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FAQ's: Working in the UK

By Luke Aldred

Moving to the UK is a big adjustment. You may have always known that you wanted to work here and may have directed your training accordingly, or you may have only recently realised that it was an option for you. Whatever the case, we’re sure that you will have thousands of questions that need answering before you step onto a plane and fly over here. We want to make the process as seamless as possible. This is why we are sharing some of our most frequently asked questions. This list isn’t exhaustive, and we know that you’ll still have plenty more questions to come, but it should give you a brief insight into what to expect if you chose to relocate so that you can work in the UK.

Do I need to be registered with a professional body to work?

Yes. In the UK our healthcare professions are heavily regulated, and rightly so. The professional bodies are responsible for maintaining standards of practice and without registration, you will not be able to gain employment.

You may be able to start the job application process prior to confirming your registration if you have a specific professional degree-level qualification.

If you need help registering with the relevant professional council, then please speak with your Sanctuary consultant. If you complete some forms, we can act on your behalf to finalise the registration process, allowing you to focus on other matters.

Do you undertake any background checks?

Yes. We are extremely stringent with our background checks because we know that our community is working directly with people at their most vulnerable. Legally, we need to have a police check from any country where you have spent 12 months or more living in over the past 10 years. From a recruitment perspective, we will also require previous employer references and right to work documentation. We are committed to safe recruitment practices and our background checks are taken extremely seriously.

Do I need a visa to work in the UK?

This depends upon your nationality.

  • Moving to the UK from the EU - Currently in the UK, if you live in an EU member state you are welcome to live and work here without any visa. However, this is subject to change in October 2019 as a result of the UK’s anticipated withdrawal from the EU.
    As the situation becomes clearer, we will be better placed to communicate any additional visa requirements with our community.

  • Moving to the UK from outside the EU - In this instance, you will need a Tier 2 visa which will require sponsorship from your forthcoming employer (usually the hospital or the NHS Trust). When your employer grants you sponsorship, you will receive a certificate of sponsorship which will allow you to start your digital Tier 2 visa application. Whilst the application is relatively straightforward you do need to be aware that your certificate of sponsorship will expire within 90 days, so time is of the essence. You will need to have completed your relocation within this time. You may find that your new employer will be able to cover the expense of obtaining a visa. If this is the case, then your Sanctuary consultant will be able to advise accordingly.

English is not my first language. Will this be a problem?

Whilst speaking multiple languages is a great asset, particularly in large multi-cultural cities such as London or Birmingham, you will need to be able to be fluent in English. As a doctor or a nurse, you’ll understand that communication is just as important as qualifications or experience. It’s vital that you can converse with patients in an understandable way. In order to check your language proficiency, you will have to pass an International English Language Testing System (IELTS) exam. This is the only test approved by UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI) and there are different requirements for doctors and nurses.

If you need help with your English language skills, we run two English language training schools; one in Manila in the Philippines and another in Mumbai in India to help our international candidates gain the English language skills they need. If you are relocating to the UK from a majority English-speaking country (perhaps Australia, New Zealand or the United States of America) you may not need to take this exam. Your Sanctuary consultant will be able to confirm your status during the application stage of the process.

Requirements for Doctors

If you wish to work as a doctor in the UK, the General Medical Council require that you pass an ‘academic’ version of the IELTS. To pass you mush achieve a score of at least:

  • 7.0 within the listening and reading elements

  • 7.0 within the writing and speaking sections

  • And, an overall score of 7.5 (out of a possible 9).

Requirements for Nurses

If you wish to work as a nurse and you completed your training in a non-native English-speaking country, you have two options. You can either complete the IELTS or you can take the Occupational English Test (OET). If you take the IELTS, the Nursing and Midwifery Council require that you score at least a 7.0 in all areas and they will need to see a recent pre-registration nursing qualification that was taught and examined in English. For the OET, you will need a least a grade B in all areas. For the OET, you will need at least a B in reading, listening and speaking, and a C+ in writing.

What tax will I be expected to pay in the UK?

In the UK, tax is relatively straight-forward and as a paid employee you will be required to pay tax on your earnings. Each month, Income Tax and National Insurance will be automatically deducted from your pay. Information is available on the website which will give you an insight into how much you this will likely be. You will also need to pay council tax, which is a payment amount determined by local authorities. This tax helps to pay for services such as waste collection and maintenance of public services such as roads and parks. Your council tax costs will depend on the size and location of the property you intend to live in. Rates will differ depending on where you choose to live in the UK.

What support will Sanctuary offer once I’m in the UK?

We know that our international community needs a bit more care and attention – after all, moving to a new country is a big deal! That’s why we go above and beyond to help you feel settled. We’ll help you with all the nitty-gritty, from visa applications and registration requirements through to supporting you with accommodation or travel requests. We’ll even greet you at the airport and help you find your way to your new home.And our support doesn’t end there. Once you’re settled, we’ll help you register with your local doctor and dentist and give you support if you are relocating with your family. We’ll do whatever it takes to help you feel like you’re at home.

This FAQ is just a short insight into what requirements you need to work in the UK.

If you do have any further questions that you would like answered, please get in touch with us.