International Healthcare.


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.

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Why Sanctuary?

As one of the UK’s largest health and social care recruiters, we can help you secure your ideal role.

English language testing

Discover more about the English language tests you will need to pass and how we can help.

Supporting your journey

Enjoy a smooth and seamless relocation to the UK with our wraparound support service. 


Take your first step

Simply upload your CV and relax as we find you a role and guide you through the process. 

Getting your journey started

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.

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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. 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. 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.

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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. 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. 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. 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.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!

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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 registrationSocial Work – HCPC registration (soon to be replaced by Social Work England)Allied 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.

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English Language Tests

As a doctor or nurse relocating to the UK, having the right English language skills is just as important as having the correct qualifications and experience. There are many ways to ensure this, but the most common is passing the IELTS with the expected score for your profession; we have just the right structure in place to support you.We run two English language training schools; one in Manila, the Philippines and another in Mumbai, India to help our international candidates gain the English language skills they need. What is the IELTS?IELTS is the International English Language Testing System. It tests the English language proficiency of non-native English language speakers. Crucially, it's the only test approved by UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI). If you are from a non-native English-speaking country, you will need to pass it to be able to work in the UK. That’s why it’s important you work towards achieving the expected score as soon as possible. English language testing for doctorsTo register as a doctor with the GMC, you must complete and pass the ‘academic version’ of the IELTS to be able to register with the GMC. You must achieve a score of at least:7.0 within the listening and reading elements7.0 within the writing and speaking sectionsAnd, an overall score of 7.5 (out of a possible 9). English language testing for nursesIf you trained as a nurse in a non-native English-speaking country, you will need to either complete the IELTS or the Occupational English Test (OET). The NMC will require evidence of an IELTS score of at least 7 in all areas and 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. Countries exempt from taking the IELTS/OETIf you live in a country considered to be majority English speaking, you may not need to take the IELTS or OET. Your Sanctuary International consultant will be able to advise you.For more information about English language testing, email our team your CV.

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International Frequently Asked Questions

​Registration and relocationWhat are the minimum requirements to get an interview for a nursing role in the UK? The minimum requirements for a nursing role are a Nursing BSc Hons or MSc degree, a nursing registration from your home country and passing the International English Language Testing System (IELTS) or Occupational English Test (OET). Depending on the NHS hospital, previous experience of working within a nursing role is also required. What are the minimum requirements to register with the General Medical Council (GMC) as a doctor? The minimum requirements are having a primary medical qualification and a post-graduate qualification. For international workers, the Professional and Linguistic Assessments Board (PLAB). What’s covered in your relocation package? VisaImmigration health surcharge Flights to the UK1-3 months of accommodationObjective Structured Clinical Examination (OSCE) test and free trainingReimbursement of the IELTS or OET test, and the Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) and Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) registration Can I bring my spouse/family when I relocate to the UK? Yes – once you’ve been issued a Certificate of Sponsorship (COS) which is a Tier 2 skilled visa, by your hospital. You’ll then be able to sponsor your immediate family (e.g. husband/wife and children under the age of 18) to be relocated with you. You will need to pay the cost of sponsoring your family as the hospitals don’t pay these costs. Find out more information on applying for a family visa, which usually takes 3-4 weeks (working days). How do I apply for jobs?Please email an up-to-date CV to our international team at along with your IELTS/OET results. We’ll be in touch. Working in the UKAs a nurse, what salary can I expect?Nurses recruited on Band 4 = £21,089 (pre OSCE) and on Band 5 = £24,214 (passed OSCE).What support will I receive from Sanctuary International?We will support you by reviewing your CV to ensure it meets the required criteria and arrange for you to interview at an NHS hospital (also providing mock interview prep). We’ll give you CBT study material, help with the NMC registration and connect you with your hospital for general questions. We also help with the visa application process as well as settling you into the UK. What help is there when I start working?A representative from the hospital will meet and greet you at the airport and take you to your new accommodation. You’ll then be given a corporate induction into the Trust, introduced to an OSCE trainer (training is approximately 4-6 weeks), receive a welcome pack and a loan, if needed. You’ll also have a bank account set up for you, as well as being registered with a local doctor and dentist. What are the normal working hours and holiday entitlement? Working hours are 37.5 hours per week with a rotating shift pattern of Monday-Sunday (for doctors this may differ). There is the option of bank work too. You’ll be entitled to 27 days annual leave per year. What sort of team will I be working in? You’ll be working alongside a team of multi-disciplinary workers including healthcare assistants, Allied Health Professionals (AHPs), doctors and consultants. Life in the UKWhat are the house prices and living costs, and how do they vary nationally? And, what tourist attractions are there? This depends on where you’re based, geographically. Read our blog on what to expect from life in the UK. What’s the benefit of working and living in the UK?There are many! The main benefits are the exciting professional opportunities that are available to you, enabling you to support your family. There’s also the stability of working for the NHS; one of the largest employers in the world. If you have any further questions, please get in touch.

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