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While there are shortages in some specialties in the UK, this is not the same for training posts. Competition for training posts is intense and is continuing to increase. Up-to-date details on competition for junior doctor posts are available from NHS Specialty Training. The NHS is heading towards a system of self-sufficiency meaning that it will be less reliant on overseas medical staff.

EEA doctors
If you are from the EEA you may enter speciality training programmes in the UK on the same basis as UK doctors. You must meet entry requirements, and it is important to check with the appropriate royal college whether any recognition can be given for training already undertaken abroad. On completion of speciality training in the UK, EEA doctors are granted a Certificate of Completion of Training (CCT) which makes you eligible for entry to the UK specialist register. The CCT provides recognition as specialists in all other member states of the EEA.

Can I train to be a GP?
EEA doctors are free to train as GPs on the same basis as UK doctors and your qualifications will be recognised in other EEA countries. There are a few countries which have a two-tier system of general practice – a basic tier, the training for which meets the minimum requirements set out in European legislation, and a specialist tier, the training for which takes longer.
Although UK training lasts for the three-year minimum set out in legislation, it may only be recognised for the basic tier in some other countries. If you move elsewhere you may need to be assessed on an individual basis for admission to the specialist tier. This has been a problem for a few doctors returning to Germany, for example. If you think that it may apply to you, please check with the authorities in your own country before beginning your training in the UK.

Doctors from non-EEA countries
Information on training opportunities, the application process and the competition for training posts is available on the NHS Specialty Training website.


Non-EEA doctors coming to the UK are restricted from working as a doctor-in-training. The only exceptions to this restriction are if you qualified at a medical school in the UK
• The only training posts available to non-EEA doctors who have not qualified at a medical school in the UK are posts where no suitable resident worker has been found to take up the post. Doctors from outside the EEA can take up these posts by obtaining a Tier 2 (General) visa

The overseas doctors training scheme (ODTS)/international sponsorship scheme (ISS)
The ODTS/ISS is a dual-sponsorship scheme administered by the medical royal colleges in the UK. It was launched to provide highly-skilled overseas-qualified doctors with structured and supervised specialist training in postgraduate training posts in the UK. Doctors who qualified in, or are resident in, the EEA are not eligible. ODTS/ISS graduates are expected to return to their own country on completion of the agreed period of training.

What do I need to do in order to be considered by one of the royal college schemes?
To be considered for one of the royal colleges ODTS/ISS schemes (the names of these can vary) you will need to have been recommended to the relevant royal college in the UK by a sponsoring organisation in your own country. The sponsors overseas must satisfy the royal college that they can personally vouch for you with regard to your professional expertise and competence in English. In addition, the sponsor must satisfy the royal college that suitable employment will be arranged for you on your return.
Each college has its own criteria for selection of candidates for sponsorship under the schemes, but some general rules apply. You must possess a qualification which is acceptable for full registration in the UK. If accepted on a scheme, you will not be required to sit the PLAB test in order to gain registration, but proof of a high standard in English is a prerequisite, ie an overall score of at least seven in the IELTS exam with a minimum of 7 in speaking and 6 in reading, listening and writing.
In addition, you will normally be required to have obtained a postgraduate medical qualification in the specialty in which you wish to train in Britain and have at least two years’ clinical experience in medicine or surgery gained at postgraduate level. However, for details of requirements specific to your specialty you should contact the relevant royal college.
Please note – competition for places on the ODTS/ISS is very high and some colleges are ceasing to run such schemes, especially in light of the recent changes to the immigration rules for postgraduate doctors and dentists and due to withdrawal of funding. You will need to check the current situation with the appropriate individual royal college.

Medical Training Initiative (MTI)
The MTI is an initiative that allows non-EEA doctors to get training and experience in the UK for up to two years. It does not allow formal approved training posts (such as speciality and foundation training posts), but is rather approved posts by Deaneries and relevant Medical Royal Colleges for education and training. Because the MTI assists the NHS with employers and recruitment, exchange programmes with overseas health services and organisations are promoted. As a result, the MTI operates under Tier 5 by authorising these government authorised exchanges.
Further details about the MTI, are available on the Academy of Medical Royal Colleges website.

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