Latest Blog

Can I bring my pet with me to the UK?

By Gabrielle Richardson
September 18, 2019

You can enter or return to the UK with your pet cat or dog if it meets the following criteria: It has microchipped It has a pet passport or third-country official veterinary certificate It has been vaccinated against rabies If you are travelling from an ‘unlisted country’, it will need to have a blood test Must have had tapeworm treatment If you do not follow the above steps, then your pet may be put into quarantine for up to four months or get refused entry if you travelled by sea. You will be responsible for any fees or charges. Click here to find out if your country is listed or unlisted.   What documentation will I need to bring with me to the airport? Provide the correct certification with your import Enter the EU through a border inspection post (BIP), where checks will be carried out to make sure that the import conditions have been met You may also need: An import licence or authorization A commercial document EU Pet Passports If you are travelling from the EU, you will be able to obtain an EU Pet Passport which can be issued by an official veterinarian in the EU. So, if your pet is coming from a non-EU country then you will not be able to obtain an EU Pet Passport and you will need to follow the above-listed requirements and steps. The Five-Day Rule If you do decide to bring your pet to the UK with you, then you must travel to the UK within five days or their pet’s arrival in order to avoid being labelled as ‘commercial’ shipment. Whilst you can still important your pet as a commercial shipment, the health certificate will be different which means the timeline for completing the health certificate is much tighter and so, the import taxes will be higher. What if I want to leave the UK with my pet? If you decide to return back to your home country with your pet, you will need to follow the pet import requirements for your destination before you depart the UK. Depending on what country you are travelling to, you may need to obtain an export certificate from DEFRA. For further information on how to import or export your pet to the UK, visit the GOV. website. Relocation to the UK If you are an international doctor and you need support with relocating to the UK, email your CV to [email protected] and we can support you in securing an NHS post and on your journey to the UK today. Join our Facebook Group Are you a member of our Facebook Group? When you join IMG Advisor, you will join a community of doctors all looking to relocate to the UK and join the NHS. We post a series of blogs and vlogs into the group every single day. We will also always be on hand to answer all your relocation queries. YouTube Subscribe to our YouTube channel! We have over 35 videos on everything you need to know about relocating to the UK and joining the NHS! References (2019). Bringing Dogs and Cats to the UK - A Simple Guide | PetRelocation. [online] Available at: [Accessed 18 Sep. 2019]. GOV.UK. (2019). Bringing your pet dog, cat or ferret to the UK. [online] Available at: [Accessed 18 Sep. 2019].

How to apply for Indefinite Leave to Remain

By Gabrielle Richardson
September 11, 2019

What is Indefinite Leave to Remain? ILR will grant you the right to live and work in the UK free from immigration restrictions. To apply for ILR, you will need to submit a series of documents and evidence supporting your eligibility to the Home Office. The application process can be a complex one and so it is important you have all the required documentation before applying to prevent you from losing a fee. Step 1: Check your eligibility As a doctor working in the UK, you will be on a Tier 2 (General) visa or a Tier 2 dependent visa, this means you will need to have lived in the UK for 5 years before you can apply. You should note that if you have had excessive absences from the UK then you may be un-eligible to apply. You should check this information with a specialist immigration lawyer. In addition to your residence, you will also need to demonstrate that you have sufficient knowledge of language and life in the UK. This means that you will need to pass the Life in the UK test and provide evidence of a UK degree that was taught or researched in English or obtain an approved English speaking and listening qualification. Step 2: Compile your supporting documentation Passport BRP Police registration certificate where you have been required to register with the police after arriving in the UK Evidence of your finances Your pass certificate for the life in the UK test Your pass certificate for your English language qualification OR evidence of your degree taught in English Evidence of any absences from the UK, for example a letter from your HR department confirming your annual leave Any other supporting evidence relevant to your specific visa category Two coloured passport photographs You should note that all documents should be originals. Step 3: Pay your fee A single ILR application fee is £2389. If you opt for the premium service, it will cost you £2999. Please note, you will also need to pay for the Life in the UK test which costs £50 and you must book your test online at least 3 days in advance of applying for ILR. There is also a fee of £19.20 to enrol your biometric information at a Post Office branch or UK Visa and Citizenship Application Service centre. Step 4: Submit your biometric information After you have made your application you will be asked to provide your fingerprint, a digital photo of your face and your signature. This is known as your biometric information. Your permit will then automatically be issued to you. Your permit will allow you to confirm your right to work or study in the UK and confirm your right to any public services or benefits you are entitled to. When can I apply for ILR? Applications for ILR are extremely sensitive, it is vital you apply before your current leave expires and whilst you are still in the UK. If your application is made 28 days before the end of your current leave it may be refused. You will then need to re-submit a second application and make a second fee. Do not stay beyond the expiry of your visa or you will be at risk of the removal from the UK, refusal of further leave or even criminal prosecution. What is the length of the ILR processing time? It can take up to 6 months to be informed if your application has been successful, so, it is important to be patient. If you would prefer to have the decision made more quickly, you can apply for the premium service. If you are an international doctor planning to apply for ILR, we highly recommend contacting an immigration lawyer to provide you with guidance and support. Relocation to the UK If you are an international doctor and you need support with relocating to the UK and joining the NHS, email your CV to [email protected] and we can support you on your journey to the UK today. Are you a member of our Facebook Group? When you join IMG Advisor, you will join a community of doctors all looking to relocate to the UK and join the NHS. We post a series of blogs and vlogs into the group every single day. We will also always be on hand to answer all your relocation queries. Subscribe to our YouTube channel! We have over 35 videos on everything you need to know about relocating to the UK and joining the NHS! References Morris, A. (2019). How to Apply for Indefinite Leave to Remain in the UK - DavidsonMorris - Immigration Solicitors. [online] DavidsonMorris - Immigration Solicitors. Available at:

