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Considerations before coming to the UK

Why come to the UK?

Before setting off it is important to consider carefully why you want to come to the UK. Is it for a short time to study for a postgraduate degree or are you planning to remain in the UK? Only base these decisions on your own personal circumstances and not on the recommendation of friends and family members. Remember employment opportunities have varied considerably over the last few years. Immigration rules have changed and there are also increased numbers of dentists qualifying from UK dental schools. All of these factors will influence the availability of vacant posts.

Career in secondary (hospital)/primary care (general dental practice)

What career opportunity are you hoping to find in the UK? Have you researched the employment situation? Are you building on experience you already possess from your home country? Can any of your existing experience/training be taken into consideration in the UK? Are you on a specialist list in your home country or do you require further training or exams before coming to the UK.

To start an NHS practice in the UK, you must ensure that you have met all legal and local requirements. Local services are managed by Local Education and Training Boards (LETBEs). Opportunities for employment vary from region to region.

Financial considerations on arrival

How long are you going to give yourself in order to find a post or pass exams? You need to be very realistic and work out how long you can afford to be without any income. You are likely to be asked if you have sufficient funds to support yourself when applying for a visa. It may be better to come initially to the UK by yourself rather than arriving with a family which puts increased strain on finances. If you cannot find a job don’t underestimate the effect of becoming de-skilled, and the effects of depression at not being able to work in the profession for which you trained.

Health Charges

Check what happens if you or a member of your family falls ill while in the UK. Access to free NHS treatment is not automatically available. Different rules apply to residents, non-residents and whether you have come to the UK to study, live or train. The UK government has introduced an Insurance  Health Surcharge for visitors staying in the UK for longer than six months. Some categories of healthcare workers may be entitled to a refund.


If you are not staying with relatives, this can be a major expense. Hospital residence accommodation may be available after you have been appointed to a post. Please remember that unauthorised living with a friend in hospital accommodation is not legal. It is very important that you have a mobile phone and email address so that you are easy to contact in the event that you are offered a job.

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