International Healthcare Workers
If you are looking to relocate to the UK, we can find you your ideal role. We have opportunities with NHS Trusts and private healthcare organisations throughout the country. So, whether you want to live and work in a city or prefer the countryside, we’ve got it covered. We make it our mission to help you every step of the way. With global offices offering end-to-end support, including assistance in preparation for English language proficiency testing, we can help you find a permanent position.
As one of the UK’s largest health and social care recruiters, we can help you secure your ideal role.
Discover more about the English language tests you will need to pass and how we can help.
Enjoy a smooth and seamless relocation to the UK with our wraparound support service.
Simply upload your CV and relax as we find you a role and guide you through the process.
Our partnership with Alliance Medical Ltd for international recruitment
We speak to Claire Eckersley, Clinical Resourcing Manager at Alliance Medical Ltd about their international recruitment and why they chose to work with Sanctuary International.What is your role at Alliance Medical Ltd?My role as Clinical Resourcing Manager involves planning and creating relationships within our existing workforce and also looking at how we can recruit more staff. There’s approximately an 11% Radiographer skills deficit here in the UK so another part of my role is to develop relationships with universities running Radiography degree courses across the country. We can look to offer valuable support via clinical placements for Radiography students. Providers that traditionally offer placements are struggling because the demand for more radiographers means that universities need to attract more students, but they can’t do that if there are not enough placements available. It’s a vicious circle. That’s where we come in. We started to offer university placements for students on an informal basis called electives; students would typically spend a few days with us or maybe even a week. Now, we’ve formed partnerships with four universities where we can offer longer, more engaging placements for students to allow them to expand their learning and growth. We support undergraduates throughout their studies, and eventually offer them a place within our graduate scheme to learn MRI/CT or PET-CT; something I’m proud to have developed. I also look at the internal development and workflow of our staff and work with managers on recruitment; this includes the interview process, where I offer support from the clinical side of things (as I’m also a Clinical CT Senior Radiographer). A big focus of mine is exploring how we increase our pipeline with the EU and Brexit; we now look to recruit internationally in places we perhaps wouldn’t have before, which has opened up some exciting doors for us.Why did you choose to work with Sanctuary International?We first engaged with Sanctuary International about 10 months ago; we instantly connected with them as a business. I was working on an international project plan at the time, and part of that was asking, ‘how do we attract international applicants, and onboard them better than we currently do’? We had a big international workforce already, but we knew we could do it better and more consistently. Taking on this project gave our managers more assurance that we’d be getting high quality overseas applicants. The decision to work with an international recruitment partner like Sanctuary International was to attract a higher caliber of applicant, but also to give our staff some assurance of quality. When we were looking for an agency partner, we wanted to find someone who understood us as a business, our visions and values, and also who had a strong presence in the international marketplace. We needed guidance and support in this process and felt that Sanctuary International had the right approach to resourcing outside of the UK and that personable approach we were looking for. We knew we’d need to form a great working relationship with whoever we chose, and it was evident from the outset that they could deliver on this.Have you always recruited internationally?International recruitment has been part of Alliance Medical Ltd’s strategy for the last 10 years. Some years prior we had a large contract with NHS England to supply MRI services. We were looking for applicants in Canada and Australia on three-year contracts and recruited about 30 Radiographers. After that, we weren’t actively pursuing international applicants but still managed to attract them to our roles. This was largely due to referrals from existing staff (which is a big part of our international recruitment process too) whereby an overseas applicant would come and work for us, tell their friends and family back home, who’d then often come and work for us too. What has been your highlight?A highlight of international recruitment is seeing how impressed overseas applicants are with the training and development opportunities we’re able to offer them. They also express that their work/life balance is much better here. We see, as employers, how hard our overseas applicants work. Their work ethic is usually exceptional. This is because often they want to work here for a better life, not only for themselves but also for their families who they support back home. We have some international staff who are incredibly invested in Alliance Medical Ltd as a company, have been with us for 5-10 years and are now British Citizens. They’re keen to work for an organisation where they feel supported and part of something really important; a company that doesn’t take them for granted. What has been the main challenge?The integration process of new arrivals into our company, and into UK life generally. For some, moving to the UK is a very big cultural difference and can be daunting. So, to rise to this challenge, we pledged to do more as an organisation. This included raising our cultural and diversity awareness; something we’re proud to be doing as part of this recruitment drive with Sanctuary International. We’re soon to start our cultural and life awareness sessions for new overseas workers, and if we then feel that any individuals need further support, we can offer that via an external provider. We also try buddying new arrivals up with a mentor with the same nationality. Overall, we’ve found international recruitment to be a very positive experience. What advice would you give to other companies considering international recruitment? Ensure your interview process is really thorough. We do a two-stage interview process (an initial general interview, followed by a very robust clinical interview) to assess applicants’ skills. From our time working with Sanctuary International, we’ve realised the importance of having a strong partnership. This gives us an assurance that the applicants coming through to us are of a certain standard. Yes, this can take time to develop, but it’s totally worth it. I’ve been very pleased with the process so far.To find out more about the opportunities available at Alliance Medical Ltd, please get in touch.