Childcare Options within the UK

By Gabrielle Richardson
September 04, 2019

Relocating to the UK, can be a long and complex process, especially when you have children. In this guide, we take you through the different childcare options available in the UK to help you think about which option suits your family’s needs and budget. A Childminder A childminder is an individual registered to look after children in their own home. When speaking with a childminder, check they are registered with one of the following: Ofsted (England Care Inspectorate (Scotland) Care and Social Services Inspectorate (Wales) Health and Social Services Trust (Northern Ireland) A childminder is self-employed, so, you will not need to worry about paying their tax or national insurance contributions. Most childminders work flexible hours, they can pick or drop your children off to school or playgroup and ensure they get breakfast/lunch/dinner. Unfortunately, if your childminder is unwell or is on holiday, you will need to make alternative arrangements. For a child under two, 25 hours of childcare will cost you an average of £221 a week. However, this price will increase the closer you get to London. Day Nurseries If your child is between ages six weeks and five years, they can attend a day nursery. Each nursery differs and they may be run privately or by local authorities. Day nurseries are typically open weekdays from 8am to 6pm and are typically, more expensive than childminders. For a child under two, the cost of 50 hours of childcare at a day nursery will cost you £242 per week. This price will inflate the closer you get to London. A Nanny If you do not think the above two options work for your family, you may want to consider getting a Nanny. A Nanny is someone who will look after your child in the comfort of your own home. You can have a daily nanny, a live-in nanny or a part-time nanny. The advantage of a nanny is that your child will be cared for in an environment they are comfortable with. However, a disadvantage is that you will be their employer, so, you will be responsible for paying their income tax and national insurance contributions. If your nanny earns over £192 a week (£833 a month) before tax, then you will also need to pay their pension. A full-time nanny will cost you around £400-750 a week including their tax and national insurance contributions. Au Pair An Au Pair is an individual who lives with you and learns the local language and culture whilst providing around 30 hours childcare and help around the family home. An Au Pair is paid ‘pocket money’ of around £70-85 per week plus a room and food. This option is much lower than other childcare options. Au Pair’s are treated like a member of the family and so, you will not need to pay their tax or national insurance contributions. Playgroup or Pre-School If your child is aged between three and five years old, you may want them to attend playgroup. A playgroup typically offers three-hour morning or afternoon sessions during school term-term. Playgroup can be a low-cost option if you just need care for a couple of hours each day. Unfortunately, you will need to find alternative childcare during the school holidays and or the rest of the working day. For a three-hour session, it will cost you around £5-15 depending on where you live in the UK. Nursery School If your child is three to five years old, then they can also attend nursery school. Often there is a nursery attached to a primary school. A nursery school will be open during school hours in term time and your child will be taught by qualified teachers. If the nursery is attached to a primary school, it will be free for your child to attend. After School Club If your child is older than five and you work after school hours, you may want to consider sending them to an after-school club. The average cost of this in the UK is £57 a week which is nearly £2,200 a year during term time. Relocation to the UK If you are an international doctor and you need support with relocating to the UK and joining the NHS, email your CV to [email protected] and we can support you on your journey to the UK today. Are you a member of our Facebook Group? When you join IMG Advisor, you will join a community of doctors all looking to relocate to the UK and join the NHS. We post a series of blogs and vlogs into the group every single day. We will also always be on hand to answer all your relocation queries. Subscribe to our YouTube channel! We have over 35 videos on everything you need to know about relocating to the UK and joining the NHS! References (2019). Childcare options. [online] Available at: [Accessed 2 Sep. 2019]. (2019). Average childcare costs. [online] Available at: [Accessed 2 Sep. 2019].

