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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 Petrelocation.com. (2019). Bringing Dogs and Cats to the UK - A Simple Guide | PetRelocation. [online] Available at: https://www.petrelocation.com/blog/post/bringing-dogs-and-cats-to-the-uk-a-simple-guide [Accessed 18 Sep. 2019]. GOV.UK. (2019). Bringing your pet dog, cat or ferret to the UK. [online] Available at: https://www.gov.uk/take-pet-abroad [Accessed 18 Sep. 2019].

Bringing goods into the UK: Customs Allowances

By Gabrielle Richardson
September 09, 2019

Each country has a duty to protect its citizens from drugs, firearms and other harmful goods and to stop smugglers evading taxes. Therefore, when you travel to the UK you may need to declare your goods and cash. What happens when I arrive in the UK? When you arrive at a UK airport, it is likely you will have to go through passport control via one of the three routes: Blue Route This is for people who have travelled within the EU with no banned or restricted goods Green Route This is for people who have travelled from outside of the EU with goods that do not go over your allowances And you do not possess any banned or restricted goods Red Route You must use the red channel if you have goods or cash to declare, Have commercial goods Or you are not sure about what you need to declare What countries are in the EU? Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Czechia, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Luthuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Poland, Portgul, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Sweden and the United Kingdom. Although Gibraltar is part of the EU, it is outside the Community Customs territory. The customs allowances for outside the EU therefore apply. I am travelling from the EU, what goods can I bring with me? You can bring an unlimited amount of most goods into the UK, as long as they are for your own consumption or gifts to give to others. If you intend to sell any goods, then this is considered as commercial use. If you are bringing in alcohol or tobacco goods and UK Border Control have reason to suspect they may be for a commercial purpose, an officer may ask you questions and make checks. For example: The type and quantity of goods you have bought Why you have bought them How you paid for them How often you travel How much you normally smoke or drink Any other relevant circumstances If you are travelling from the EU, you may bring in any meat, dairy or any other animal products. You may also bring in fruit, vegetables or plant products. Click here for further information. I am travelling from outside of the EU, what goods can I bring with me? When travelling from outside of the EU, you can bring a certain limit of goods into the UK without paying duty or tax. These goods must be for your own use or gifts. If you intend to sell any goods, then this is considered as commercial use. Allowance: Alcohol 1L of spirits or 2L of fortified wine, sparkling wine or any other alcoholic beverage Tobacco 200 cigarettes or 100 cigarillos or 50 cigars or 250g of tobacco Other goods Most travellers can bring other goods into the UK worth up to £390 (e.g. perfume and electrical goods) without paying duty or tax in the UK. If you bring in goods worth more than your allowance, you must pay duty and/or tax on the full value, not just the value above the allowance. You cannot bring in any meat, honey or dairy products into the UK from a non-EU country. How much cash can I bring with me to the UK? If you are carrying the equivalent to 10,000 euros or more then you must declare it when you enter the UK from a county outside of the EU. You will need to complete a cash declaration form at the airport. What if I go over my goods allowance? If you over your allowance, you must pay Customs Duty on anything you bring above your allowance. The current rate is 2.5% for goods worth up to £630. Please note, this information is taken from UK Border Control, for more detailed information please contact them on: 0300 200 3700 (UK) +44 2920 501 261 (outside the UK) Lines are open Monday to Friday, 8am to 6pm. 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 GOV.UK. (2019). Bringing goods into the UK. [online] Available at: https://www.gov.uk/duty-free-goods/arrivals-from-outside-the-eu [Accessed 9 Sep. 2019]. Assets.publishing.service.gov.uk. (2019). [online] Available at: https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/668106/Travelling_to_the_UK-_update.pdf [Accessed 9 Sep. 2019].

Q&A with Dr Alex Vallakalil, NHS Trust Grade Doctor Psychiatry

By Gabrielle Richardson
July 08, 2019

Introduction 1. What is your name, speciality, grade and what hospital do you work at? I am Dr. Itticheria Alex Vallakalil (better known as Alex). I work as a Trust Grade Doctor in Psychiatry with Aneurin Bevan University Health Board; Newport. I am starting my Core Training in Psychiatry with Oxford Health NHS Trust under the Department of Psychiatry; University of Oxford; Thames Valley Deanery this August. 2. What country did you relocate from? India 3. Would you share with us your personal mission as a doctor? I would do my best to offer comprehensive treatment and consultation to our patients, their families, and the community. I would also like to apply my knowledge to the development and delivery of more effective, evidence-based treatments. 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 decided to relocate to the UK six months after my Internship in India. I decided to relocate when I got feedback that the Psychiatry Training in the U.K is far more disciplined than how it is in my home country healthcare system is. The Relocation Process 5. What pathway did you choose to obtain GMC Registration? PLAB Examinations. 6. How was your experience of securing an NHS post? I did a clinical attachment in Psychiatry with the South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust for a period of 2 months directly after my PLAB part 2 examinations. This increased my chances of receiving more interview invitations. I attended most of the interviews in person and received offers for the posts. 7. How long did it take you to relocate? It took me twelve months to relocate to the UK. I did not have any specific difficulties relocating to the UK as my job was on the shortage occupation list. 8. Is there anything you would have liked to have known before deciding to relocate? And now once you live in the UK? I wish I had known about the sudden changes in weather (laugh. Ol) Thoughts on the UK 9. For you, what are the key benefits of living in the UK? The work culture in the U.K offers a good work-life balance. I am very much impressed by the advanced technologies that exists here. There is a lot to explore in the country side for short get-aways and there are opportunities to travel all around Europe easily whilst in the U.K 10. How do you feel you settled in your chosen location within the UK? I reckon; Wales is a very good place to start the first NHS job. I live in Abergavenny; which is one of the best places to live in Wales. The people here are very friendly and there are lot of things going on. I love Wales for its serenity and its similarity to where I am from (Kerala; India -“Gods Own Country”) The NHS 11. How would you describe the support you received from your hospital after starting your new position? I feel very well supported even as a Non-Trainee Doctor. I had a lot of time to work on my portfolio during my Trust Grade job. I also have weekly supervision sessions with my Consultant. My Mentor Dr. Raja Adnan Ahmed and my Educational supervisor (RCPsych Tutor) Dr.Ranjini Rao was too kind; helping me to settle in and also secure a core training post .My Consultant Dr. Rahim Safeer also helped me have an understanding of Audits and the abilities to work in a multidisciplinary team. The work colleagues were also very friendly and professional. 12. What is your opinion on the NHS? Working within it and as a patient receiving care? I would see NHS as a “Mother” to the patients receiving care and also for all its wonderful staff. Yes; the NHS has always been caring, kind, supportive, empathetic and straight forward. 13. How do you find working in the UK compared to your home country? I feel that there are lot more opportunities to develop in one’s own career in the U.K compared to my home country (especially in Psychiatry). I have always loved working in my home country; but I could not really devote a lot of time for my personal development and lateral interests amidst the busy shifts. Training within the NHS 14. How long did it take you to secure a training post? It took me four months to obtain a training post.  15. Do you have any advice for other IMGs who want to secure a training post? There are opportunities to apply into Psychiatry Training without any U.K work experience if your Alternate Form of Foundation competencies are signed off from your home country. I took time off to understand the system without applying directly. This has definitely given me an upper hand in securing a rotation of my personal choice and also good experience within Psychiatry. It is not necessary that the candidate have prior psychiatry experience before applying; but a strong interest and realistic insight into psychiatry and mental health is very essential. Psychiatry 16. Why did you choose to specialise in Psychiatry? Mental Health I believe is important as physical health and definitely more thought stimulating. Psychiatry allows me to work on a bio-psycho-social model to do the best for my patients; which is very creative most of the times.  I am curious about every individual and I like interacting with patients as a whole; making them the centre of our conversation. I understand there is a lot of social stigma around Psychiatry and mentally ill patients; which I completely disprove of and I am hoping to make a difference. There are also lot of untouched areas in Psychiatry; which improves the potential for research opportunities 17. Do you have any advice for junior doctors who want to pursue a career in Psychiatry? If you are always curious, ready to explore what you don’t know and happy to see people beyond face value; Psychiatry is for you. The Future 18. What are your hopes and plans for the future? I am looking forward to complete my Core Training and then apply for my Speciality Training on Child and Adolescent Mental Health. I would also like to contribute towards Psychiatry on a Public Health perspective. Thank you for taking the time to participate in this interview Dr Vallakalil, we wish you all the best with your new training post. Relocation to the UK If you are an international doctor who needs support securing an NHS post, 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? We publish regular blog posts to aid your relocation, you will receive professional support and get the chance to meet other IMGs.    