What is the OSCE exam in the UK?
If you’re planning to move to the UK for a nursing role, you will need to sit the Objective Structured Clinical Examination (OSCE). It’s a competency test that is part of the Nursing and Midwifery Council’s (NMC) registration process for nurses and midwives trained outside the EU/EEA. What do you have to do in the OSCE exam?You will be required to act out scenarios that nurses and midwives are likely to experience when assessing, planning, delivering, and evaluating care in the UK. The exam is made up of six sections, using simulated patients in a clinical setting. Four of these are designed to test a person’s knowledge of assessment and evaluation of care, and the two remaining sections test clinical skills. How to prepare for the OSCE examIn the run-up to the OSCE exam, you will be given support and the opportunity to practise and prepare. An essential part of the preparation will be familiarising yourself with the NMC nursing exam blueprints. These will set out the content of the OSCE exam in terms of the topics and procedures that a newly registered nurse would need to know and be able to demonstrate. Other preparation support includes dedicated Facebook groups, mock exams and practice rooms. Where can I take the OSCE exam?Individuals must complete the OSCE exam in the UK, at an authorised test centre. There are now three universities that are approved OSCE test centres:University of NorthamptonOxford Brookes UniversityUlster University (Northern Ireland) How long do I have to sit the OSCE exam?A person coming into the UK for a nursing or midwifery role has up to three months, from the employment start date noted on their certificate of sponsorship (CoS), to sit the OSCE exam. During this time, they can be legally employed as a pre-registration candidate. For more information on sitting the OSCE exam, or for additional preparation advice, get in touch with Paul Hayward, our Head of Nursing (International).
Visa application centres reopen in UK and overseas
In March 2020, immigration into the UK was suspended when the Home Office made the decision to close all UK visa application centres in-light of the COVID-19 (coronavirus) pandemic. Now, months on, UK Visas & Immigration (UKVI) is beginning to resume its services, reopening some UK and overseas visa application centres. On 1 June 2020, ‘Phase One’ was launched, and on 22 June 2020 UKVI transitioned into ‘Phase Two’ with the reopening of additional overseas UK visa application centres (where local conditions allowed). ‘Phase Three’ is now underway, with UK visa application centres opening again in four Middle Eastern countries – including Bahrain, Kuwait, the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia – on 28 June 2020. A full list of visa application centres that have reopened or are due to reopen. UK visa application centres are only giving appointments to those who had one booked before the centre closed, and subsequently had it postponed. The Home Office is still attempting to process and clear the backlog of applications that were put on hold. It’s important to remember that those who are submitting applications now are likely to face delays in getting an appointment. More information on visa application centres.Regarding visa application centres outside the UK, some are only rebooking appointments for existing applicants. We advise checking the latest information for the country where you’re submitting your application. Application centres both in the UK and overseas won’t be offering priority or super priority services to process applications at this time. VIP mobile appointments – where the biometrics team come to an applicant’s home or office – have also not yet resumed. The Home Office are making changes on a daily basis. For more information or advice, get in touch with the Sanctuary International team.
How do I contact the NMC?