Q&A with Dr Segs Olusanya, ST5 Intensive Care Medicine

By Gabrielle Richardson
August 23, 2019

Introduction 1. What is your name, speciality, grade and what hospital do you work at? Hi - My full name is Olusegun Olusanya. I am an ST5 in Intensive Care Medicine, working at St Bartholomew’s Hospital in London. 2. What country did you relocate from? I moved from Nigeria in 1995. 3. Would you share with us your personal mission as a doctor? To be a good one! In my mind this means being a kind, compassionate human being. 4. At what point in your career did you decide you wanted to relocate to the UK? What were your motivations for wanting to do so? I didn’t really decide to relocate myself- it was a family decision. Most of my family had attended university overseas; it was just my turn! 5. How did you find studying for medicine in the UK? Honestly? Strange. I went to Southampton University; it was wonderful studying near the coast. As I grew up near a coast myself, it probably reminded me of home. I found medical school a bit like bootcamp- you had to learn to speak, think and act in a certain way that was far removed from my normal life. I’m still not 100% acclimatised to medical culture, and may well never be. I found ways to cope- humour being top. I had excellent support from friends and family while studying, and had lots of opportunities to travel and do fun things. I spent my non-medical time learning skills – in particular music, martial arts, and gymnastics. The Relocation Process 6. How long did it take you to relocate, how difficult did you find the process, and do you recommend it to other IMGs? As I started off in the UK doing A levels first, then applying to medical school, I don’t think my process was as onerous as others. The big challenge was the high competition ratio for international medical school places- that’s not something to be taken lightly, and many people I know applying then were disappointed. Acclimatisation was easy in some respects – Nigeria is a former English colony, English is our national language, and I had visited the UK many times before; at the same time there were some culture shocks…particularly the drinking culture as an undergraduate. While I can understand it now, I never got into it. 7. Is there anything you would have liked to have known before deciding to relocate? And now once you live in the UK? How rare black people are in medicine, especially in certain specialties. I may have moved to America instead, if I had known how few black people there are at the top; I think the glass ceiling still exists over there mind. How long training would be. BREXIT. Cricket and rugby rules (it allows you to make great small talk). Thoughts on the UK 8. For you, what are the key benefits of living in the UK? Healthcare. I don’t have to worry about being bankrupt for the sake of getting good healthcare. Safety. I can walk around at night without feeling like I’m going to get robbed. Education. Schools are good. 9. How do you feel you settled in your chosen location within the UK? We live in a nice neighbourhood surrounded by nice people. There have been some challenges in terms of making local friends, as many of our friends aren’t local. Most of our family is still in Nigeria, and that Is a struggle at times. We miss them a lot. 10. If you relocated with family, how did they settle into the UK? I didn’t…. The NHS 11. What was your experience working within FY1 and FY2? Do you have any advice for other IMGs due to start FY2 in the UK? I really enjoyed my housejobs (I was the last of the “old style”.) They are a chance to get experience in a very supported environment. My advice to IMGs would be to remember that medicine is a team sport. Everyone- from the cleaner to the ward sister to the physio- has a role that is just as important as yours. If you aim to function as part of a team, rather than “the doctor”, you will achieve much. 12. How did you feel on your first day of working within the NHS, your first week, month and then how do you feel now compared to when you first started? On my first day I felt thrilled and terrified to be part of this amazing complex machine. I am a little bit more jaded than I was back in 2004, but that feeling mostly remains. 13. How would you describe the support you received from your hospital after starting your new position? It was… variable. There were wonderful aspects- the registrars and SHOs were very nice, I had some lovely bosses, and the nursing staff were great. On the other hand, I did witness- and receive- some bullying, and the paperwork was at times overwhelming. I think one should be prepared to deal with all kinds of people, and be prepared for a system that can be very inflexible at time. 14. What is your opinion on the NHS? Working within it and as a patient receiving care? The NHS is one of the most amazing things that has ever been invented. It is stretched beyond imagining yet still delivers care to those who need it. 15. If you are in a training post, how did you find the application process? Were you selected on your first application? What are your thoughts? Applications are very sterile now. It’s all via an automated system that allocates “points” based on achievements on your CV. This is a lot more fair than the old ways, of being based on “who you knew”. The main thing here is that if you know what your job requires, you can steer your CV in that direction early. One could argue that this means that CV points are easy to “game”… Intensive Care Medicine 16. What is a typical day when working within Intensive Care? ST5? The intensive care unit is where all the sickest patients in the hospital are. They are usually on some kind of support (ventilation, inotropes, renal replacement, etc). You start bright and early with a handover from the night team. Your morning is spent doing a ward round; then your afternoon is full of meetings (family, microbiology, outside consults) and procedures such as central lines or chest drains. You also get outside consult requests for sick patients, and in some hospitals you are part of the cardiac arrest team. The family meetings are really important, and can be very challenging, as their loved ones are very sick. About a quarter of patients we admit will die, and this can be hard to deal with. As an ST5 I am on the “senior” tier of registrars, so I spend some of my time supervising my junior colleagues. 17. Do you have any advice for any other junior doctors who want to pursue a career in Intensive Care Medicine or any advice for junior doctors looking to secure an NHS post in general? Learn compassion- both to yourself and others. It is by far the most important quality that will help both you and your patients. Stay humble. Stay open. Do not sacrifice your family for your career. Your career will end, your family will not. The Future 18. What are your hopes and plans for the future? To be a good doctor for as long as I can. To be surrounded by people I love, and who love me in return. To bring out the best in those people around me. If you are an international doctor who needs support relocating to the UK and joining the NHS, send your CV to [email protected] and we can support you on your journey today.  

