Plenty of our doctors have relocated to the UK - we know how confusing this process can be!
We've pulled together a 10 step guide to working in the UK. We hope this answers all your queries, but if you need more advice you can contact our Permanent recruitment team on 0208 099 6947 or by emailing

Step 1: Getting your Primary Medical Qualification

Step 2: Obtaining required score in IELTS/OET
Before you are able to register with the GMC, you’ll need to demonstrate a sound understanding of the English language. International doctors do this by achieving a required score in either the International Language Test System (IELTS) or the Occupational English Test (OET). Each test has the below components:
  • Speaking
  • Listening
  • Reading
  • Writing
The required score for the IELTS is 7.5 or more overall. For the OET, you’ll need to achieve a level B in each section.

Register for IELTS here.
Apply for OET here.

Step 3: Taking PLAB 1
When you have completed your English language test, you can then take your PLAB 1. The GMC uses the Professional and Linguistic Assessment Board (PLAB) test to ensure that doctors have the basic medical competence to practice in the UK.

For more information on what kind of questions are included, where you can take the exam, how to prepare... refer to the GMC guide.

Step 4: EPIC Verification of your credentials
Electronic Portfolio of International Credentials (EPIC) is an online verification portal. You will need to set up an account and upload the required qualifications for verification. The company will then liaise directly with your awarding institution to confirm their authenticity. When completing your GMC application, your EPIC ID will need to be provided. 

Step 5: PLAB 2 and your visitor visa
PLAB 2 takes place in the UK throughout the year. Once you have passed PLAB 1 you will be able to view available dates to book PLAB 2. The exam covers everything a UK trained doctor might expect to see on the first day of Foundation Year Two (F2). Remember to refer to the GMC guide.

During your 6 months visitor visa you could potentially:
  • Pass PLAB 2
  • Apply for and obtain GMC registration
  • Apply for jobs and interview
  • Finalise job and get a Certificate of Sponsorship to apply for a work visa
  • Undertake a Clinical Attachment (unpaid observing) to gain NHS experience before starting a paid position
Step 6: Appling for your GMC
After passing PLAB 2, don’t worry if you do return home, you can apply for your GMC registration online via the GMC website.

Step 7: Looking for a job in the NHS
Our specialist permanent division at Holt Doctors can guide you through the job application process and don’t worry if you’re not in the country, many hospitals conduct Skype interviews... so technically, you can get a job in the UK from your own living room!

Step 8: Applying for a Tier 2 (work) visa
Once we have found you your perfect job and you’ve accepted an offer of employment, the hospital will apply for a sponsorship certificate. Upon receiving this, they will forward this to you and with that, you will be able to apply for a work visa. We will appoint a specialist visa company to assist you in completing this application.

Step 9: Relocating
  • Location
The UK has a wide variety of possible options. VisitBritain provides information on specific parts of the UK.
  • England
  • Scotland
  • Wales
  • Northern Ireland
Living costs in the UK really vary, depending on where you live.
  • Housing
Cardiff (Wales), Edinburgh (Scotland), London (England), and Belfast (Northern Ireland) are the capitals within the UK, with the highest cost of living being London. The most popular housing options are renting and buying. This is usually done through estate agents and properties can be found on Rightmove.
  • Cost of living
As well as your Rent, there are also other outgoings to consider:
  • Council Tax – This is calculated based on where you live and how many people live with you (if you live alone, it’s much less)
  • Utilities - Gas, water, electricity
  • Television Licence - The cost of the license is £154 per year for a colour television
You can visit cost-of-living/UK for further information.
  • Education
If you’re bringing family along, the UK has some great schooling options. The state schools are funded by the government and are free for all pupils. Education is compulsory for all children between the ages of 5 and 18. To apply for a school place, you can visit the local council website - SchoolAdmissions.
  • Opening a UK bank account
Unlike some other countries, in the UK, you don't have to pay for a bank account! It's worth checking with your existing bank to see if they have a relationship with a bank that has a presence in the UK. If not, our permanent team has great relationships with UK banks - these connections will guide you through the process for this step. For more information visit this website.

Main banks in the UK include:
  • Barclays
  • Lloyds
  • HSBC
  • NatWest 
All of the above offer international bank account options.
  • Driving in the UK
You may be able to drive in the UK (England, Scotland and Wales) for up to 12 months on your international license. You can check your eligibility on GOV.UK.

Step 10: The NHS
The NHS was launched in 1948 and is the UKs largest employer. It is a government-funded medical and health care service that everyone in the UK can use without being asked to pay.

These services include:
  • Visiting a doctor or a nurse at a doctor’s surgery
  • Getting help and treatment at a hospital if you are unwell or injured
  • Seeing a midwife if you are pregnant
  • Getting urgent help from healthcare professionals working in the ambulance services if you have serious or life-threatening injuries or health problems - this might include being transported to hospital
REMEMBER: Holt Doctors is here to help you throughout the whole process, including clear advice on finding the best schools for your dependents, suitable locations and making the visa application. If you have queries that we haven't covered, don't hesitate to give us a call on 0208 099 6947.

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