Switching from a Tier 5 visa to a Tier 2 visa

By Gabrielle Richardson
July 04, 2019

The MTI Scheme If you are accepted onto the MTI Scheme, you will need to apply for a Tier 5 visa that will allow you to undertake a training placement in a UK hospital for a maximum time of two years. The MTI Scheme allows international doctors to receive world class training and gain non-clinical skills such as medical education and leadership. If you obtain an NHS training post via the MTI Scheme, you will receive full GMC Registration. Therefore, when you finish your post you will be eligible to apply for a fixed-term post. However, at the end of your post you will need to leave the UK, apply for a fixed-term post from overseas and then you will need to switch your visa from Tier 5 to a Tier 2 visa. How do I obtain a Tier 2 visa? After you have left the UK and successfully obtained a fixed-term NHS post, you will need to apply for a Tier 2 (General) visa. Once you have met the hospital’s pre-employment checks and submitted the right documentation, they will apply for your Certificate of Sponsorship. Once this has been successfully issued to you, you can begin applying for your Tier 2 visa. What documents do I need to apply for my Tier 2 visa? A valid Certificate of Sponsorship. Please note, you have three months from the date it is issued to apply for your Tier 2 visa Tuberculosis Test Clearance Certificate. If your country is listed here. Police Clearance Certificate. You will need a certificate from any country you have stayed in for a total of 12 months or more over the last 10 years. Please note, this is also needed for any Tier 2 dependents over the age of 18. Proof of English Knowledge – This can either be a score of 4in IELTS UKVI or your UKNARIC certificate Maintenance – If your hospital has not ticked “Y” on the Maintenance box on your CoS, you will need to evidence that you have £945 in your account for the last 90 days prior to your application. Please note, your dependents will also need £630 in their personal account for the same period of time. Can I stay in the UK whilst I switch from a Tier 5 visa to a Tier 2 visa? No, this is illegal. It is important that at the end of your Tier 5 visa, you leave the UK and return back to your home country. You can then apply for your Tier 2 visa. What are the Tier 2 (General) visa conditions? After you have successfully received your Tier 2 visa, you will be able to: Work the job described in your CoS, for your Tier 2 sponsor (The NHS hospital who has employed you) Work 20 locum hours a week Work unlimited bank shifts a week Unlimited voluntary work Relocation to the UK If you are an international doctor who needs support securing an NHS post, email your CV to [email protected] and we can aid you in the relocation process, finding accommodation and schools for your children. Join our Facebook Group Are you a member of IMG Advisor? We publish regular relocation blog posts on relocating to the UK and joining the NHS. You can also receive professional guidance and get the chance to meet other IMGs.

How to secure temporary accommodation in the UK

By Gabrielle Richardson
July 01, 2019

How to secure accommodation in the UK Before you arrive in the UK, it is important for you to have accommodation organised for yourself and your family. So, when you step off the plane your journey and plans are stress free. Unfortunately, it is a legal requirement for you to rent/sign for a property in person. Therefore, you have three short-term accommodation options available to you before you can book long-term accommodation. Option 1: Stay at hospital accommodation NHS hospital accommodation for doctors can be extremely limited. So, when you sign your offer letter and you are interested in temporarily staying in hospital accommodation – it is important for you to enquire about whether there is any availability. Depending on the hospital’s availability, you may have to fill out an accommodation request form and accommodation will be successfully allocated. However, if all of the hospital accommodation is full, you may need to join a waiting list and wait until an occupancy becomes available. In our experience, hospital accommodation large enough for a family is rare, so, you may need to consider the below two options if you are travelling with a spouse and children. That being said, if you are successful in securing hospital accommodation, you can expect a furnished room with a wash hand basin and then you will usually share the bathroom/shower and kitchen facilities. How do I pay for it? The majority of NHS Trusts will deduct your rent for the property from your monthly salary. Option 2: Air BnB Air BnB is an online marketplace that lets people rent out their property or spare room guests. The website allows you to book a single room to an entire house. The website/app will provide you with lots of photos of the property with a full map listing. Booking a room/property via Air BnB will provide you with great value for your money. The website allows you to compare a range of properties at a range of price points from a few pounds a night to hundreds, depending on your requirements and location. How do I use Air BnB? Go to airbnb,com or install the app on your smart phone. Enter your destination, dates, number of guests, select whether you want to book an entire home, private room or shared room. Select your filters to match your criteria, for example, wifi, kitchen, bathroom, pool etc. Click search. Once you have found a property that meets your requirements within your price range click “Contact Host” to ask a question about the property or “Request to Book” to begin the booking process. The host will need to approve your request before your booking has gone through. Tips for booking an Air BnB Start your search and book as early as possible as this will provide you the most options when it comes to selecting a property. Pay attention to the location. Put the property’s street into Google maps from your hospital – so, you know exactly how long it will take you to travel to work until you find something more permanent. Read attention to the fine print and cancellation policy. Contact the host with information on the local area. More than likely they will be happy to help you with information on local grocery stores, public transport etc. Option 3: Book a hotel If you cannot find an Air BnB to meet your needs, you may need to consider booking a hotel for your first week in the UK. There are various comparison websites to aid you in booking a hotel in the UK. These include, but are not limited to: Booking.com Trivago Expedia Late Rooms The advantage of booking a hotel for your initial stay, is that the booking process is flexible. Often, you can book a hotel room with free cancellation and pay on arrival, giving you additional flexibility. Furthermore, if you are travelling with your family, then you can book a hotel room with enough space for all of you. However, the disadvantage of booking a hotel room is that is can be costly for a long duration of time. Relocation to the UK If you are an international doctor who needs support relocating to the UK and joining the NHS, please email your CV to [email protected] and we can aid you in securing your first NHS post. IMG Advisor Are you a member of our Facebook Group IMG Advisor? We publish regular blog posts on everything you need to know about relocating to the UK and joining the NHS. You can receive professional guidance from us and get the chance to meet other IMGs.    