Annual Leave within the NHS

By Gabrielle Richardson
August 19, 2019

Annual leave should only be taken with agreement of your hospital’s rota-coordinator or HR department. There is no legal right to choose when you take your annual leave, as the hospital will need to balance your right to take leave against the needs of the service and to maintain appropriate staffing levels. To find out exactly how you book your annual leave, review your contract and visit your HR department to receive a copy of the hospital’s annual leave policy. Typically, to book your annual leave you are required to give around twice the period of leave to be taken. For example, if you wish to take two weeks off, you should give at least four weeks’ notice. You should get your request signed off by your clinical supervisor and take it to the rota-coordinator to sign off and authorise the leave. Please note, each Trust will have their own policy and process and so, it is important you check on how to correctly request annul leave or it may get refused. How much annual leave am I entitled to? Length of Service Annual leave and Public Holiday entitlement On appointment 27 days + 8 days After 5 years’ 29 days + 8 days After 10 years’ 33 days + 8 days Will I get paid if I go on annual leave? Pay during your annual leave will include regularly paid supplements. Your pay will be calculated on the basis of what you would have received if you had been at work. If your normal rate of pay includes regular enhancements, these could be seen to be part of your normal rate of pay. Your employer will have a policy covering pay during annual leave. My employer agreed to my annual leave and have now cancelled it, what should I do? If you have followed your hospital’s policy on annual leave and you had your clinical supervisor and rota-coordinator’s consent, it may not be reasonable for them to cancel your leave. If your employer cancelled your leave absent of an emergency situation, then you may be able to claim for breach of contract including the recovery of the holiday expenses you have already incurred, for example, the cost of your flight. If this does happen to you: Check your contract Check that you have followed your local policy If it was formally agreed, discuss the matter with your clinical manager If the matter is not resolved, please contact the BMA. If I do not use up all my annual leave in one year and stay at the same hospital, can I carry my annual leave over? If you do not take all of your statutory holiday entitlement during your leave year, your hospital may allow you to carry over the remaining days to the next holiday year. You must take at least four weeks’ holiday a year, so only holiday on top of this can be carried over. The policy of doing so will be dictated by the hospital. I am relocating to the UK on a Tier 2 visa, yet to start with my NHS hospital but I need to book some annual leave. What should I do? If you are aware of a particular date that you need annual leave, for example, if you have a course that you need to attend – inform the HR department as soon as possible. This will allow them to make adjustments to the service and your rota in enough time. What is the maximum amount of annual leave I can take on a Tier 2 visa? As long as you have a valid Tier 2 visa and you are still employed, you can leave the UK to visit your home country for as long as your NHS Trust has granted. As you will have 27 days annual leave, most doctors take up to two weeks annual leave at a time to make the most of their time abroad, however, they are not absent from their department for too long. Relocation to the UK If you are a senior international doctor who is looking to secure an NHS post, email your CV to [email protected] and we can support you on your journey to the UK. Join our Facebook Group Are you a member of IMG Advisor? We publish frequent blog posts relating to relocating to the UK and we will provide you with professional guidance and support. Subscribe to our YouTube Channel We publish a new video every single week! Subscribe now: References LTD, C. (2019). What is an ownership fee? - Cyclescheme Knowledge Base. [online] Available at: [Accessed 12 Aug. 2019]. (2019). NHSGGC : Cycle to Work Scheme. [online] Available at: [Accessed 12 Aug. 2019]. References The Royal College of Nursing. (2019). Annual leave and holiday | Advice guides | Royal College of Nursing. [online] Available at: [Accessed 19 Aug. 2019]. (2019). $name. [online] Available at: [Accessed 19 Aug. 2019].

NHS Cycle to Work Scheme

By Gabrielle Richardson
August 14, 2019

The Cycle to Work Scheme was introduced in 1999, its aim was to encourage people to make healthier and more environmentally friendly lifestyle choices. Cycling is not only good for your health, but it saves you both time and money. The Scheme allows you to save between 25-39% on a brand-new bike, accessories and you get to spread the cost over 6 or 12 months via your salary. Benefits of the Cycle to Work Scheme Save money on the cost of a brand-new bike and equipment Increase your fitness by cycling to work Lose weight Reduce your individual carbon footprint Save money on your fuel bill Enjoy scenic cycle routes to work Easy to use online scheme No stress over finding a car parking space Have a bike within 14 days Cycle to Work Scheme Description The Cycle to Work Scheme is a salary sacrifice scheme, which means that instead of making a direct saving on the purchase you make, the saving will be made from the money being taken from your gross wage (pre-tax and national insurance). Click here to calculate how much you will save. Eligibility You must not be within two years of retirement The deductions must not take you below the lower earnings limit How do I apply for the Cycle to Work Scheme? Ask your NHS hospital’s HR department for their personal link to the Cycle to Work Scheme. The website will then provide you with the local bike shop that is part of your scheme. Visit the bike shop and find the right bike and equipment. Ask the shop for a Cycle to Work Scheme quotation form Enter the details from the form onto the online application form. You will need your employer code to submit your application During your application, you will sign a hire agreement The UK Travel Plan Department will review your application Once approved, you should receive your certificate in around 7-10 days, longer if you require a paper certificate Contact your bike shop to make sure your new bike is ready for collection Take the e-certificate/paper certificate to the supplier in exchange for your bike and/or equipment. The payments for the bike will then be deducted from your weekly/monthly salary over 6 or 12 months, this will usually begin the month following your application What happens at the end of the agreement? At the end of your Hire Period an ownership fee will be due. An ownership fee is a cost you must pay at the end of your Hire Period if you wish to keep your bike. The fee enables you to retain the bike whilst you avoid any benefit-in-kind liability. It is advised, if you wish to keep your bike, to choose the ‘own it later’ option (as it is the cheapest). Own it later – You pay a small, refundable deposit (either 3% or 7% of your certificate value) and you can continue to use the equipment for three years. No other payments are required at this time. At the end of the ‘Own it later’ period, no further action or payment is required if you wish to keep the equipment. They will retain your deposit and transfer ownership to you. If you do not wish to keep the equipment, your deposit will be refunded to you. Own it now – Take ownership of your package by paying the market value (e.g. for a one-year old package, this would be 18% or 25% of the Certificate value in accordance with the HMRC requirements. Return – If you no longer want your equipment, return it at your own cost and pay no ownership fee. If you have any questions about the Cycle to Work Scheme, get in touch with your hospital’s HR department and they can provide you with further information. Relocation to the UK If you are a senior international doctor who is looking to secure an NHS post, email your CV to [email protected] and we can support you on your journey to the UK. Join our Facebook Group Are you a member of IMG Advisor? We publish frequent blog posts relating to relocating to the UK and we will provide you with professional guidance and support. Subscribe to our YouTube Channel We publish a new video every single week! Subscribe now: References LTD, C. (2019). What is an ownership fee? - Cyclescheme Knowledge Base. [online] Available at: [Accessed 12 Aug. 2019]. (2019). NHSGGC : Cycle to Work Scheme. [online] Available at: [Accessed 12 Aug. 2019]

