General Visa) to work in the UK. Those who have ILR status in the UK don’t need to apply for any visa.
You need to meet the below conditions to be eligible to apply for a Tier 2 visa:
- You must have a job offer from a UK employer.
- You must be offered an appropriate salary.
- The job offer made to you must meet the Resident Market Labor Test (RLMT) unless there are some exemptions available to it.
- Your employer must be a licensed Tier 2 sponsor in the UK who then must offer you a certificate of sponsorship.
- You must have personal savings to support yourself when you arrive in the UK.
- You must meet the English language requirement.