I have signed my NHS offer letter, what do I do next?

By Gabrielle Richardson
June 13, 2019

After you have signed your NHS offer letter, you will need to organise and collate a number of documents, to allow the hospital to apply for your CoS and in turn, you can then go ahead and apply for your Tier 2 visa. What documents do I need to send to the hospital before they can apply for my CoS? References – A minimum of two references is expected. Most NHS hospitals will ask for your references contact details and they will then contact them on your behalf requesting the reference. Alternatively, if the NHS hospital asks you, personally, to provide the references, ask your Consultant to provide you with one on your hospital’s letter headed paper, or normal paper with a hospital stamp and the reference should confirm your employment and dates of employment. However, each NHS Trust is different, so confirm what the HR department needs from you. Proof of Address – A minimum of two different proof of address’ is needed. Examples include a bank statement or a utility bill. The letter should clearly state your full name, address and it should be dated within the last three months. Please note, this address must be the same that will be used for your CoS application and your Tier 2 visa application. A Certificate of Good Standing for each medical council you have been registered with over the last 5 years A copy of your passport Your Police Clearance Certificate - You’ll need a certificate from any country you’ve stayed in for a total of 12 months or more over the last 10 years. Please note, this is also needed for any Tier 2 dependents over the age of 18 Evidence of your GMC Registration stage - If you have attended your ID check, you will need to provide the NHS Trust evidence of your license to practice. If you are waiting to attend your ID check, you will need to provide the Trust with the email evidence of your invitation. IELTS UKVI or UKNARIC certificate After you have collated the above documents, your NHS Trust can now apply for your CoS. Please note, your CoS MAY come back in a matter of days, as doctors and nurses on Tier 2 visas can now be applied for as unrestricted. However, this is dependent on the HR department successfully making the application. My CoS has been issued, what do I do now? Once your CoS has been correctly issued, with all the information printed correctly – you now apply for your Tier 2 visa! What documents do I need to apply for my Tier 2 visa? A valid Certificate of Sponsorship (CoS) – you have three months from the date it is issued to apply for your Tier 2 visa Tuberculosis Test Clearance Certificate, if your country is listed here Police Clearance Certificate - You’ll need a certificate from any country you’ve stayed in for a total of 12 months or more over the last 10 years. Please note, this is also needed for any Tier 2 dependents over the age of 18 Proof of English Knowledge – This can either be a score of 4 in IELTS UKVI or your UKNARIC certificate Maintenance – If your hospital has not ticked “Y” on the Maintenance box on your CoS, you will need to evidence that you have £945 in your account for the last 90 days prior to your application, Please note, your dependents will also need £630 in their personal account for the same period of time I have submitted my online Tier 2 visa application, what do I do next? When you submit your documents, you will be asked to select a date to attend your local biometrics appointment. Please take all of the above documentation with you to be verified. At the appointment, your fingerprints will be taken along with your passport which will then be returned in the post. Once your passport has been returned back to you, it will contain your travel vignette which will state the valid dates you can travel on. I have arrived in the UK, what do I do? After you have organised your accommodation (temporary or permanent), you will need to do the following: Attend your GMC ID check, if necessary Collect your BRP from your local post office Attend the police station within 7 days of arriving in the UK Attend your occupational health appointment (this must be cleared before you can start your NHS post) Attend your ID check with your hospital’s HR department Set up a UK bank account Attend your induction/shadowing period Isla, BDI Resourcing’s Relocation Executive’s top tips to ensure a successful relocation: Organise your documents from as early as possible. For example, it is important to bear in mind that your Police Clearance Certificate will take longer to obtain than other documents, so, try and get the process started as early as possible Respond to the hospital’s requests from as early as possible Research your new UK location, it is important to familiarise yourself with your new UK home. This can include local schools, activities, nice areas to live and transportation! Relocation to the UK If you are an international doctor who needs support securing your first NHS post, email your CV to [email protected] and we would love to support you on your journey to the UK. IMG Advisor Are you a member of our Facebook Group, IMG Advisor? From joining, you will have access to frequent relocation blog posts, the opportunity to ask questions and receive professional support and the chance to meet other IMGs.  

Your Biometric Residence Permit (BRP)

By Gabrielle Richardson
June 04, 2019

What is a Biometric Residence Permit? As an international doctor on a Tier 2 visa, you will receive a BRP if you: Obtained a Tier 2 visa for longer than 6 months Extended your Tier 2 visa for longer than 6 months Applied for permanent settlement in the UK Transferred your visa to a new passport Please note, you do not need to apply separately for your BRP. You will be issued one automatically when your Tier 2 visa is approved. What is on my BRP? Your permit will state your name, date, place of birth, your fingerprints and photographic identification. It will also provide details on your immigration status and whether you have access to public funds. Typically, your National Insurance number should be printed on the back of your BRP. If you receive it and it is not printed on the back of your BRP, you will need to apply for one here. What should I do if my BRP does not arrive? Please do not worry if you arrive in the UK and your BRP has not yet been issued. If it has been 10 days after arriving in the UK, you can follow the progress of your BRP here. The Home Office typically responds within 5 working days to inform you of what to do next. Can I start my NHS post if BRP has not yet arrived? Yes. If you are waiting receiving your BRP, it is legal to take up your new employment within an NHS hospital. What do I do if I have lost my BRP? If you lose your BRP or it is stolen, you can only order a replacement from inside the UK. The Home Office will contact you within one working day of reporting it. Please note, if you locate your BRP at a later date after receiving a replacement, you cannot use the original. The cost of a replacement BRP is £154. Relocation to the UK If you are an international doctor who plans to relocate to the UK and join the NHS, email your CV to [email protected] and we will be happy to support you on your journey. Join IMG Advisor Join our online community of over 10,000 doctors! We share regular relocation blog posts, and updates. References GOV.UK. (2019). Biometric residence permits (BRPs). ] Available at: https://www.gov.uk/biometric-residence-permits/replace-visa-brp [Accessed 4 Jun. 2019].    