E-Portfolios and the NHS

By Gabrielle Richardson
August 12, 2019

It is vital for you to create and maintain your e-portfolio whilst working for the NHS. By doing so, you will be able to keep an electronic record and evidence of your learning achievements and abilities. This will support your life-long learning as you can reflect on your educational needs and clinical competencies. An e-portfolio will aid you in: Keeping your documents together to evidence your progress and learning Reflect on your learning Encourage you to think about your personal development plan (PDP) Develop your CV Prepare for your specialty training interview How do I organise my e-portfolio? The advantage of having an electronic portfolio is that it will be presented as: Well-structured and organised Easy to follow Legible Remember that your e-portfolio should always contain a contents page, summary CV and full CV. Throughout your portfolio it is important to highlight your commitment to your specialty and evidence your plan to meet your career goals. Tips on how to collate a successful e-portfolio Set aside the same time every week to add to your portfolio, this will increase the detail and save you stress on when you need to present it at your annual appraisal or specialty training interview Look at the requirements from your Royal College and the local Education and Training Board. They should provide you with instructions on layout and order Use the headings from the GMC Good Practice Guide Use ‘reflective’ language Make your Personal Development Plan (PDP) and goals within that plan for the SMART answer strategy Do not overfull your e-portfolio, you want all of the contents to be relevant and easily digestible When completing your e-portfolio ask yourself: What doe does my portfolio say about me? Does my portfolio demonstrate my key skills and strengths? Does my portfolio show my commitment to this specialty? What is included in an e-portfolio? Education and Training Degree certificates, certificate of mastery or completion, lists showing hours or time completed in various areas of study, licenses, lists of competencies, personal studies, educational supervisor reports, self-appraisal, medical reading and courses. Work Performance Logs, awards, reviews, evaluations, leadership qualities, teaching experience, feedback from patients, invitations to share your expertise, audits and quality improvement projects, IT skills, prizes, random case analyses, problem case analyses and external clinical sessions. Communication Evidence of public speaking, posters and review of performance. Relocation to the UK If you are international doctor who wants to relocate to the UK and join the NHS, email your CV to [email protected] and we can support you on your journey to the UK. From securing you an NHS post to finding airport transfers for your new home. Join our Facebook Group Are you a member of our Facebook Group? We publish regular blog posts on relocating to the UK and joining the NHS. You can also ask questions and receive ongoing professional advice and support. Subscribe to our YouTube Channel We post one video a week from how to successfully secure an NHS training post to finding schools for your children. References Health Careers. (2019). E-portfolios for doctors. [online] Available at: [Accessed 9 Aug. 2019].