What is NMC registration? The Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) is the regulator for nursing and midwifery professions in the UK. It maintains a register of all nurses, midwives, specialist community public health nurses and nursing associates who practice in the UK. It works to ensure staff in these professions have the skills to deliver consistent, quality care that keeps patients safe. There are a few ways that you can get in touch with them: By phoneYou can contact the NMC between 8:00am-5:45pm, Monday to Friday (excluding bank holidays). Try to avoid their busiest time of day, which is 10:00am-12:00pm. The NMC phone number: General enquiries, and fitness to practice: 020 7637 7181 Registration enquiries: 020 7333 9333 International enquiries: 020 7333 6600 By emailTo help the NMC team respond swiftly to your enquiry, you’ll need to provide your PIN, PRN – a personal reference number you’ll need every time you contact them, once you’ve requested an application form – or Candidate ID in your email (if relevant). The NMC email address: If you trained in the UK, or are registered with them: UKenquiries@nmc-uk.org If you trained in the EU: EU.email@example.com If you trained outside the EU: firstname.lastname@example.org Reporting a concern about someone on the NMC register: email@example.com The NMC aims to respond to emails within 10 working days. It’s also important to note that if you’re sending supporting information via email, they ask that attachments exceeding 25MB are sent in smaller individual batches to ensure they’ll be received. There are others ways you can contact the NMC, including making a data protection request, filing a complaint and contacting their media team. If you have a question relating to the COVID-19 (coronavirus) pandemic, check out their COVID-19 information hub. Here, you’ll be able to find information on how the NMC are continuing to regulate, their temporary registration, and how to raise any concerns you might have. You can also read their FAQs, which may have the answer to you need. For any additional advice, please get in touch with Paul Hayward, our Head of Nursing (International).
NMC changes requirements for overseas mental health nurses
The Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) has confirmed that they have recently changed their requirements for overseas mental health nurses joining the register. Previously, nurses would need education and prior experience in mental health to be able to join the register and practice in the UK. However, the NMC are now advising that the mental health part of the register only requires a general nursing qualification and no previous experience, as long as they have qualified and registered in their country of training. Applicants will also need to be confident that they’ll pass the Computer Based Test (CBT) and the Objective Structured Clinical Examination (OSCE), based on mental health. As the NMC do not require applicants to have prior experience, there’s no need for overseas nurses to complete a top-up mental health course; something that was previously needed. They also won’t need employment references, unless the applicants are using English Language Evidence Type 3 (practiced for one year in a majority English-speaking country). The NMC is the regulator for nursing and midwifery professions in the UK. It maintains a register of all nurses, midwives, specialist community public health nurses and nursing associates who practice in the UK. It works to ensure staff in these professions have the skills to deliver consistent, quality care that keeps patients safe. It supports professionals to acquire the knowledge and behaviours required to join the NMC register, whilst also shaping practice by developing and promoting standards with its NMC Code. The Code is structured around four themes; prioritise people, practice effectively, preserve safety and promote professionalism and trust. For more information and advice on joining the NMC register as an overseas mental health nurse, get in touch with Paul Hayward, our Head of Nursing (International). Alternatively, you can get in touch with the NMC.
Can I take the IELTS test online?
What is the IELTS test? The International English Language Testing System (IELTS) is one of the world’s most popular English language proficiency tests. It prepares you for working in the UK in your dream healthcare role, and measures your listening, writing, speaking and reading abilities for the English language, whilst also assessing your general communication skills. To register as a doctor with the General Medical Council (GMC) you must complete and pass the IELTS Academic, achieving a score of at least: 7.0 within the listening and reading sections 7.0 within the writing and speaking sections This must equate to an overall score of 7.5 (out of a possible 9). If you trained as a nurse in a non-native English-speaking country, the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) requires evidence of an IELTS score of at least 7.0 in all areas and a recent pre-registration nursing qualification that was taught and examined in English. Where can I take the IELTS test? You must take your IELTS exam at a certified test centre. Due to restrictions caused by the COVID-19 (coronavirus) pandemic, many people have been wondering if it’s possible to take the IELTS test online. The simple answer is no. It has now been confirmed that the new online version of the test – the IELTS Indicator – is not accepted by certain regulatory bodies, including the NMC. The IELTS Indicator was developed to minimise disruption to people who are ready and waiting to take their IELTS tests. It was online and assessed a person’s English language skills in a timed test. To ensure that the test focused on real-life conversation skills, students would conduct their speaking test face-to-face with a trained IELTS examiner via video call. So, why is the IELTS Indicator test not accepted anymore? The test has the same high-quality standards, format and timing as the in-person version, and is also marked by official IELTS examiners. However, after careful consideration, the NMC has confirmed that it cannot accept the IELTS Indicator test. This is because the security measures for the indicator test are not comparable to those in place for the face-to-face test and don’t meet the standards it requires for registration. For more information about IELTS testing, please get in touch with Keith Pilkington, our Head of Operations (International).