Sebastian's Guide to Santorini

By Gabrielle Richardson
September 28, 2018

Warning! This blog may result in Wanderlust… Recently, our Paediatric Specialist Sebastian and his girlfriend Clare just returned from a once-in-a-lifetime trip to the beautiful island of Santorini, Greece.   Relocating to the UK and working for the NHS has endless advantages including the opportunity to train within the NHS, increased job stability, and the opportunity to receive a good source of income. Another advantage and the purpose of today’s article is that living in the UK will provide you with the prospect of travelling to incredible European locations. There are 51 countries that belong to the diverse continent and home to some of the world’s most vibrant cities, iconic architecture and amazing art – all of which are on the UK’s doorstep. Travel gives you time to relax and refresh, obtain new perspectives, the opportunity to meet new people and it is a fantastic stress buster!   So, in this post, we wanted to take the opportunity to inspire you to relocate to the UK and travel to beautiful destinations like Santorini by sharing some amazing pictures from Sebastian’s holiday. Santorini Santorini is one of the Cyclades islands in the Aegean Sea and it is an island that will offer you sweeping ocean views, picture-perfect beaches, traditional Grecian architecture and fine dining. Flights London Heathrow – British Airways offers flights from May to October London Gatwick and Manchester – EasyJet offers flights from April to October Accommodation in Oia Santa Maris Luxury Villa and Suites Hotel Sebastian and Clare stayed in an exquisite hotel neatly tucked away from the centre of Oia. The hotel will offer you an authentic experience, with views overlooking the Aegean Sea and exclusive sunsets. Sebastian’s Must-See Places The Red Beach – Depending on how long you are visiting the island for, you may like to rent a car. This will allow you to visit the South of the Island, including the pre-historic town called Akrotiri. Here, you will find the red beach, a rare sight of an enormous volcanic rock situation in the sea next to dark blue waters. Ancient Thira – Ancient Thira is an ancient city and home to Messa Vouno Mountain – the visit will offer you spectacular views, markets and historic ruins. Fira – Fira is the capital of Santorini and it is a beautiful area that will offer you endless cafes, bars, restaurants and amazing views. Sebastian’s Must-Do Activities A boat trip – Exploring the island by boat will offer you a unique opportunity to see different towns and villages in all its diversity. Visit the pre-historic towns and ancient sites – This will give you a chance to learn about both the island’s history and Ancient Greek history Eat out at as many restaurants as possible – The food in Santorini is Mediterranean-Greek. You will find a great array of seafood and meats with the opportunity to try the islands finest-grown tomatoes, olives and wines. Go on the cable cars in Fira – This is an absolute necessity! Giving you beautiful views across the whole island. Plan to watch the sunset – Santorini sunsets are among the most sought-after phenomena in the world and so you should definitely make time to see the sun set in a variety of locations. Thanks for reading! And remember to share your European adventures with us when you relocate to the UK! Why is travelling important for my career? Join our Facebook Group IMG Advisor – Here you will receive access to frequent relocation blog posts, the opportunity to ask questions and receive professional advice and the chance to meet other IMGs!

Q&A with Joaquin Antonio Ramirez, Urology SHO at RLH

By Gabrielle Richardson
September 21, 2018

Hello, nice to meet you! What is your name, speciality and where do you work? Hi! My name is Dr Ramirez and I work as an SHO in Urology at the Royal London Hospital. Where is your home country? I am originally from Costa Rica. Why did you decide to relocate to the UK and what were your motivations? I came to the UK with the hopes to specialise in Surgery and to learn about minimally invasive procedures which are more common in the UK than where I come from. Relocating to the UK was very easy for me, I have been an expat for a long time and in my opinion, the UK is one of the easiest countries to relocate and find a job in, there are many people willing to help and everyone has been very welcoming since I arrived here. What are your thoughts on living in London? London can be a very hectic city to live in, as with any city it has its pros and cons, but I can assure you all that you will not be bored for a second if you decide to relocate here. The number of things to see and do is just amazing! What are your thoughts on the NHS as a system? I find it amazing how people in the UK respect and value the NHS as an institution and because of that support, doctors, can bring an amazing level of care to people for free. Do you have any advice for junior doctors who are considering specialising in Urology? I believe this is a great time to pursue Urology training in the UK, as it is a speciality that is suited for those interested in recent technological advances and research. I personally believe the most fascinating branch is urologic-oncology but there are many areas to specialise in, such as: -Sexual health -Infectious conditions The main path for a doctor who aspires to become a Urologist is to complete the MRCS exam and then apply for a Registrar post, this can either be a training or a service post – both routes can lead to you becoming a Consultant. I thoroughly enjoy working in Urology at the Royal London Hospital, it is a great speciality especially if you like video games. This is because now, everything is done through an endoscopic approach, so you are usually controlling instruments and see what you are doing via a TV screen. We recently got a surgical robot in RHL that we use for benign procedures, as a result, it has shortened the patient’s stay at the hospital and they can leave with practically no visible scars. Plus, it is really easy and fun to use compared to traditional laparoscopy. I find this minimally invasive approach very exciting and I hope every day we will be able to offer this to more people in the UK and around the world. Do you have any advice for Urology patients? I am going to split my answer into to parts, for the two patients that I have treated: A)Patients suffering from renal/ureteric stones The cause of a patient suffering from stones can vary. The most common stones are calcium oxalate and they are caused by a combination of factors including genetics, dehydration and consuming a high quantity of oxalate in your diet. Foods that are high in oxalate and ones you should avoid if you suffer from this condition include spinach, bran flakes, rhubarb, beetroot, potatoes, chips, nuts, nut butter and many others. Other types of stones can be caused by other factors such as recurrent urinary tract infections or gout, in this case, the main prevention is to treat the underlying medical condition as effectively as possible to prevent recurrence of calculi. B)Patients suffering from BPH or more commonly known as an enlarged prostate BPH stands for benign prostatic hypertrophy and it is a condition that affects up to 40% of men over the age of 65. It is an enlargement of the prostate gland that envelops the urethra making it difficult for the affected individual to pass urine, usually requiring them to depend on a urinary catheter to be able to empty their bladder. BPH is typically caused by environmental factors that are still relatively unknown however, it has been theorised that it is caused by an increased conversion of testosterone to DHT or dihydrotestosterone, which is the hormone responsible for some changes in ageing males such as male pattern baldness. Theoretically, men who produce higher levels of testosterone have a higher chance of it developing BPH and just anecdotally I can confirm that many of my patients who suffered from this condition tend to be very muscular and ‘manly’ looking men, which is something I tell my patients which never fails to get a smile out of them. It has been reported that aerobic exercise and a diet low in meat can prevent the incidence of BPH, but I believe the evidence is not yet conclusive on this matter. Currently, the best treatment available is for surgery and the most common procedure is called TURP (transurethral resection of the prostate) which involves passing a camera through the urethra and using an instrument called a resectoscope to ‘shave off’ a larger channel for the urine to pass through. This is done using an endoscopic cautery knife called a resectoscope. The surgery involves no cuts and is all done through this keyhole approach and it is currently the most effective way of treating this condition. There is a relatively high (5%) risk of causing erectile dysfunction which is why we are constantly looking for new ways to treat BDP which are safe and effective. At Royal London Hospital, where I did my Urology placement, we are studying a new technique called Uro-Lift, which is a less invasive procedure which involves ‘clipping’ the prostate with two clips that open the urethra clearing the passage. This new technique has shown promising results, but it is still in its early stages and we require more patients to undergo this procedure to confirm its superiority to the traditional TURP. Thank you for your advice, Dr Ramirez. What are your plans for the future? Eventually, I would like to go back to Costa Rica to help improve my home country with what I have learnt here. But for now, I have a lot of training ahead of me and so the UK is my current home.