How to apply for schools in the UK

By Gabrielle Richardson
August 05, 2019

If you are an international doctor who has related to the UK and you have a child residing in the UK, you are under a legal obligation to secure schooling for any child of ‘compulsory school age’. At what age does my child have to be in education? Your child is of ‘compulsory school age’ on the 1st January 1st April or 1st September following their 5th birthday. Your child can leave education at the end of the academic year in which they turn 16 however, they must remain in full-time education such as school or college, work-based learning such as an apprenticeship or remain in part-time education or training if they are employed, self-employed or volunteering. Types of School Placements in the UK Nursery Schools/Preschool A nursery or preschool provide early education and childcare for children under the ‘compulsory school age’. All children aged 3 and 4 living in the UK, can receive 15 hours per week of free nursery education. Further information on this can be found here. To apply, research local nurseries in your area and apply directly. Primary and Secondary Schools Primary and secondary schools are provided free of charge to all children in the UK. The local council authority will provide you with a free school place. As a parent, you MUST apply for a school place unless you are planning to educate your child at home. How do I apply for a primary or secondary school for my child? Visit the Government website and input your current postcode, it will then take you to the relevant council’s school application site. Depending on the council, when you apply to schools, you can list up to 4-6 schools in order of preference. This is called your ‘ranked schools’. Please do research into the schools in your area to help you make the right school preferences for your child. This should also include looking at your school’s admission rules to work out who will be offered a place. It is also important to think about how your child will get to school. Once you have applied for your child’s school place, you should receive a decision after 2-3 weeks. Which address should I use to apply? It is important to try and use your permanent address at the time you apply. If you do move after you have made your application, you must send your local council proof of your new address. This can be done by: A solicitor’s letter upon completion A signed rental agreement (for at least 12 months) Evidence that you have relinquished ties with the address you originally declared on your application form Can I apply for my child’s school placement during any time of year? Yes. The academic year in the UK runs from September to July, however, you can apply for your child’s school place during any time of year. As previously mentioned, it will take less than four weeks to arrange this. Types of school in the UK State School This is the most common type of school that dominates the education system in the UK. A state school refers to primary or secondary schools created for or offered to all children without charge, funded in whole or part by taxation. State school have to follow the National Curriculum. Academy An academy is a publicly funded independent school that are given money directly by the government, not the local council. Academies must meet the same National Curriculum in core subjects, but they are allowed to create their own curriculums for non-core subjects. Some academies will have sponsors, such as businesses, universities, other schools or voluntary groups. Some academies are called free schools. Faith School A faith school can fit into any category; however, it is most closely aligned to a state school as they follow the National Curriculum, except for Religious Studies where Faith Schools are free to only teach about the religion they are affiliated with. Private/Independent/Public Schools A private school is not funded by the government as it charges fees to its pupils to attend. Private schools do not need to follow the National Curriculum as they create their own Curriculums. Some private schools are inspected by Ofsted, whilst others are inspected by the Independent Schools Inspectorate. Grammar Schools A grammar school are typically at secondary level, which accepts students based on the 11+ exam. Grammar schools tend to be highly selective due to their focus on academics, but they are free for pupils to attend. It is important to know that private schools are now a thing of the past and there are only a select few remaining across the entire UK. Please be aware that state schools are just as good with schools having to adhere to the National Curriculum. Special Need Schools These schools are created for children with Special Educational Needs that will hire experienced staff who are trained in Special Education. Special schools follow a different National Curriculum that correlates with pupil’s ability levels. What is Ofsted? Ofsted stands for Office for Standards in Education. It employs 1,500 inspectors to monitor the educational performance of individual schools and then reports directly to Parliament. When choosing a school for your child, you should look at their Ofsted report. The report will give you an insight into standards under four areas – achievement, quality of teaching, behaviour and safety and leadership. The report can also provide you with details on the number of children who attend, the socio-economic mix of pupils and students who speak a second language. Relocation to the UK If you are an international doctor who needs support relocating to the UK and joining the NHS, email your CV to [email protected] and we can support you on your journey to the UK. Join our Facebook Group Are you a member of IMG Advisor? We publish regular blog posts and infographics to aid your relocation. Subscribe to our YouTube channel We publish a new vlog every single week from how to secure an NHS training post, understanding NHS salaries to finding accommodation in the UK.  References Teachers, C. (2019). UK School Types. [online] CareerTeachers. Available at: [Accessed 5 Aug. 2019].

Agency letting fees banned in England

By Gabrielle Richardson
August 02, 2019

From 1st June 2019, the UK Government put a ban on tenancy fees to reduce the costs that tenants can face at the outset and throughout a tenancy. The Tenant Fees Act 2019 states all payments ‘in connection with the tenancy of housing in England are prohibited unless they are one of the prescribed ‘permitted payments.’’ You will now be able to look at what a property will cost you in the advertisement rent with no hidden costs. Payments Permitted The only payment a landlord or letting agent can charge to their tenants in the new contract are: Rent A refundable tenancy deposit A refundable holding deposit to reserve a property capped at no more than 1 week’s rent Payments associated with early termination of the tenancy, when requested by the tenant Payments capped at £50 for the variation, assignment or novation of a tenancy A default fee for late payment of rent and replacement of a lost key/security device giving access to the house, where required under a tenancy agreement Penalties Landlords or agents found to be charging illegal fees after today can be fined up to £5,000 for a first offence. If they break the rules again within five years, they will face an unlimited fine. Cap on Deposits The Act also introduces a cap for tenancy deposits. If your annual rent is less than £50,000, the maximum you have to pay is five weeks’ rent. If the annual rent is £50,000 or more, up to six weeks’ rent can be required. When renting a property in the UK, use the below checklist to stay safe: Is the landlord trying to charge you fees? As mentioned in this post, this is now illegal to do so What can you afford? Which area would you live to live in? Do you have your documents ready? You will need to confirm your identity, immigration status, credit history and your employment status Will you need a rent guarantee? Relocation to the UK If you are an international doctor who needs support relocating to the UK and joining the NHS, email your CV to [email protected] and we can support you on your journey to the UK. Join our Facebook Group Are you a member of IMG Advisor? We publish regular blog posts and infographics to aid your relocation. Subscribe to our YouTube channel We publish a new vlog every single week from how to secure an NHS training post, understanding NHS salaries to finding accommodation in the UK.  References GOV.UK. (2019). Tenant Fees Act. [online] Available at: [Accessed 2 Aug. 2019]. Legal Cheek. (2019). Tenant Fees Act 2019: Goodbye to unfair letting charges? - Legal Cheek. [online] Available at: [Accessed 2 Aug. 2019]. (2019). Letting fees to be banned from June. [online] Available at: [Accessed 2 Aug. 2019].

Tips on applying for CESR (Article 14)

By Gabrielle Richardson
July 25, 2019

CESR stands for “Certificate of Eligibility for Specialist Registration” and it’s what allows internationally qualified doctors (who have not completed a GMC approved training programme in the UK) to join the Specialist Register as part of their GMC registration – this is required for recognition as a fully qualified Consultant in the UK and without it a doctor is not able to hold a permanent position as a Consultant in the NHS. In order to gain CESR, candidates are asked to demonstrate that their specialist training, qualifications and clinical experience are equivalent to the requirements of the Certificate of Training (CCT) award.   Please note, if you are an international doctor who currently works at Consultant level overseas, you can work in a Locum Consultant post before you apply for CESR and get onto the Specialist Register and take up a permanent/fixed-term post. In this blog post, we provide you with a general overview of the evidence required to apply for CESR, how your application will be assessed and some top tips to ensure your CESR application is successful. What are the basic application requirements that I will need to evidence? Typically, you will need to evidence your knowledge and skills within the following areas: Knowledge, skills and experience, research and presentations, mandatory courses, honours and prizes, appraisals and assessments, training assessment, 360 degree and multi-source feedback, awards and discretionary points letters, personal development plans, logbooks, consolidation, cumulative data sheets, summary lists and annual caseload statistics, medical reports, case histories, referral letters discussion patient handling, patient lists, departmental workload statistics and annual caseload statistics, rota’s, timetables and job plans, portfolio, employment letters, research papers, grants, patent designs, publications within specialty field, presentations, poster presentations, CPD record certificates, certificates of attendance, workshops, CPD registration points from UK Medical Royal College , Membership of Professional Bodies and organisations, teaching timetables, lectures, feedback or evaluation forms from those taught, letters from colleagues, attendance at teaching or appraisal courses, audits, reflective diaries, service improvement and clinical governance meetings, health and safety, management and leadership experience, chairing meetings and leading projects, complaints and responses to complaints. Please click here to gain access to your specialty’s CESR curriculum, as each specialty’s requirements differ. How will my CESR application be assessed? To apply for CESR you must provide a detailed application form supported with validated evidence covering all of the above. You will also need to provide the details of five referee reports. Your application will then be sent to the GMC Specialty Advisory Team, to ensure all of the curriculum has been evidenced. These applications are assessed in conjunction with the relevant Royal College. It is important to note that the process of organising and completing your CESR application will be an arduous task that will need to be completed in your free time or pre-agreed personal development sessions worked into your rota – for this reason, if you intend to pursue CESR it is important to ensure any hospital you join is able to support you both with the documentation and any additional clinical exposure you may require in your field. Doctors who have gone through the CESR process estimate that it takes 6-12 months of regular weekend work to produce and organise the evidence needed, but timescales are dependent on each individual and their experience to that point. How much will my CESR application cost? £1600 Tips to ensure your CESR application is successful Begin with your relevant Specialty’s curriculum and plan how each of the relevant sections can be demonstrated Request the help of a Clinical Supervisor/Mentor/Educational Supervisor already in the NHS (usually your departmental lead) Encourage others who have used CESR as a pathway to Specialist Registration to provide you with support and assistance Use your evidence from your yearly appraisals over the last five years Collating your evidence is time consuming and a lengthy process, consider breaking it down into chunks Attend a CESR workshop run by the GMC, relevant Royal College and your local Deanery If you would like to have an in depth discussion about applying for CESR for your relevant Specialty, please do get in contact with your Recruitment Consultant and they will be able to provide you with further information. Relocation to the UK If you are an international doctor who needs support relocating to the UK and joining the NHS, we can help you on your journey. We can aid you with securing an NHS post, applying for your Tier 2 visa to finding school places for your children. Send your CV to [email protected] IMG Advisor Are you a member of our Facebook Group IMG Advisor? We publish regular relocation blog posts, the opportunity to receive professional guidance and support and the chance to meet other IMGs. References (2019). [online] Available at: [Accessed 24 Jul. 2019].