Relocating to the UK to start a new life and healthcare career is a big move for anyone. But it’s an exciting one. Sanctuary International Healthcare will help you every step of the way. We’ll find you a job, help you apply, assist you with your VISA application, explore your housing options and even meet you at the airport!
Working in the United Kingdom
The UK is one of the most appealing countries to practice as an international healthcare professional. With attractive rates of pay and many learning opportunities, moving to the UK for work is exciting. The start of a new journey. Why Sanctuary International?Placing people first, we offer a free service to assist international healthcare professionals in relocating.Working with NHS Trusts and private healthcare organisations since 2006, we can find you a role anywhere in the UK. We also make sure you're supported throughout the process. Not just with securing a job but with the entire relocation process. Complete UK coverage With over 190 employers relying on us to fill nursing, medical, GP and mental health vacancies, we're one of the biggest healthcare recruitment agencies in the UK. English language trainingWhat’s more, with global recruitment offices and English language training centres as far away as the Philippines and India, we can help make sure language is not a barrier for you. Your dedicated consultant A consultant from our International team will help you throughout the entire process. This includes assisting you with obtaining the right English language skills required to practice as a healthcare professional in the UK. As a promise to you, you’ll only ever be presented with suitable employment opportunities.Let us help you make the move, register today.
Moving to the UK for work is a major life decision, but one that you’ve likely been thinking about for some time. We understand that you'll be excited and nervous. This is exactly why we offer a wraparound relocation support service. Every day, we help international candidates, just like you, with relocating to the UK. A tailored service designed around your needs; we can offer you as much support as you need. RegistrationThere are many registration bodies in the UK for specific healthcare professions. We understand this can be confusing. Your Sanctuary International consultant will inform you which body you'll need to register with, and the process involved. We can guide you through each step of the registration process to make it as straightforward as possible. Visa applicationMost of the candidates we place come to the UK on an initial 2 year working visa. Wherever we can, we will guide you through the visa application process. TravelWhilst we are not a tour operator, we can assist you with finding the best and least expensive transport options to the UK. If you're travelling by plane, we will meet you at the airport and organise your airport transfer to take you to where you will be staying. Finding accommodation Most people, unless they have relatives to stay with, will require accommodation. Many of our candidates are offered hospital accommodation, but if you're looking for alternative places to stay, we can help. We have great contacts with local housing providers. Find out more about renting a property in the UK.FinancialsHaving a bank account is essential to make sure you are paid as quickly as possible, as is having a National Insurance Number. We’ll guide you through establishing both. Find out how to open a UK bank account.Registering with a GP and dentistWhilst you’re unlikely to need a GP or dentist straight away, it’s always best to register at a practice as soon as you have secured accommodation. Our consultants will inform you how you can do this. Schools and childcareIf you are relocating with your young family, we can help. All children aged 5-16 living in the UK are entitled to a free place at a state school. Free education is also extended to those aged 16-19. There’s also nursery provision for children aged 3-4 to prepare them for school. Find out more about applying for a school place.There are specific deadlines for applying for primary and secondary school places in the UK. It is best to visit your council’s website for more information once you know where you will be living. Supporting you throughout your employmentWe’re always here for you. Once you start your new job, we’ll keep in touch to make sure you are happy.For more relocation help, visit our blog.
