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International GP Recruitment Programme

The NHS in England has a strong values set and culture, putting patients at its core. The NHS as a group of employers engages one of the largest workforces in the world. GPs in England are the foundation of the NHS. They deal with a whole range of health problems and are general experts in the wide field of medicine. They see children as well as adults and manage the healthcare of all their patients, including physical and mental health problems.

GPs usually work in practices, often leading teams which include nurses, healthcare assistants, practice managers, clinical pharmacists, receptionists and other staff. Practices also work closely with other healthcare professionals, such as health visitors, midwives, physiotherapists, mental health services and social care services.

GPs provide continuing medical care for patients in the community or will refer patients to hospital clinics for further assessment or treatment by specialists. Nine out of ten NHS patients are seen in English general practice and nearly nine out of ten patients rate their experience of their GP practice as good.

Because GPs often lead the continuing development of the NHS in England, we are investing an additional f2.4bn a year into general practice by 2021. The money is being used to recruit more doctors and other healthcare professionals, improve buildings and extend the use of information technology so general practice can offer more and better services to meet people's needs.

NHS England is running an international recruitment campaign to recruit 2,000 GPs from overseas by 2020. As such, the International GP Recruitment programme (IGPR) has been developed to find the best GP candidates from across the world, focusing initially on candidates from European Economic Area (EEA) countries. As you would expect, our selection and assessment process is thorough, however, if you successfully gain entry to the programme, we will provide a clear and supportive pathway for you.

This pack aims to help you understand more about the programme before you apply. It tells you more about

the benefits of working as a GP in England including what salary you can expect to earn and the training pathway you will benefit from. It outlines the interview process and career development opportunities, as well as an explanation of the regulatory requirements to obtain a licence to practise in the UK. Finally it provides details about the support we will provide for you and your family in your relocation to England, in order to make the transition as easy as possible for you all.

There are many reasons why GPs choose to work for the NHS in England.

Many are attracted by our competitive salary scheme and generous benefits, but we also offer something different, something unique. We offer you the chance to be part of a group of employers internationally recognised for its excellence in healthcare and loved by the people they serve.


The NHS is well known and highly respected throughout the world for providing high quality healthcare.

We offer you the chance to be part of a team of over 1.3 million employees, all committed and passionate about making a difference to peoples' lives every single day.

The sense of pride felt by employees of the NHS and the patients that it serves makes it an international treasure, world renowned for its technological innovation, clinical advances and patient centred values. It's no wonder we attract employees from across the globe with a reputation for recruiting only the most talented individuals.


England is a great place to live and work. As a working GP in England we want to encourage you and your family to make England your new home.

To ensure an easy and smooth relocation, we offer you and your family an extensive programme of support. This includes help with organising transport and finding a home, such as liaising with local landlords and estate agents regarding accommodation and providing references; helping to find schools, nurseries and other local facilities; buying or leasing a car and support with administrative tasks such as setting up bank accounts and mobile phones. We also provide advice on how to obtain a National Insurance number, which is your own personal account number that makes sure the National Insurance contributions and tax you pay are properly recorded against your name.

We will make a financial contribution to help pay for relocation costs which will cover things like estate agent fees or transportation of belongings and pets. Our aim is to get you and your family happily settled into your new life as quickly as possible. If your partner wants to pursue their own career in England, whether that is in healthcare or in another profession, we will support them to learn/improve their English language and to find suitable work.

We understand how hard it can be to set up a new life in a different country so we will offer more than just the basics. We will 'hold your hand' through the process and provide a 'listening ear' for you to discuss any concerns you may have with us. We will set up social engagement events to help you get to know other GPs on the programme and make friends. We will also set up networks for you to join on social media and email.

We will invest in you

If you commit to moving to England, we will return this commitment by investing in you, your skills and your future.

Once you arrive in the UK you will become part of our International GP training scheme. We will work with you and your GP trainer to develop a bespoke education and training package to meet your individual needs. For example, this may include help with developing language skills.

During this preparatory phase you will receive a salary of £3,000 net per calendar month. Once you have completed your I&R assessments and are starting your supervised placements this will rise to £3,500 net per calendar month until you have gained entry to the National Medical Performers List.

In return you are required to stay with your GP practice for a minimum period of three years from your start date with the practice. Should you decide to leave the NHS prior to this, you may be required to repay some or all of your international GP training salary.


The NHS offers a competitive pay package for GPs.

Once you have gained entry to the National Medical Performers List without conditions you can expect to earn a salary of between £68,000 and £72,000 per year. This salary is the same across all parts of the NHS in England excluding London where you would receive additional funds to help with the increased living costs there. This is a set amount known as London weighting.

Alongside your salary there are many other financial benefits including paid maternity and paternity leave, parental and carers leave.


As an NHS GP working in England you will also have access to a generous employee contribution pension scheme. This is where your employing general practice will contribute a percentage of your annual income into a pension pot to help you plan ahead and save for a financially secure future.

You have decided to become a GP in England. What next?