Things you should know before moving to London

By Gabrielle Richardson
August 09, 2018

Moving to another country is a big move and moving to London is an even bigger move. You might have found your first job within the NHS or you are the spouse of a doctor who is relocating – this guide aims to provide you with all the information people wish they knew before making the move to the Big Smoke. If this article does not cover something that is of interest to you – comment below and we will be happy to answer. Quick London Facts: Population:6 million (2018 estimate) of which 37% were born outside of the UK Official Language: English but over 300 other languages are also spoken Consists of: 32 boroughs, plus the City of London 1. London is a big city­­ London is a sprawling metropolis. Whilst Central London and all the main tourist attractions are fairly close to each other, the surrounding areas are large and confusing for those who are not familiar with the city. Knowing in-depth information on the different areas and particularly the area you will be living, and working is vital before you move. The basics – London is a city made up of many smaller towns. There are 32 boroughs of London, each with their own identity, local government, council and infrastructure. Each London Borough is then broken down into ‘postcodes’. Depending on whether the area is North, East, South or West – the postcode will begin with N, E, S or W. Please visit the London Town website for more in-depth information on each Borough. 2. Living in London – General Rules of Thumb Prices to rent and buy generally decline the further out of Central London you go. The closer a flat or house is to a station, the more expensive it is. Underground stations command an additional premium over stations served only by the Overground, DLR, and/or National Rail. London’s property market is changing very rapidly – with formerly unfashionable/affordable areas becoming fashionable/unaffordable in as little as twelve months. Bonus Tips for Choosing Housing Keeping it Affordable - Flat Shares It is very common in London to share a flat with other people. Typically, you will have your own bedroom and then share communal areas such as the kitchen, bathroom and the garden. Whilst flat shares are significantly cheaper than renting your own flat, you do lose out on privacy. Websites such as Spare Room, Easy Room-mate and Ideal Flatmate will make your search to find accommodation easier with filters such as a required garden or to live with non-smokers. Advice - Never agree to rent a room before viewing it in person. Often pictures posted online of properties can be deceitful and so it is always best to go and view the property before you agree to live there. Furthermore, you will not be able to agree to rent a flat before viewing it in person. So whilst it is good to look at what is on the market – wait until you are in the city. Once you view a property that you like, and you can afford to get it – get it. The competition for London properties is very high so do not take too long deciding. Keeping it accessible – The right location for those Night Shifts Although it may be difficult to find the perfect flat, we do advise for you to try and find a place close to your hospital or at the very least close to a Night service tube station (Victoria, Jubilee, and most of the Central, Northern and Piccadilly lines.) This will make it easier during night shifts and on-calls. 3. When you get to London – don’t panic When you arrive in the city you may feel overwhelmed at its size and in the beginning, you will find it challenging to get your bearings. But do not worry! Technology will save the day. There are great Smartphone apps such as City Mapper. This app will inform you of nearby tube or rail stations, provide you with the best route to get to your required location and it will even inform you of how many calories you will burn if you decide to walk the journey. 4. Don’t bring your whole house with you! London is a large city and so you will find absolutely everything you need when you arrive. For example, there is no need to bring your duvet and pillows as they will just take up space in your luggage and you can buy them in the city fairly cheaply. 5. London is not the UK Of course, London is in the UK, but it is very different from the rest of the UK. London is like a mini country within a country, often with its own politics. Life in the city can be a world away from other places in the UK. So, if you find London too busy for you – you might enjoy somewhere else in the UK. Tips for when you first move to the city Stand on top of Primrose Hill at sunset Find a nearby park and familiarise yourself with it, especially if you work in Central London. The park will act as a great escape from your busy lifestyle. Don’t walk while using your phone, you will slow down the pace of the crowds. Look at the yellow lines on the underground and stand where the paint has faded – that is where the doors open. If you are an international doctor who is interested in relocating to London or any other part of the UK send your CV to [email protected] and one of our Specialist Advisers will be in touch. Come and say hello! Join our Facebook Group IMG Advisor - this will give you access to frequent relocation blog posts, the ability to ask relocation questions and receive advice and support, and to meet other IMG's! References Randomly London. (2018). Moving to London? Ultimate 2017 Living & Working Guide. [online] Available at: http://randomlylondon.com/moving/ [Accessed 6 Aug. 2018]. Little Miss Spaghetti. (2018). 16 things you need to know before moving to London - Little Miss Spaghetti. [online] Available at: https://littlemissspaghetti.com/16-things-to-know-before-moving-to-london/ [Accessed 6 Aug. 2018].

After arriving in the UK - what should I do first?

