Latest Blog

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 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: [Accessed 6 Aug. 2018]. Little Miss Spaghetti. (2018). 16 things you need to know before moving to London - Little Miss Spaghetti. [online] Available at: [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 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 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 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, 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: 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: 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: 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: 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: 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: 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, 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 – 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

How much will relocating to the UK cost me?

By Gabrielle Richardson
July 02, 2018

For many international doctors, it is their ultimate goal to relocate to the UK and work within the NHS. The reasons for this varies from doctor to doctor but the most popular reasons are to receive the opportunity to develop their skills and education, improve their quality of living or to join friends and family who already live here. Nevertheless, some IMG’s jump straight into the process without taking the time to think about how long the relocation process takes and most importantly how much it is going to cost. It is important to know the provisional costs of relocating to the UK, as often doctors who do not research into it before becoming de-motivated once they come across how much it will cost them. Therefore, in today’s article, we aim to guide you through each stage of the relocation stage via the PLAB route with an average fee – so you know what to expect before you embark on your journey. To practise medicine in the UK, all doctors need to be GMC Registered. Therefore, when you have made the decision to relocate it is important that your first goal is to become registered, not prioritising the job search which comes at a much later stage. To become GMC registered you must have the following: Recognised primary medical qualifications English language capability Registration and licensing history Certificates of Good Standing Knowledge and Skills ID Check For more detail on each GMC Registration requirement please visit our article. As you would have already obtained your primary medical qualification we will start with the next step, which is evidencing your English language capabilities. The GMC accept two ways to evidence this via IELTS or OET English language test Cost IELTS £160 OET £349 Please note that the price of IELTS varies test centre to test centre but it is typically £160. The price of OET is the same universally. Knowledge and Skills The GMC requires all UK doctors to possess the relevant knowledge and skills in order to practise safely. To evidence this to the GMC you will need to have either a GMC approved postgraduate qualification (a list can be found here) or pass the PLAB exams. PLAB test Cost Part 1 of the PLAB test £230 Part 2 of the PLAB test £840 Flights to the UK for your ID check/relocation Popular IMG one-way flight examples (three months in advance): Country Flight Price India £450 Pakistan £350 Iraq £300 Libya £380 Egypt £250 Saudi Arabia £300 UAE £200 Average flight cost £572.86 GMC Registration Cost Registration Price Application for a full registration with a licence to practise £150 Tier 2 Visa Application Application Cost Tier 2 (General) visa application £610 NHS surcharge £200 The NHS surcharge is £200 per year for all visa and immigration applications. For example, £1,000 for a five-year visa.  For the purposes of this article, we are giving you the cost of a one-year visa. In some cases, you may be able to claim back the cost of your Tier 2 visa application and NHS surcharge, but this is dependent on your relocation package. Total Cost Exam Total OET £349 PLAB 1 £230 PLAB 2 £840 Flight for PLAB 2 £572 Flight for ID check/relocation £572 GMC Registration Cost £150 Tier 2 visa application £610 Total £3,523 Please note we have not included the cost of your undergraduate degree or postgraduate degree so the overall cost will increase if you wanted to include these in your relocation cost. Although the above figures may feel overwhelming, it is important to remember that these costs are spread out over a couple of years. For most international doctors, the process is lengthy simply due to medical and family responsibilities. Therefore, the overall price will not feel as expensive. Don’t give up on your dream! There are a lot of steps to relocating to the UK, however, with determination it is achievable. If you would like support with your relocation get in contact with us at and we will be happy to advise. Come and say hello! Join our Facebook Group IMG Advisor to gain access to frequent blog posts, the opportunity to ask questions and to meet other IMG’s.