Public Transport in the UK

By Gabrielle Richardson
July 22, 2019

When you arrive in the UK, it is important you know how you are getting from the airport to either your hospital accommodation or booked temporary accommodation. The UK has various methods of public transportation available to provide you with a variety of ways of getting around, at different budgets. You should note that the UK has one of the best public transportation systems in the entire world, with access to even the most remote areas. Train The UK has a comprehensive railway system that allows you to reach almost every smaller or bigger town by train. Did you know that the UK has one of the oldest railway systems in the entire world? The price of your train ticket is usually determined by the distance and time of your journey. However, you can often secure a cheaper price if you book your ticket in advance. If you will be a frequent train traveller, you should look at obtaining a National Railcard or a Regional Railcard, which may save you a lot of money. Most people prefer to travel long-distance by train because it is a very relaxed and fast trains often allow you to travel faster than if you were to travel by car. For example, it only takes 25 minutes to get from Central London to Heathrow Airport, whereas a car can take over an hour. Use the to book your train journey. Travelling by Coach and Bus If you would prefer to explore the country on a budget, you could opt to travel by coach. There are various different companies from National Express, MegaBus to EasyBus. If you book your coach ticket in advance you can get very cheap prices. For example, Cardiff to London (3 hours 30-minute journey) can cost as little as £5 each way. It is important to buy your ticket in advance as they cannot be purchased directly when boarding. You can also easily get around cities and towns by buses, such as the double-deckers found in London. You should note that the local bus networks are run by different companies and so, you will need to contact them individually for ticket prices and time tables. Unlike coach tickets, you can buy your bus ticket directly from your driver or local travel centre. Search your smartphone app finder for a local bus network app which may provide you with cheaper tickets if you buy in advance. Taxi’s If you are travelling with a lot of luggage or want to get from A to B quickly, you may not want to bother with public transport and opt for taking a taxi or an Uber. Please note, taxis are not available everywhere in the UK, however, they will be in nearly all towns and cities. If you are unsure of where to find a taxi, visit your local train station as they usually queue outside waiting for passengers needing a taxi. Alternatively, you could download Uber. Uber is a convenient, inexpensive taxi service. You hire a private driver to pick you up and take you to your destination and with the tap of a button on any smartphone device. On the app, you can watch your driver drive towards you and in a city, they will be with you in a matter of minutes. There are similar apps available including mytaxi and Ola Cabs. Pre Ordered Mini Cabs An alternative to taxis in the UK, is to order a mini cab in advance. As it is booked at an earlier date, there should be a pre-agreed price set and the mini cab will collect you at an agreed time. Ferries Ferries are a perfect opportunity to explore the remote isles of the UK. Ferry connections can be used to get to the Scottish Highlands, Belfast and international cities such as Amsterdam, Calais and Santander. Domestic Flights If you need to travel from one side of the UK to the other, for example, from London to Edinburgh, you might want to consider getting a domestic flight. Domestic flights can often be cheaper than the train and will get you there in an hour. UK’s domestic flights can be taken on many different airlines from British Airways, easyJet and Flybe. Relocation to the UK If you are an international doctor who needs support relocating to the UK and joining the NHS, email your CV to [email protected] and we will be happy to support you in securing an NHS post and on your relocation journey. Join our Facebook Group Are you a member of IMG Advisor? We publish regular blog posts, the opportunity to ask questions and receive professional support and you will have the chance to meet other IMGs. References (2019). Public Transport in the UK. [online] Available at: [Accessed 22 Jul. 2019].

How to get an NHS Pension Refund

By Gabrielle Richardson
July 17, 2019

What is the NHS Pension Scheme? When you start working within the NHS, you will automatically be included in the NHS Pension Scheme. It is important to note that you can choose to opt-out of the Scheme, if you would prefer. In this blog post, we share how much of a pension contribution to expect and how to claim a refund if you decide that you do not want to be enrolled within the MTI Scheme. How much do I contribute to my NHS Pension? You will pay a percentage of your gross salary into your pension each month. This is then topped up by your employer contributions (listed below) and you will also receive pension tax relief on your contributions. Salary Range Contribution Rate £26,824-£47,845 12.5% £47,846-£70,630 12.5% £70,631-£111,376 13.5% £111,377+ 14.5% When will I receive my NHS Pension? You will receive your pension at the “normal pension age”. You can retire early and claim your pension once you reach the minimum pension age (55). However, your pension benefits will be reduced, to reflect the fact your pension will pay out for longer. The “normal pension” age varies depending on what section of the scheme you are in: 1995 section: 60 years of age 2008 section: 65 years of age 2015 section: state pension age (65 for men and 64 for women) What if I have made contributions into my pension but decide I do not want to pay anymore? If you want to obtain the money you have paid into your pension, you may be eligible for a refund. To qualify, you must: Have no continuing membership upon reaching the Normal Pension Age Have ceased membership of the Scheme in all employments Have less than two years qualifying membership in the NHS Pension Scheme Have not had a transfer into the NHS Pension Scheme from a personal, money purchase or stakeholder pension If you have re-entered pensionable NHS employment after a break of 12 months or more, you may be entitled to a refund of your earlier contributions. You do not qualify for a refund if: You have two years or more qualifying membership You have reached Normal Pension Age during this period of membership for which a refund is being requested How do I apply for an NHS Pension Refund? If you believe that you qualify for an NHS Pension Refund, you will need to complete the application form, labelled refund of a pension contributions (RF12). Please click here to download the form. You will need to complete Part 1 and then give Part 2 to your HR department to fill out. How long will it take until I obtain my refund? After your request has been processed and approved, the payment can take 5-10 working days until after that letter. Please note, the refund will be less than the pension contributions you have made. This is because, by law, your hospital will have to make two deductions. One is to cover the cost of you reinstating in the State Second Pension Scheme and the second in respect of income tax. Can I rejoin the Scheme after I have had a refund? Yes, you can rejoin the NHS Pension Scheme after a 24-hour break.   Relocation to the UK If you are an international doctor who wants to relocate to the UK and join the NHS, email your CV to [email protected] and we can support you on your journey to the UK. Are you a member of our Facebook Group IMG Advisor? By joining IMG Advisor, you will have access to frequent relocation blog posts, the opportunity to ask questions and receive professional advice and the chance to meet other IMGs. References Davies, P. (2019). NHS pension schemes explained. [online] Which? Money. Available at: [Accessed 17 Jul. 2019]. (2019). [online] Available at: [Accessed 17 Jul. 2019].

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