By Gabrielle Richardson
August 09, 2018

1. Setting up a UK bank account Whether you’re thinking of moving to the UK or you have already arrived, at some point you’re going to need a UK bank account. In the past, opening a bank account was very difficult if you were new to the UK. Thankfully, these days, it has become slightly easier. Here’s how to go about it. What Documents Do I Need? To open a UK bank account, you will need two documents: one to prove your identity and one to prove your address. This applies both in branch and online. To prove your identity just need your passport, driving licence or identity card (if you’re an EU national). Every bank has its own list of what documents are acceptable as proof of address. Broadly speaking, however, these include: a tenancy agreement or mortgage statement; a recent electricity or gas bill (less than 3 months old); a recent (less than 3 months old) bank or credit card statement that’s not printed off the internet; or a current council tax bill. Of course, if you’re new to the UK, you probably don’t have any of the documents on this list. However, most banks now accept a letter from your employer as proof of address (please ensure the letter is within three months old). Can I Open A Bank Account Before I Arrive In The UK? Yes, you can. Your home bank may be able to set up an account for you if it has a correspondent banking relationship with a British bank. Many major UK banks also have so-called ‘international’ accounts. These are designed specifically for non-residents, so they’re a great option if you don’t have the documents to prove your UK address. In fact, you can even apply for an international account online. Barclays, Lloyds, HSBC, and NatWest all offer international bank accounts. However, opening a bank account from abroad or an international account may not be the right choice for you. Very often, you will have to make a big initial deposit and commit to paying in a minimum amount of money each month. Some banks will also charge you a monthly fee in addition to these requirements. This can make your bank account expensive to open and run, especially if you still don’t have a job. Other restrictions could also apply, which includes not being able to close the account and switch to a better deal until a set period of time expires. Which Bank Is Best For My Needs? Unfortunately, there is no straightforward answer to this question. The banking industry in the UK is very competitive, and many banks have special products designed to attract a specific type of customer. Things To Consider When Choosing a Bank Because you’re new to the UK, you have a limited credit history and not much documentation. Some banks are strict with their requirements, so opening a bank account with them will be difficult. It’s usually easier to open an account with one of the UK’s largest banks - Barclays, Lloyds, HSBC or RBS/NatWest. These banks have been in business for a long time and are very financially strong. They also have a lot of experience dealing with international customers, so they are a bit more understanding of your situation and flexible with their requirements. The Big Four UK Banks There are more than ten retail banks in the UK, each with their own strengths and weaknesses. However, the biggest four UK banks are Barclays, Lloyds, HSBC and RBS/NatWest. Barclays Barclays is one of the oldest banks in the UK, and has more than 1500 branches around the country. It’s also probably one of the easiest banks to open an account with if you’re new to the UK. In fact, you can even pre-apply for an account online before you arrive in the UK. The account is free and comes with a contactless visa debit card as standard. However, you won’t be able to use your account immediately. Once you’re in the UK, you have to visit a branch with your reference number, passport, and proof of address in order to activate the account. Lloyds Lloyds is the largest provider of current accounts in the UK and has about 1300 branches throughout the country. Opening a bank account is very easy, even if you have just arrived in the UK. In fact, Lloyds has a special new to the UK account which you can normally open with just your passport or identity card (if you’re an EU citizen). The account is free and comes with a contactless visa debit card as standard. HSBC HSBC has more than 1100 branches around England and Wales, but a lower number in Scotland and Northern Ireland. Of course, HSBC’s biggest advantage is that it operates in more than 80 countries around the world. If you bank with HSBC in your home country, they can help you set up an account in the UK before you get here. The basic current account includes free telephone and internet banking and comes with a visa debit card. However, whether you get a contactless card will depend on your individual circumstances. You may also have to undergo a credit check before opening your account. Please note that BDI Resourcing has a personal contact at HSBC who supports IMG’s setting up a UK bank account – so please email us at [email protected] for those details. RBS/NatWest The RBS Group owns the Royal Bank of Scotland and NatWest. Because they’re part of the same group, both the Royal Bank of Scotland and NatWest have broadly similar products. However, most of the Royal Bank of Scotland’s 700 branches are located in Scotland, whilst NatWest has over 1,400 branches all over the UK. NatWest’s Select current account is free to use and comes with a contactless visa debit card as standard. You’ll also get access to an emergency cash service, so you can withdraw money from your account using just a security code if your card is lost or stolen. Other Banks While Barclays, Lloyds, HSBC and RBS/NatWest are the four biggest banks in the UK, there are also other banks you can check. TSB is quickly gaining a reputation as one of the best banks in the UK. It’s quite easy to open an account, even if you’re new to the UK; and the Classic Plus account has some great perks. These include 5% interest each month on the first £2,000 in your account and 5% cashback each month on your first £100 contactless payments. Santander is very popular because of its 1|2|3| Account. This offers up to 3% cashback on household bills and 3% interest on balances between £3,000 and £20,000. Unfortunately, you’ll need to undergo a credit check when you apply for this account, so if you’re new to the UK you probably won’t qualify. However, once you’ve been in the UK for a while (perhaps a year or so), it’s a good idea to look at it. Of course, it’s always best to look at what different banks have to offer and see who has the best deal. Don’t commit to a product without at least having a look at what else is out there. What Are The Costs? You can get a basic current account at no monthly cost from most high street banks. This should be more than enough for your everyday banking needs. Most banks also have premium accounts that offer additional benefits such as cashback on household bills, in-credit interest, and insurance. However, these accounts will often have monthly fees and minimum eligibility requirements; and you may not qualify if you’re new to the UK. You’ll also need to be careful to stay in credit. Unless you have a planned overdraft facility, your bank may charge large fees if you withdraw more money than you have in your account. It’s always a good idea to read through your bank’s terms and conditions. That way, you’ll avoid any nasty surprises. ATM Fees Withdrawing money from an ATM is free if you use one of your bank’s ATM machines. Many banks also offer free cash withdrawals even if you’re not a customer. However, some ATM machines aren’t free; and can charge you between £1.50 and £3 per transaction. If you’re not using one of your bank’s ATM machines, check the machine first. Many free ATM machines will state that they are free. Similarly, some paid machines will warn you about charges before you can complete the transaction. 