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Working in the UK

General information

Recent changes to immigration rules mean priority is given to UK & EEA graduates and as such opportunities for International Doctors in the UK are limited.

Before applying for a surgical post you should obtain registration and the appropriate immigration status. We advise that you investigate these requirements before you travel.

If you wish to work in the UK outside of the training grades the opportunities available will vary according to your level of experience. If you are interested in training in the UK, read our Surgical Training in the UK page.

Do I need the MRCS/FRCS?

You need the MRCS to enter ST3 training at ST3 or above. It may be useful when applying for other jobs as it demonstrates a certain level of knowledge.

If you are not trained in the UK but want to work as a consultant here, you do not need to the FRCS but will need to gain entry to the specialist register. You can do that via the CESR route but the FRCS might help in the CESR process.

The FRCS is an exit exam run by the Joint Committee on Intercollegiate Examinations and is normally taken at the end of speciality training. Full eligibility requirements, guidelines and registration details are available at the link above.

Fully qualified

It is a legal requirement that doctors must have their names entered on the General Medical Council's (GMC's) Specialist Register before taking up substantive, honorary or fixed term NHS consultant posts in the UK. 

Most doctors achieve this by completing a UK training programme resulting in the award of a Certificate of Completion of Training (CCT or CCST). However, doctors who have completed specialist training overseas or via a non-CCT route may be eligible for entry to the Specialist Register without undergoing further training in the UK.

These doctors may be able to apply for an assessment to determine their eligibility for Specialist Registration. The certificate that you would need to apply for is called the Certificate of Eligibility for Specialist Registration (CESR)and information can be found on the JCST website.

The process can be lengthy and if you have not previously worked in the UK you may want to consider gaining GMC registration (to the medical register rather than the specialist register) and obtaining an SAS grade post to allow you to work in the UK while awaiting the outcome of your application. This will also give you time to familiarise yourself with the NHS before applying for a consultant post.

SAS grade posts

If you have not qualified as a specialist and do not wish to enter training you can consider SAS grade posts within the NHS. These are often referred to as middle grade posts. Find out more about SAS grade posts

The College is unable to provide immigration advice. Please contact the home office for more information.

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