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Frequently Asked Questions

Is there a shortage of dentists in the UK and will it be easy for me to find a job?

There is no shortage of dentists in the UK as there has been an increase in the number of dentists being trained in UK dental schools. In addition many dentists who qualified in European dental schools have been coming to the UK to look for work.

Does the NHS employ dentists from outside the UK?

Yes, there are European dentists and dentists who qualified outside the EEA working in the NHS and private sector in the UK.

Will I need a visa to work in the UK?

If you are not a British, EEA citizen or a Swiss national you will need a visa to enter and work in the UK.

What if I am an asylum seeker or refugee?

See the section on refugees and asylum seekers in the main menu.

I have come to the UK to work and have just passed the ORE or LDS examination. Can I start working?

No, registration with the GDC and immigration to the UK are two separate issues. Inclusion on the dentists’ register does not entitle you to stay in the UK. Check your status on the UK Border Agency website.

Does the UK limit the number of migrants from outside the EEA?

Yes, under the points based system of the UK Border Agency. Please see the requirements for each tier.

What is the new points-based system for immigration?

The system consists of five tiers with each tier having a different points requirement. The tiers are:

  • Tier 1 - highly skilled migrant.
  • Tier 2 - skilled workers with a job offer (subject to the resident labour market test unless the job is on the shortage occupation list). Please note there are currently no occupations within dentistry that satisfy the shortage occupation category for entry to the UK.
  • Tier 3 - low skilled migrants - filling specific labour shortages.
  • Tier 4 – students - including undergraduate and postgraduate.
  • Tier 5 - temporary workers – including Government Authorised Exchange (GAE) programs, such as the Medical Training Initiative (MTI)

Some tiers are closed or have limited entry. It is important to check the UKBA website at frequent intervals.

What restrictions might I have on a Tier 1 Visa?

You need to check your visa to see if there are any restrictions to applying for training posts in a hospital. If there is a restriction on your visa prohibiting you from applying for doctor or dentist training posts, you cannot apply for SHO, Core Trainee, Registrar or Dental Foundation Training posts.

What can I apply for on a Tier 2 Visa?

You will only be eligible for a tier 2 Visa if you have applied for a post for which the employer has been able to show that there is no EEA citizen eligible - ie that it has passed the resident labour market test.

My spouse/partner has a Tier 2 Visa. Can I apply for training posts on temporary registration?

This depends on the restrictions you have on your visa. If you have any restrictions for a doctor/dentist in hospital training posts on your visa then you will not be eligible to apply.

If I am an overseas undergraduate student who has just qualified BDS from a UK dental school under a Tier 4 Visa. Can I apply for a Dental Foundation Training post in the UK?

Yes, you are able to stay on a two year post study visa and will be eligible to apply for Dental Foundation Training posts.

If I am an overseas postgraduate student who has just qualified with a master’s degree from a UK dental school under a Tier 4 Visa. Can I stay in the UK?

The regulations regarding the post study visa will  change in April 2012. Please check the UKBA website.

Can I have temporary registration as soon as I arrive in the UK?

Temporary registration is only awarded by the GDC for certain posts. These categories include :training posts in a hospital, research and teaching. You need to be appointed to a post before youy can apply for temporary registration form the GDC.  There is a  limit to the length of time you can spend working on temporary registration. See GDC section. You are not allowed to work in primary care/general practice on temporary registration.

I have just qualified from outside the EEA with no clinical experience, what are my chances of obtaining a training post in a hospital, research or teaching post in the UK on temporary registration.

The GDC will always let you know when you are eligible to apply for posts on temporary registration but there is a big difference between being eligible to apply for a post and the possibility of success. If you are newly qualified you are unlikely to be successful in obtaining a teaching post in a UK Dental School. Most UK dental schools employ experienced part time dentists to teach undergraduate dental students and generally would not employ newly qualified dentists to fulfil this role. Similarly if you have no research experience you are unlikely to be employed into a research post. The most junior post in a UK hospital that could be appointed to on temporary registration is the Dental Core Trainee or Senior House Officer (SHO) posts if the latter still exist. These posts are usually based in hospital OMFS units. You are unlikely to obtain one of these post if you have no postgraduate clinical experience. UK graduates have undergone a five year undergraduate course then Dental Foundation Training before being appointed into a Core Trainee post.  You are strongly advised to obtain clinical experience in your country of graduation before seeking a post in the UK.

