Your First UK Doctors Job

There are a huge range of doctors’ roles in the NHS covering some 60 different specialities, with some in much higher demand than others – providing good opportunities for international doctors.

If you are from outside the EEA, you must first check you meet the requirements of UK Visa and immigration regulations in order to be able to enter and work in the UK.

The different types of visas and criterion are available from on the UK government website, here:

Before moving to the UK and applying for a visa and GMC registration, it is advisable to find a job first.  A good route to getting your foot in the door within the UK is to find a locum role (a job on a short-term contract).   A locum doctors job will not only give you a taste of what it is like to work in the UK, but help you gain relevant experience to put on your CV, which in turn will help you get further jobs down the line.

By registering with RIG Locums, you will be assigned a dedicated consultant who has a thorough technical understanding of your speciality and will be able to advise you of suitable locum doctor vacancies, in addition to providing support throughout the process of registering with the GMC and moving to the UK.

Once you have found a job, the next step is to register with the GMC and obtain a relevant licence to be able to practise as a doctor within the UK in any capacity.  The GMC is an independent regulator for doctors in the UK and sets the standards that doctors must maintain whilst practicing in addition to the standards for medical training.  By law, without a licence to practise from the GMC, doctors are unable to practise medicine.  Registration with the GMC is also subject to periodic revalidation if doctors wish to continue working in the UK. 

There are different routes to obtaining registration with the GMC depending on whether you are a doctor from inside or outside the European Economic Area (EEA).

Doctors from within the EEA

The GMC provides mutual recognition of equivalent training and qualifications obtained within the EEA, which means that members who have completed basic medical training are eligible for full GMC registration providing their fitness to practise has not been impaired.  Doctors from member states with the requisite equivalent qualifications and training may also apply to join specialist or GP registers.

To apply, and for the most up to date GMC requirements, please visit:

Overseas doctors from outside the EEA

The GMC does not provide automatic recognition of medical qualifications awarded from bodies outside the EEA.  You must check with the GMC whether your medical qualifications are recognised, and if applicable take an International English Language Testing System (IELTS), and a Professional and Linguistic Assessments Board (PLAB) test.  A list of acceptable oversees medical qualifications can be found on the GMC website here:

Further guidance for International Doctors can be obtained from the British Medical Association (BMA) here: