Moving to the home of the worlds first national public health service
The NHS in the UK is a world leader in healthcare provision. It’s easy to see why doctors from all corners of the globe relocate and move to the UK to work for the NHS workforce. The NHS has relied on overseas staff immigrating to the UK since it began. Today, over 1 in 7 NHS staff report their nationality as non-British. Overseas NHS staff, especially doctors, are welcomed and highly valued by the organisation.
At Remedium we’ve placed over 2,500 doctors into permanent NHS positions. Many of these doctors relocated from overseas with the help of an experienced member of our Remedium team. We assist and guide NHS doctors at every stage of their journey and we’re happy to help each doctor with their individual requirements. If you’re an international doctor who has been considering relocating to the UK you may find our guide below on what to expect when moving here extremely helpful.
Visas and COS
Finding a role and getting sponsorship
It’s important that you have found a role before making any visa applications or planning your move. You will need an employer that can sponsor your visa and have secured employment with them. You must be able to provide all of the appropriate certification and paperwork attached to your sponsorship when making your visa application (see the section below). When working for the NHS your Certificate of Sponsorship (CoS) is usually provided by your trust or hospital.
Sponsorship is one thing, but you’ll need to find and secure a role first. The Remedium team is on hand to help all international doctors with this, and you can freely browse our open permanent NHS jobs for doctors. Alternatively, you can take a look at some of our live jobs and register your details with us directly. One of our team of NHS staffing experts will then be in touch to discuss suitable opportunities and your first steps towards a career in the UK.
UK Health and Care Work Visa
If you are a doctor who is looking to make the move to the UK’s National Health Service, you are likely to have questions about what visa you need and how you would go about getting one. In this article, we outline the answers to some visa questions that we are commonly asked by our doctors who are preparing for life in the UK.
The UK Government has created a Health and Care Work visa with its own application process especially for healthcare professionals joining the NHS. It is classified as a Skilled Worker Visa, replacing the Tier 2 (General) work visa you may have known of if you’ve considered moving to the UK previously.
Application is made online, and there is an application fee. There are several documents you’ll need to apply, and these will vary depending on both your location and the position you’re travelling to the UK to work in. There may also be additional documentation needed if you’ve resided in multiple countries. If you’re applying from outside the UK a decision on your visa will be made in roughly 3 weeks, although this can vary. If you’re applying from within the UK already then this wait could be as long as 8 weeks.
If you apply through Remedium the team will be on hand to help at every stage of your application. Each member of the team has already helped dozens of doctors relocate to the UK successfully. They know exactly what documentation you’ll need, and know the process well enough to guide you through each step. You can take a look at some of our testimonials on Google or on our LinkedIn page.
Sponsorship and visas for family members
If you have family members that will be joining you in the UK for longer than six months they will need to apply for a UK Family Visa. Applying for a family visa takes slightly longer than a skilled worker visa. The wait can be as long as 12 weeks, so it is important to factor this into your plans and arrangements. A family visa application costs £1523 per applicant when applying from outside the UK. Applicants include dependents, such as children.
Accommodation and housing in the UK
Living arrangements are always a key concern when moving to a new country. Fortunately, the UK has a robust and healthy housing market. Many choose to rent a room or property when they initially move over and buy a property later on once they’ve settled in.
Whether you’re renting or buying, your contact on the Remedium team will be available to guide and assist you at every stage. The UK property market can feel overwhelming at first. There are literally hundreds of estate agents, rental apps, and online property marketplaces and valuation websites. All claim to offer the best properties at the most reasonable prices or monthly rental fees. As a Remedium doctor, you can rest assured that advice will only ever be a phone call or email away. We make sure our doctors don’t fall foul of bogus accommodation arrangements and can recommend tried and trusted estate agents and landlords in most UK locations.
Renting in the UK
Rented accommodation is common in the UK. Properties of many different sizes are available in all towns and cities, on both short and long term arrangements. It’s customary in the UK to pay a deposit when renting a property. This is usually one month’s rent in advance, although the amount may vary. Rent amounts will also vary from location to location. Larger cities such as London and Manchester are much more expensive to live in than smaller towns.
There are no laws in the United Kingdom that dictate how much landlords can charge per month. However, there are many laws in place to ensure rented housing and living standards are at an acceptable level. Occurrences such as mould, property damage, electrical or gas failures and the like, fall to the landlord to repair and maintain. It’s important to know your rights as a UK visa holder prior to signing any rental contracts. The UK government has provided a great online guide to UK tenancy laws.
The average monthly rent in the UK is £922. Once London is excluded this amount drops quite significantly, to £847 per month. It should also be noted that this average figure will include entire properties and single rooms. Many doctors who travel to the UK together opt for a house share, with each renting an individual room.
Buying a property in the UK
If you have the finances available and know you plan to stay in the UK long term you may be considering buying a property in the UK. There are no legal restrictions on ex-pats or non-residents buying a property or getting a mortgage in the UK. In general, the property taxes are the same for both residents and non-residents in the UK. This may vary depending on any individual tax arrangements the UK government has with your home country.
Property prices vary from region to region in the UK. The UK average house price is around £249,000. Properties in larger cities are considerably more expensive, and the price of your UK house will also scale with the size of the property. In comparison to some other countries, rural property in the UK tends to cost more than property in towns and some smaller cities. Houses located in the British countryside can sometimes be valued in the millions despite being relatively small.
There will be several upfront costs and fees when buying a UK property. Your consultant on the Remedium team will guide you through each of them and the purchasing process. There’s no hard and fast rule to timescales when purchasing a property in the UK, which is why many doctors we place choose to rent for a period whilst arranging a long-term property.
Red Carpet by Remedium is our bespoke digital relocation software which supports our doctors with their move their transition to the UK. When you work with Remedium, you’ll get acess to this incredible platform which can support you with organising visas, COS, finding accommodation, banking and much, much more.
Childcare in the UK
Education is considered a fundamental right for all children in the UK. This includes children of non-residents and visa holders. Your children will have access to state-funded education from the age of four. There are also preschools available for younger children and babies, and afterschool childcare options, although these will have to be paid for. The UK has very strict safeguarding laws in place for childcare and education providers. Wherever you’re based in the UK you can expect your child to learn and thrive in a safe and secure environment.
Before your child can start school you’ll need to register them with your local borough council and apply to several schools. It’s important to consider multiple options, as many UK schools have long waiting lists. There are also many private schools in the UK for children of all ages. These include boarding schools, special education, and religious schools. The application process for these will vary from institution to institution, however, and so you should reach out to any you’re considering for further information.
At Remedium we’re known for our commitment to candidate care. If you apply through Remedium your dedicated consultant on the team will help you find and apply for suitable childcare. Many of the overseas doctors we find permanent positions relocate with their children. We know the importance of family, and so we ensure that settling into life in the UK is as comfortable for their families as it is for our doctors.
Choosing a location
Where you choose to stay will probably be dependent on the location of the NHS Trust or hospital you’ll be working for. However, the UK is geographically quite a small country. Many who work in cities like London, Liverpool, or Manchester, live outside these places.
The UK has many towns that are known as ‘commuter towns’, as well as rural villages and small towns that are a small drive away from the nearest large population centre. In the UK it’s not uncommon to take the train, bus, or drive for up to an hour to reach your place of work.
This gives you a fair amount of flexibility when choosing somewhere to live. Cities are considerably more expensive to live in. Your Remedium consultant will always be happy to suggest and discuss locations that are within commuting distance of your workplace.
Are you an international doctor looking for a new role within the NHS?
If you’re an international doctor who is interested in relocating to the UK, please register your details and upload your CV today.
We have supported thousands of doctors like you to make the move before. Our dedicated onboarding experts in India as well as our award-winning digital relocation software, Red Carpet, will help relieve the administrative burden. We’ll help you apply for your visa, secure flights and accommodation, set up a bank account, and much, much more.
We look forward to hearing from you.