UK Living Costs
Living costs in the UK are generally straightforward to manage and predict. To help you understand what they are likely to be, we’ve included a short overview of each main outgoing. National Insurance and Income Tax You will need to pay both National Insurance and Income Tax. These will be automatically deducted from your pay each month. To find out what your likely payments will be and how to set them up, you can ask your Sanctuary International consultant who will provide you with advice based on your role. Council TaxCouncil tax is a tax levied on households by local authorities in the UK. It is based on the estimated value of the property you reside in and the number of people living there. Your council tax costs will depend on the size and location of the property you intend to rent or buy. It’s impossible to give an exact amount since each Council in the UK is responsible for setting its own rates. When you’ve found a property, it’s best to ask the local council for information about the tax band you'll be on and the associated cost each month. ChildcareChildcare costs can be expensive, but there is plenty of support available for working parents. If your child is aged 3-4 you could be entitled to send them to nursery for a specified number of hours each week. RentDepending on where in the UK you want to work, rent can vary. If the rent is high in one area it might be less a short distance away. You could consider a slightly longer travel to work to pay less rent. For example, there are some great places outside cities that offer excellent accommodation and convenient travel links. Find out more about renting a property in the UK.PensionIn the UK, it is a legal requirement for employers to enrol employees into a workplace pension. Unless you opt out of the scheme, a percentage of your pay will automatically be put into a pension scheme. The employer may also add money to the scheme. Find out more about pensions and how they work.Property running costsEnergy and water bills all need to be considered. The cost will largely depend on how much you consume and the size of your property. Get an idea of how much your energy bills are likely to be and how to compare utility prices.TV LicenceWhilst not a huge cost, you must pay for a TV licence if you watch or record programmes on a TV, computer or other device. A colour TV licence costs £154.50 per year, and a black and white licence costs £52. You can choose to pay monthly or yearly. Running a carIf you're working in a city, the chances are you might not need a car. But if you do, you will need to consider three main costs. These are insurance, road tax, and MOT. All are a legal requirement. It is a criminal offence to not have these in place whilst driving a car.Find out which countries' driving licenses are valid in the UK.Public transportMost places in the UK have great public transport links. You’ll want to fully explore your options. Most people in London travel on the Underground and into the city via National Rail. There are numerous bus routes too. For more local public transport, visit your local council website. Mobile phone and internetStaying connected to family and friends will be a top priority for you. Many mobile phone providers offer competitive international call deals. Likewise, the same applies to the internet. There are some great deals available. For many of our candidates, the cheapest and most personable way to stay connected is on Skype or Google Hangout. Want to find out more? Register with Sanctuary today!
Requirements of working in the UK
The information that Sanctuary International requires from you depends on where you currently live and the type of job you wish to apply for. We successfully place both EU and non-EU candidates into a variety of professional healthcare roles. Depending on your practice area, you will need to be registered with the following professional councils:Doctors – GMC registrationNurses – NMC registrationAllied Health Professionals – HCPC registrationYou can apply for a position before registering with the relevant professional council if you hold specific professional degree level qualifications. Please ask your Sanctuary International consultant who will provide you with further information. We can even act on your behalf to complete the registration process, provided the relevant forms have been completed. Police checksLegally, you will need to obtain a police check from any country where you have spent 12 months or more living in over the past 10 years. Tier 2 visa candidatesAs a healthcare professional from outside the EU, you will require a Tier 2 visa to work in the UK, which will require sponsorship. The certificate of sponsorship (COS) is granted by the employer; the hospital or trust where you've been offered a position. Once the visa is issued, you have 28 days to arrive in the UK. Once you receive your COS, you can start your digital Tier 2 visa application. The process is straightforward. In terms of costs, some employers may offer to cover the expense of obtaining a visa. Your consultant will be able to advise you on whether this is an option. It’s impossible to give an exact time frame, but you’ll usually receive your visa within four weeks. English Language Proficiency (UKVI IELTS)As part of your visa application, you are required, by law, to sit the IELTS exam at a UKVI testing facility. That is, if you have not already taken the exam for NMC/GMC/HCPC registration and that it is still valid.Why is this so important? Because it tests your English Language Proficiency for entering the UK. If you have any concerns over your ability to pass the IELTS, we can help. We even have several international English language training schools you could access. To find out more, visit our English language page.