BDI's "hot tips" to a successful relocation to the UK

By Gabrielle Richardson
June 27, 2018

Introuction For IMG’s who decide they want to relocate to the UK and work within the NHS, the relocation process can be lengthy and overwhelming which can often result in rushed decisions. So, in today’s post to celebrate the UK’s hottest week of the year so far, we provide you with some “hot tips” on a successful relocation to the UK. You can enjoy a personalised tip from each of us whilst seeing us enjoy the hot weather in our dress down clothes. Gabbie – Join the IMG community When you have made the decision that you are going to relocate to the UK and work within the NHS it is important you know that it is a very time-consuming, complex and overwhelming process. Therefore, for me, my top tip is to ensure you surround yourself with those going through the same experience. This can be online or offline. Talking to other IMGs who want to relocate is a good way to share experiences and emotions. One way to do this is to join our Facebook Group: IMG Advisor. In this group you can ask questions, receive useful information via blog posts and meet other IMG’s!     Nimrit – Ensure the hospital is right for you My advice to IMG’s who want to relocate is to be patient – do not rush the process. Once you have obtained GMC registration and you have then been offered a job, please ensure that this job is right for both you and your family. One way to do this is to research the hospital, what is its CQC report, what do their patient reviews say, have they been in the press recently? All of this information will help you make the decision as to whether this hospital is right for you. You have been waiting a long time to get to this stage, so don’t make the wrong decision now.   Sebastian – Research the hospital’s location Once you have been offered a position in a hospital, make sure that you do not just research the immediate city or town that your new hospital is located in – look into the surrounding area’s as well. The UK is a small country which means that there will be excellent areas around your hospital, which can provide you and your family withsocial activities and enjoyment of life. If your hospital is in a smaller town – don’t worry. First, you will be saving money by living in a less populated area and secondly, you can enjoy rural life whilst still having access to great things to do nearby.   Ryan – Plan ahead Sounds simple, but plan ahead and give yourself time to digest information and make decisions! Sometimes the excitement of getting your GMC registration can lead you to make decisions too quickly and potentially the wrong one. You then realise that you physically cannot relocate that quickly and you will find yourself under a lot of pressure and stress. I have two tips for IMG’s: Find out your contractual notice period with your current employer and if there is a financial penalty for ending your contract early. Second, and most importantly, talk to your family about your relocation plans to make sure everyone is happy. Remember that the process is never quick and will usually take a minimum of three months to complete all the required steps.       Elliott – Talk to the hospital staff My tip is that when you are researching the hospital the best way to receive a true understanding of the hospital and its area is to speak to a doctor in the department you will be working in and then a second international doctor from the hospital as they would have gone through the same experience as you. And this may even lead to you making friends before you have even started! Bonus! Dan – Don’t get caught up in the details Try and remember not to get too caught up on the small details of your first post within the UK. All too often we hear “I will only work in a teaching hospital” or “I will only work in a city-centre location”. Remember, that the NHS is a standardised workplace so all processes, procedures, learning and development opportunities will all be of a very high standard in every single hospital across the UK. To explain, a teaching hospital just means that they have an affiliation with your medical school, however, your training as a junior or middle grade doctor comes from your peers and seniors – not a medical school. Equally, the UK is a relatively small place and relatively few people live in the city centre. So, be flexible and ready to use public transport – most locations are less than an hour away from a city centre! Luke – Consider moving your family over later Once you have accepted a position and are considering the move over – do not be too worried about moving your family over at the same time you do. The initial move over to the UK can be stressful and there is often a lot of things that need to be done and boxes that must be ticked. If you move over by yourself first, it means you can easily get your ID check sorted, find good accommodation for your family and schools for your children, and then settle in to your new post. Once the little details are taken care of, it will be a lot easier to move your family without all the stress!   Tom – Ensure you have the required documentation Make sure you have all the documents you need before starting each step in the process! For example, depending on the country you are currently living in and where you have worked before, you may need more than one Certificate of Good Standing – these can take time to gather and are only valid for 3 months at a time. Other difficult documents to obtain at that stage could be if you have worked in the Middle East as a locum without a full license: you will need to explain why this was allowed and you should also ensure that you can get a letter from your hospital and the ‘Gen2’ form signed. When applying for your visa, if you did not take a UKVI version of IELTS or took OET for GMC registration, then you need to factor in the time it takes to sit this (only 4.0 pass mark is required for the visa) or pass through ‘UK NARIC’ before you can make the application. These are all things that can add weeks or months onto the time it takes to relocate. Jason – Reduce your expectations When you are searching for your first position within the NHS, my advice is to reduce your expectations. To exemplify, for Consultant Radiologists who want to relocate to the UK it is best to set your expectations to start your first role as a General Radiologist with a view to specialising in your chosen area after the first 12 months in the position. This will allow you to understand how the radiology department works within an NHS hospital and will also allow you to feel comfortable and confident when you move on to specialising.   Sean – Be Skype ready As an IMG, it is likely your interview with an NHS trust will take place via Skype. It is an approved method of conducting the interviews and, while there are other alternatives, it is readily available within most Trust HR teams. There are some things that you need to have ready to make sure that your interview goes smoothly. Interviews take between 15-30 minutes so every moment matters! Make sure that you test the connection, video and sound a few days before the interview - there is nothing worse than taking time out of your day and failing to connect when you need it most. During your interview really imagine you are in the room with the interviewer. As well as talking about your duties and responsibilities they will be gauging how you communicate and be picturing you in their hospital. Ensure you make ‘eye contact’ with the camera, speak clearly, listen well and answer the questions. Finally, let your personality come through and smile. If you are an IMG who is interested in relocating to the UK and working within the NHS send your CV to and we will be happy to help you. Alternatively, come and say hello in our Facebook Group: IMG Advisor! Here you can ask relocation questions and meet other IMG’s!

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