GMC registration is crucial for any international medical graduate wishing to live and work in the UK as a doctor, as it allows you to practice medicine there. However, there isn’t a fixed route to GMC registration. While some requirements – such as certificates of good standing and ID checks – are needed from every application, other requirements differ from applicant to applicant. So, for example, instead of having a post-graduate qualification or passing the PLAB tests, some people wanting their GMC registration might get it via MTI sponsorship.
MTI (medical training initiative) is a sponsorship scheme designed for trainee doctors from outside of the UK. It is offered by a number of Royal colleges and Institutions, including the Royal College of Physicians, with the purpose being to train overseas doctors in the UK for two years before sending them back to their home country with all the knowledge and experience behind them. The ultimate goal is to improve healthcare in other countries while filling open NHS positions in UK hospitals.
It’s important to note that the while the MTI sponsorship provides a path for GMC registration, it only allows you to work in the UK for two years with the Government Authorised Exchange Visa (temporary work visa). None of those two years counts toward British residency, either. In the end, you’ll receive a Diploma in UK Medical Practice, but you will have to return to your home country (unless you apply for a different visa). That’s the whole point of the scheme – it’s for international doctors to learn skills while working in the NHS and then use those skills to improve the healthcare system in their home country.
The MTI sponsorship is not for everybody looking at getting the GMC registration. Instead, it’s for those that only want to temporarily work in the UK, with their long-term career plans being back in their home country. It’s specifically designed for that reason. The largest college to offer MTI Sponsorship is the Royal College of Physicians (MRCP) and they only have 300 places for doctors to practice on their scheme in the UK. So while PLAB and Royal college routes have higher criteria on entry and passing, entry is more accessible and there is no restriction on numbers so you are not competing against others.
It’s also important to remember that the MTI sponsorship scheme is for those who already have experience in their chosen specialism, even if they are still early on in the career trajectory.
Below you can find the specific criteria for applying for the MTI sponsorship:
In general you should be able to apply online through the institution you would like sponsorship at. There is normally guidance on how to fill in the application on their individual websites. There is also an overview here on the AOMRC’s website. Remember to be as accurate as possible in your answers and you’ll need to include your:
If the application is successful, RCP will send you suitable roles in UK hospitals for you to apply to. This part of the application costs £125.
Next is the interview. Before the interview, you will need to pay the application fee of £725.
The interview can either take place in the UK or via Skype (which is handy for many international doctors). During the interview, expect to respond to clinical scenarios, detail your expectations for the role, and tell the interviewer about your skills and why you should do the program.
After the date of your interview, the application will be assessed, which takes up to ten working days, and will determine the outcome. If you are successful, you will receive the news via a letter or email.
If your MTI sponsorship application is successful, then, first of all, congratulations! It’s not an easy sponsorship to obtain, and it shows that you have a lot to offer the medical world in the UK and your home country.
At this stage, it’s time to focus on the GMC registration process, which you can do online. The GMC application requires certain documents, including:
The GMC application also requires you to prove your MTI sponsorship.
Once you submit your application and all the necessary documents and receive confirmation from GMC, you will be invited to an ID check in the UK. After attending this ID check and passing, you will be granted a full license to practice medicine in the UK!
Finally, you’ll need to use your GMC registration to gain access to the appropriate visa, which, in this case, is the government-authorized exchange visa (previously known as the tier 5 temporary worker visa). Think of this visa as more of a student visa than a worker’s one. While you will be working in the UK, it’s temporary. The visa will end at the end of the two years, and you’ll need to return to your home country. At this stage, you’ll receive a Diploma in UK Medical Practice.
The MTI Scheme is an elusive route to GMC Registration for many but it is possible and Dr Ray shares his experience in this video:
After you have got your GMC registration and visa, you can start living and working in the UK for two years. You’ll be working in a public hospital that works with the scheme. Before starting the placement, be sure to learn as much as possible about it, such as the job description, contact details, and what is expected of you. You should also meet your educational supervisor, who will guide you through the process.
How you get paid depends on your placement – some MTI placements get paid a salary, whereas others are paid via funding. This will be determined during the application process.
Of course – this is only one route to gaining GMC registration. It works great for some international trainee doctors, especially those who only want to work in the UK for a short period. However, it does not suit everyone. If you’d prefer to relocate to the UK more permanently, you might prefer an alternative route to GMC registration, such as the PLAB. We will go into the ins and outs of this qualification in the next article!
If we can answer any questions about the MTI Scheme or you are considering your options then please email us or comment on our social media channels.
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