I have just arrived in the UK, are there any posts that I can apply for so that I can learn the system of working in the UK and practice for the ORE or LDS?

There are no posts specifically to help you work or adapt your skills for the ORE or LDS in the UK.

I have passed my ORE or LDS and have the right to work in the UK - do I have to apply for a Foundation Training post?

You would only be advised to apply for a Foundation Training post if you are newly qualified and have little or no work experience. Please note that these posts are advertised centrally on the London Postgraduate Deanery website. There is intense competition for these posts even among graduates from UK dental schools. You need to be aware that there are many more applicants than posts available.  You are advised to obtain clinical experience in your country of graduation before sitting the ORE or LDS and looking for employment in the UK.  If you have clinical experience in another country see the section on VT by equivalence.

Do I need a health/medical check before working in the UK?

Yes, when you apply for your name to be included on the dentist register with the GDC, you will have to supply a declaration of health status. If you work for the NHS you will also need  an occupational health medical check before starting work.

Will I need my own professional indemnity and be a member of a defence organisation?

If you are on the dentist register you will need to make adequate arrangements for indemnity so that patients can claim compensation. Indemnity must either be provided by the individual dentist or in some posts the employers will arrange cover. It is the dentist’s responsibility to ensure that adequate indemnity is in place before starting work.

I am an overseas qualified dentist and I have just passed the ORE or LDS on a visitor visa. Can I take up a training post that would be eligible for temporary registration with the GDC?

No - you cannot take up a training post on a visitor’s visa. You could make an application for a post if you satisfy the person specification and if successful, subject to the resident labour market test, you could apply for a tier 2 Visa.

What is Tier 5 MTI?

MTI (under Tier 5) will enable suitably qualified overseas postgraduate dentists to undertake a fixed period of training in the UK before returning back to their own country. MTI can cover virtually any post in a hospital as long as it is designed to deliver training and education that will benefit the overseas dentist. The purpose of this scheme is to enable the overseas dentist to return home after the period of training and be able to apply the skills and knowledge learned during their time in the UK to their own health care system. The MTI must have the approval of the postgraduate dean and must not adversely affect existing training commitments. In dentistry, the NACPDE, within the Faculty of Dental Surgery, manages the MTI. See section on tier 5

How long can I stay on Tier 5?

A maximum period of two years in the UK, after which you must return to your home country.

If I have arrived in the UK on a Tier 5 Visa or a Commonwealth Scholarship, can I change my visa in the UK and stay?

No. The overseas dentist must return to their home country immediately after their training on a tier 5 Visa has been completed. There is no possibility of developing a career in the UK via this route of re-entry or transferring to another tier while in the UK.

Are there any dental attachment or observer posts available for me to get to know the system in the UK?

No. In dentistry these posts were discontinued many years ago.

I qualified from outside the EEA; can I avoid sitting the ORE or LDS examination by entering a UK Dental School for a few years and qualifying with a UK degree?

No, your opportunity to work in the UK is via the ORE or LDS.

I am a qualified dentist in my own country, can I work as a dental nurse or hygienist in the UK?

In the UK dental nurses and hygienists are regulated by the GDC. The GDC maintains a register of qualified dental nurses and hygienists. You would only be able to work in the UK as a dental nurse or hygienist if you were on the appropriate register or training to qualify to be included on the register.

If I enrol as a postgraduate student from a UK university and I am awarded a PhD or Masters Degree, will I be exempt from passing the ORE or LDS?

No, you will still need to pass the ORE or LDS.

I work as a specialist in my own country, which is outside the EEA. I am planning to move to the UK and work as a specialist, will I have to pass the ORE or LDS even if I only want to work in my own specialty and don’t intend performing any routine dentistry?

You will still have to pass the ORE or LDS.

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