2. Getting a mobile phone UK mobile companies operate using the Global System for Mobile (GSM) standard so if your mobile phone is compatible with GSM, all you need to do is exchange your current SIM for a UK SIM. However, not all international mobile phones will work with British mobile phone service providers so this will mean that you will need to get your phone unlocked prior to travelling to the UK or buy a UK mobile phone when you arrive in the UK. Furthermore, the UK has thousands of WiFi points and excellent 4G mobile coverage so you will never be without the internet. How do I get a UK SIM card? To get a UK SIM card you can apply online or visit a high street shop. There are two options available which are contract or pay-as-you-go. The most popular UK Mobile Companies: EE O2 Vodafone 3 Virgin GiffGaff Advantages of getting a contract SIM/Phone A brand-new smartphone, with often no upfront cost The option of an upgrade to a newer phone when your contract is about to end No need to top up as the contract with come with a monthly allowance of calls, texts, and data. This means you do not have to monitor your credit and be at the disadvantage of going to top up. Advantages of getting a pay-as-you-go SIM Cheaper monthly cost because the price does not include the cost of a new phone Greater flexibility from the choice of different terms. You can commit to a 12-month plan, 30-day rolling plan or just pay for what you use Freedom to switch network providers for a better deal at any time How to unlock your phone in the UK Most UK mobile phone providers only allow you to unlock your phone if you have had it for 12-months or longer. You should ask your mobile phone provider their price for unlocking your existing phone. What UK mobile plan should I choose? If you opt for a contract phone it is important to shop around for the best deals as the UK mobile phone market is competitive. The cost of your UK mobile phone is typically factored into the monthly charges but some providers offer the handset for free. Before agreeing to a contract, it is important to remember how often you use your mobile, what you use it for and then consider that when choosing a deal. Although anyone can buy a UK mobile phone, you must note that not everyone is entitled to a UK mobile contract due to credit history and if you do not have enough credit history in the UK you can be refused. Therefore, you might have to purchase a pay-as-you-go SIM then change to a contract deal once you have built up your credit rating. 3.National Insurance Number Also referred to as an ‘NI’ number, a National Insurance number is the unique code (made of numbers and letters) given to every UK citizen who is eligible to pay tax contributions. Residents automatically receive one just before their 16th birthday, and your NI number remains the same for life, even if you marry, change names or move abroad. The National Insurance number records your personal National Insurance contributions and taxes, for every job you have during your lifetime. It also allows you access to NHS services, benefits, and to register to vote in the UK elections. How do I get one? Typically, your National Insurance (NI) number is printed on the back of your biometric residence permit (BRP) and you will not need to apply for an NI number if you already have one. However, if your NI number is not printed on your card then you must apply for one and your application can only be made once you are in the UK. Please note that you will be able to start work before your NI number arrives and you should tell the hospital that you have applied for one and then provide it to them once you have it. National Insurance Interview The Job Centre Plus could write and ask you to come to an interview where you will be asked about your personal circumstance and why you need an NI number. The letter will ask you to bring certain documentation to prove your identity, such as your passport, BRP, birth certificate or driving licence. At the interview, you will be told how long it will take to receive your NI number. 4. Collecting BRP   You will receive a biometric residence permit (BRP) if you apply to come to the UK for longer than 6 months and apply to settle in the UK. Your BRP card will include your name, date of birth, and place of birth, your fingerprints, a photo of your face and your immigration status. You will not need to apply for a BRP on top of your Visa application as it will automatically be issued to you. When you arrive in the UK you will need to collect your BRP. You must collect your card within a certain number of days of arriving in the UK, and that date will be stated on your Visa acceptance letter. You can collect your card from either a named Post Office branch or your Sponsor (hospital) if you chose this option when you applied. 5. Visiting the Police Station Often people will need to register with the police after they arrive in the UK with their Visa. To check if you need to register with the UK police you will need to check your Visa vignette (the sticker in your passport). If you do need to register it will have ‘police registration’ or ‘register with police within 7 days of entry’. Please note that if you fail to register your permission to stay in the UK will be shortened and you will have to leave and you can also be stopped from getting a UK Visa in the future. In addition, please be consider that you may be required to bring relevant documentation with you and this documentation will need to be in a hard-copy, electronic copies will not be accepted. After you have registered with the police you will receive a registration certificate. Keep this certificate safe to prove you have registered with the police, return to the UK after travel and apply to stay in the UK for a longer period. 6. Registering with a GP / Dentist Anyone in the UK can register and consult with a GP without charge. UK GP’s are self-employed and have contracts with the NHS. An application to join a practice may only be refused if the practice has reasonable grounds for doing so. To find GP services in your area please follow this link. Once you have your chosen practice you should visit it in person to register. They will ask you to complete a GMS1 form as part of your application to register. GP practices are not required to request proof of identity or immigration status, however, they could ask to see proof of name and date of birth. Documents that they would accept are your passport, driving licence or home office letter. They may also ask for proof of address, which can be proved by a recent utility bill or a council tax bill. Dentist You will not need to register with a dentist in the same way as with a GP because you are not bound to a catchment area. You can simply find a dentist that is suitable for you which can be done so via this link. When you have found a dentist, you should go into the practice or call them to ask if you can register as an NHS patient. Please note that not all dentists provide NHS treatments. If you are accepted then you will be asked your name and address, ask you to sign a form to register and arrange for you to have a dental check-up (typically this is free). 7. Registering your utility bills When you have found a property to move into you will need to set up the household bills. First, you should contact the current supplier at your new property to tell them you have moved in and if you do not know who the current supplier is then follow this link for some advice. Second, read the meters the day you move in to ensure you receive an accurate first bill. You will automatically be put onto a ‘deemed’ contract with the current supplier of the property which is typically one of the most expensive tariffs so you should look for a better deal with the current supplier or a new one as soon as you move in. Please note that switching suppliers usually takes about 21 days so you will have to pay at least one bill with the current supplier. If you would like further advice and support on any of the above information please email our Relocaton Support Expert Isla at [email protected] Join our Facebook Group IMG Advisor - here, you will have access to frequent relocation blogs, the opportunity to receive professional guidance and the chance to meet other IMGs!

