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Information for Refugee Surgeons and Trainees

The Royal College of Surgeons of England (RCS) is keen to support refugee surgeons, dental surgeons and surgical trainees in the UK. Below we provide information on:

RCS services and resources

RCS Affiliate scheme

Refugee surgeons, dental surgeons and trainees can join the RCS Affiliate scheme for free. Benefits of joining the scheme include:

  • access to selected bursaries
  • free access to the College’s Annals and Bulletin publications
  • access to Library resources and services.

Find out more about the benefits of becoming an Affiliate.

How to join

To be eligible for Affiliate status as a refugee you must be registered on the BMA/Refugee Council Refugee Doctors' Database and provide proof of your status (BMA letter confirming that you are registered on their Refugee Doctors' Database and a a document from the Home Office stating your immigration status).

For more information on the RCS Affiliate Scheme and help completing your application form, please email us at

RCS Library

The RCS Library makes a range of electronic resources available to Affiliates (see above). Find out more about Library services for Affiliates.

RCS Wellcome Museum of Anatomy and Pathology

The Wellcome Museum is now closed as part of the college's redevelopment. It will reopen late 2020 as the Anatomy and Pathology Resource Centre available to all refugee surgeons and medics (both qualified and in training) who wish to use it for revision, group study or research.

RCS Hunterian Museum

 The Hunterian Museum is now closed as part of the college's redevelopment. It will reopen late 2020 in a new, more accessible position in the building displaying our historical comparative anatomy collections and with enhanced displays on the development of surgery and surgical practice.

Career resources

  • General Medical Council (GMC): All practising medical doctors and surgeons in the UK must be registered with the GMC. They can provide help with registration fees for refugee doctors living in the UK. This includes two attempts at PLAB tests free of charge; four attempts at part two PLAB test also free of charge; and accepting your registration fee in instalments.
  • International English Language Testing System (IELTS) is an important English proficiency exam which tests all four language skills: listening, reading, writing and speaking. IELTS is very important for surgeons and dental surgeons who wish to practice in the UK. The RCP website offers advice on how to achieve or improve your IELTS score.
  • Reach Northwest is a refugee and asylum seeker's centre for healthcare professionals education, based at Salford NHS Foundation Trust. It was set up with the aim to assist refugee and asylum seeking healthcare professionals in the Northwest to register their qualification in the UK.
  • The British Medical Association (BMA) recognises the valuable contribution refugee doctors make to the delivery of healthcare services in the UK. The BMA has been involved in many initiatives and works collaboratively with other organisations to help refugee doctors pursue their careers in the UK. The BMA Refugee Doctor Initiative is a package of free benefits available to refugee and asylum seeking doctors.
  • The British Dental Association (BDA) provides advice and guidance to refugee dentists on where to turn as well as well as a free year of membership with BDA for those who have been given full refugee status in the UK.
  • The Royal Society of Medicine (RSM) has created a ‘catastrophe & conflict’ forum for humanitarian aid workers of all skills and specialities to share meeting, networking and exchanging experiences in a neutral environment, as well as facilitating teaching, training and education in the humanitarian field. This forum raises the awareness and profile of humanitarian aid and facilitates and encourages research and publication of humanitarian activities in open and peer review literature.
  • The Refugee Council provides information and advice for refugees in the UK, including how to get into training for employment. Their Refugee Healthcare Professional Programme provides placement opportunities, teaching and mentors programmes and advice or guiding sessions. To find out more please email or call 020 7074 3354.
  • Council for Assisting Refugee Academics: helps refugees who worked in academia in their home countries to re-qualify in the UK.
  • Medact Refugee Network: a network of health professionals working with refugees.
  • Refugees into Jobs - Refugee Health Professionals: support for London-based refugee doctors to re-qualify to UK standards and secure employment appropriate to their professional qualifications.
  • Refugee Assessment and Guidance Unit: supports refugees with high level education or professional qualifications into employment and education.

General resources and support

For any further queries, please contact the RCS International Office on 0207 869 6053 or email

Get in touch

The Global Affairs Office is the main point of contact for all queries from international surgeons and stakeholders who wish to find out more about opportunities and ventures overseas.

For contacts in education, exams or careers or dentistry, please see those sections of the website.

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