So you have decided that the UK is for you

By Gabrielle Richardson
July 30, 2018

Hello IMG friends! This blog post is going to provide you with an outline of the process for an international doctor who wants to relocate to the UK. Moving to the UK has many advantages, as explored in our previous blog post. However, we fully understand that the process can be complex and confusing. Therefore, this article aims to simplify the entire process and will provide a step by step guidance for an IMG who wants to relocate. You should note that the process order will differ dependent on your personal circumstance, so get in touch with one of our Specialist Recruitment Consultants at [email protected] and they will be able to advise you on the best pathway to take. Generally, below are the following steps that an IMG will have to take in order to come and work in the UK: English Language Qualification - If you are relocating from a country where English is not the native language, the UK’s General Medical Council require you to sit an English Language test. Typically Doctors take IELTS, however recently the GMC announced they would also accept the OET examination. Postgraduate Qualification – This qualification must be recognised by the GMC. To find out if you have an approved GMC postgraduate qualification contact us at [email protected], as again there are various routes to take depending on your situation. If your qualification is not recognised you will then be required to take the Professional and Linguistics Advisory Board UK (PLAB) Part 1 and 2 exams. This exam will test your English knowledge in a medical context. But for European doctors if you qualified in a European institution then your postgraduate qualification will automatically be recognised by the GMC and you will not be required to take PLAB. Job Search – For many Doctors once they have received their English language and postgraduate qualification the job search begins. Once you are at this stage get in touch with us as we will be able to pair you with a Specialist Recruitment Consultant who will be able to provide you with exclusive roles and then organise interviews for you. GMC Registration Process – Once you have an English language and post graduate qualification you will be eligible to register with the GMC for a license to practice. At this stage visit the GMC’s website and locate all the required documentation they require, then you can begin your application process and upon submitting you will be required to pay a fee. Job Offer – After you have been offered a position you can apply for a Visa to work in the UK and organise an ID check with the GMC. Relocation – When an ID check date has been confirmed, you can begin booking flights, organising accommodation and schools if you have children – all of which we can assist you on. English Language Qualification IELTS From our experience, we believe the first step that should be taken is to ensure that you have English language testing which is approved by the GMC. The most popular language exam IMG’s tend to take is the International English Language Testing System (IELTS). The exam covers the four key language skills in general English: Listening, Speaking, Reading and Writing. Doctors must achieve an overall score of 7.5 (with a score no less than 7.0 in each section of the test). Further information on IELTS can be found on their website at: https://www.ielts.org/ OET On the 8th February 2018 the GMC announced that they would also accept the Occupational English Test (OET) as an alternative test to prove your English language skills. OET recognise that limited language proficiency is an obstacle to effective communication which affects the quality of care. Thus, OET is designed to replicate the critical tasks of the healthcare workplace setting and the test measures a Doctor’s abilities through the skills of listening, reading, writing and speaking. The score required is four B’s and the scores must be achieved at the same exam sitting. Currently we are seeing many doctors who are now attempting OET as they have struggled to reach the required scores within IELTS; however it is too early for us to give a definitive answer as to the pass rate for OET in comparison to IELTS. Nevertheless, we will be collating this information as we go along and we will then be able to advise which test is better once we have the data. It is also important to note that the OET exam is significantly more expensive than IELTS; it is limited in the number of global test centres and the frequency of exams available. Further information on the OET exam can be found here: https://www.occupationalenglishtest.org/ Recognised Postgraduate Qualifications The next stage of the process is to ensure that you hold a GMC approved postgraduate qualification. If you hold one of the following qualifications and it has been obtained in the last three years, then it is important to note that you will not be required to sit the PLAB exams, but you will need to have an approved IELTS score. However, if your postgraduate qualification is on the list but it was obtained more than three years ago, then you will be required to submit additional evidence to the GMC, which demonstrates that the level of practice you have delivered has continued to be in line with the associated qualification. As previously mentioned, if you are unsure as to whether your qualification is recognised then do not hesitate to get in touch with us. A list of GMC approved postgraduate qualifications can be found here: https://goo.gl/jZiiRd PLAB If you do not have a recognised GMC postgraduate qualification then you will have to sit the PLAB exam. PLAB is an English language test that is focused on practicing English in a medical setting. The test assesses your ability, as a doctor, to work safely as a clinician in a UK NHS hospital. This certificate is broken into 2 exams: PLAB Part 1 is a 3 hour long exam with a paper containing 200 single best answer (SBA) questions PLAB Part 2 is a 14-station objective structured clinical exam (OSCE) Before sitting the PLAB exams you must already have successfully completed your IELTS exam, but please do not assume that because you have passed the IELTS, you will pass the PLAB. This test is harder and will more than likely require some study - there are a number of independent companies that can assist you in preparation for the PLAB exams, as well as study resources which can be purchased online. Please speak to your Recruitment Consultant for more information. Bespoke Job Searches Although you will not be able to begin employment until you have received your licence to practice from the GMC, once you have completed your IELTS and PLAB exams (if applicable) we will then be in a position to start the job search and begin to arrange interviews for you with our clients. Many of our clients will be happy to interview and offer a position after a telephone and/or Skype interview – which means we are often able to secure an offer of employment without the need for a face to face interview and you needing to travel to the UK. BDI offer a bespoke job search so you do not have to. Part of this process for us includes: Speaking directly to Lead Consultants, Clinical Directors and Department Managers to ensure that your CV is reviewed directly by a clinician. This is because often direct applications are often disregarded by an administrator before reaching the potential employer. Provide exclusive roles: we often have access to jobs which are not actively advertised. Detailed understanding of your specialty: Our Specialist Recruitment Consultants are all trained to be knowledgeable in a wide range of niche specialties. For us it is important to know what your research interests and sub-specialties are to locate the perfect position for you to continue your professional development. We will also negotiate your salary with our client to ensure you receive the best package possible. General Medical Council (GMC) Once you have your English Language Qualification and a hold a recognised postgraduate qualification you will be eligible to register to the GMC to receive a licence to practice which is required by anyone who wishes to practice medicine in the NHS. The GMC are responsible for protecting NHS patients and to improve medical education and practice across the UK, namely by: Deciding which doctors are qualified to work in the UK and oversee all UK medical education and training Set the standards that doctors need to follow and make sure that they continue to meet these standards throughout their careers Take action to prevent a doctor from putting the safety of patients or the public’s confidence in doctors at risk From experience registering with the GMC is the most time consuming and difficult aspect of an IMG relocating to the UK. Many Doctors will fall at this hurdle for many reasons which include; the length of registration time, fees payable and unsuitable documentation. Our first and foremost piece of advice to you as an IMG, who wants to relocate to the UK, is to contact and engage in conversation with the GMC as early as possible. The reason for this is that only they will be able to clarify whether you hold the appropriate postgraduate qualification and the appropriate documents to continue an application with them. Contact details can be found on their website via the following link: https://goo.gl/b2mASx Cost of Registration GMC registration will generally cost £425; however, this could fluctuate dependent on your circumstance. For instance, if you have held a registration in the past and want to reinstate it, the fee is £200. Furthermore, an annual retention fee of £425 is also required and this fee can be paid via a one-off payment, quarterly or monthly. It is important to note that further fees may be applicable and a full list can be found here: https://goo.gl/hoxeHA. European Doctors From experience the GMC registration process is generally easier for European Doctor’s, this is because the only test you are required to take is the IELTS exam. If you qualified in a European institution you will automatically hold a recognised GMC postgraduate qualification and therefore able to apply for Specialist Registration and not required to sit the PLAB exam. Furthermore, if you do not hold a Royal College postgraduate qualification then you will simply have to submit your current qualifications to the GMC as evidence of training. In addition, most European citizens will not require a Visa to work in the UK. Visa Sponsorship After you have accepted your offer of employment the final application to be made is for a Tier 2 Visa. This step is considered simple because the employing hospital will sponsor your application and occasionally pay for it too. The Tier 2 Visa allows you to work in the UK and travel in and out of the country as you please. The Visa is supported for the duration of your employment (via extensions) and is valid whilst you work for the sponsoring organisation (i.e. if you move to work at another hospital then your new employer will need to take over sponsorship of the Visa). Despite the government citing that it takes up to three months to get your Visa, in our experience it is usually obtained by about four weeks from the point of application. With regards to close family members, they can also be granted Visa’s as part of your own application (but please bear in mind that the hospital will not carry the additional cost of this). For full details on applying for a Visa visit: https://goo.gl/RcCgiz Relocation Process Now you have registered with the GMC, accepted a job offer and got your Visa, the next stage of the process is to arrange your travel and relocation to the UK! Once you have booked your flights then we can help arrange your accommodation. In the UK, to lease or buy a property you must view the property in person and then sign for it. Therefore, when you first come to the UK it is likely that you will have to stay in temporary hospital accommodation until you find the perfect accommodation for yourself or your family – often medical staffing will be able to arrange this once you have booked your flights. Again, BDI will be happy to help with this process and we can organise viewings of houses or apartments for you to go and visit in your first couple of weeks being here. Other points to consider once you have made the move are: Setting up a UK bank account Getting a UK mobile number National Insurance number Registering with a GP/Dentist Registering for electricity/gas/tax To summarise, the relocation process to the UK is a complex one and the requirement of each step will differ depending on your personal circumstance, this also means that the steps can be taken in various orders. In addition elements of the process can change from time-to-time but we will be able to keep you up to date on any developments. Therefore we advise that you get in contact with one of our team, at [email protected], and we will be able to advise you on the best pathway to take in order to help you move to the UK sooner than you thought. If you are an international doctor who wants to relocate to the UK and work within the NHS send your CV to [email protected] – and we will be happy to help you. In addition, if you would like support form an online forum of other IMG’s join our Facebook Group IMG Advisor: IMG Advisor

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