If you decide that living and working in England as a GP is right for you and your family, the next step is to contact us. We will  provide you with the relevant paperwork and information to commence your application. There is also a wealth of information and resources available online to help you better informed and prepared for the recruitment process. 

There is also a range of online support tools developed by Health Education England which have been designed specifically for GPs planning to return or join General Practice in England.

These will be available to you once you have successfully completed your initial interview. You will then register with the National Recruitment Office to gain access to these online support materials to help prepare you for the next steps.

These tools are free and have been developed to help inform and prepare you at different stages of the recruitment process and include:

Health Education England's e-Learning for Health resources

  • Quality assured training materials to help you prepare for interviews

  • Primary care programmes on topic areas including asthma, dermatology, end of life care and prescribing as well as other subjects

  • Access to optional or mandatory online training modules.

Heath Education England and Fourteen Fish eLearning diary and clinical knowledge library

  • Videos featuring proven techniques to help you prepare for exams

  • Access to a wide range of clinical video modules

  • Mock exams with randomised questions covering all areas

  • Reports highlighting any weak subject areas helping you focus your revision where you need it

The Recruitment process

This section explains more about the recruitment process once you have applied for the programme.It will take a minimum of six months from the initial conversation at stage 1 to joining the programme and your allocated GP practice at stage 6.


This will take place in your own country either face to face or by online video call with someone from the recruitment agency for the area you are interested in working in and a clinical representative. This will be a clinically-led conversation and we will be exploring your competence for the role including your English language abilities. We will also need to do some background checks at this stage (including police checks). You will also have the opportunity to ask us any questions.


If you don't already have an appropriate English language qualification, you will be asked to take an English language proficiency test, organised by the recruitment agency, in a test centre near you. The agency will use the International English Language Testing System (IELTS), or the Occupational English Test (medicine version) for people wishing to study or work in English speaking countries.


You will have a web based interview in your own country. You start your registration with the General Medical Council (GMC). The GMC is the organisation which sets standards for doctors in the United Kingdom. You need to be registered with the GMC and be on the GMC's GP Register to work as a doctor in England. On confirmation of passing this stage, you will be invited to attend a second interview. You will also be invited to complete a self-assessment to help identify any training needs at this stagThe Recruitment process


You will be invited to come to England for a 'second interview weekend' in your allocated region. This will consist of a second formal interview and a clinical assessment of your abilities. In addition to the interview, your future region will arrange a weekend of opportunities for you (and your family, if you choose to bring them) to find out more about the area. This may include an opportunity to meet with other international GPs to find out about their experiences of relocating to England, a visit to some local GP practices and a guided tour of the area. Staff will be on hand to answer your questions.


If you are successful at this stage, you will be invited to join the programme and offered a contract of employment by the practice or organisation in which you will be working. You will then have a supervised placement at the practice then will need to take the Induction and Refresher Course for GPs. This will test your clinical skills.


You will be provided with a minimum of three months preparation for the Induction and Refresher Scheme assessments and to improve your English language skills. Once this period is over and your GP supervisor is satisfied that you are ready to do so, you will commence at the practice as a working GP You will then spend up to six months treating patients with supervision and support from a senior GP.

 Ongoing investment in your future

We are committed to investing in you and your future. Your career development is important to us.

If you choose to work as a GP in England you will benefit from a comprehensive education and training pathway. This will ensure that you are constantly building on your knowledge and skills. The diagram below outlines the stages in the pathway:

Education, Training and Induction Programme for International GPs

1. Online support to help you prepare for your second interview.

2.  Access to RCGP's self-test tool to help you identify any gaps in your training before you move to England.

3. Online courses and training to help you prepare for working as a GP in England.

4. Educational and clinical supervisors to support you through the programme.

5. Language support and training to help you reach the minimum standards to practise

6. Specialist training to improve your consultation skills in the English language.

7. Salaried preparatory placement to help you gain experience of working in English general practice, improve your English language skills and prepare for the Induction and Refresher (I&R) Scheme assessments.

8. Dedicated education programme for international GPs to help you build skills in areas not covered by your original GP training and to provide a detailed introduction to the role of the GP in England and the wider NHS.

9. Educational networks, peer support and group learning.

10. Class based teaching and on the job learning.

11. Help and support with completing the Induction and Refresher (I&R) Scheme assessments so that you can join the National Medical Performers List (NMPL) and practise as a GP in England.

12. M:1 Up to four fully funded attempts at the Induction and Refresher (I&R) Scheme assessments and on-going support if you don't pass on your first attempt.

13. A supervised period of up to six months after joining the National Medical Performers List where you will receive ongoing support and mentoring from your clinical supervisor and run your own patient consultations.

14. Fully supported entry to the NMPL without conditions after completing the education, training and induction programme.

Your right to work and practice in the UK

1. All doctors must be registered and licensed to practise with the General Medical Council.

The General Medical Council (GMC) checks your qualifications and whether your training is fit for purpose.

If you do not hold a UK primary medical qualification, there are three ways you can obtain full registration with a licence to practise:

  • Professional and Linguistic Assessments Board (FLAB) for non EEA GPs

  • Sponsorship

  • Certificate of Eligibility for GP Registration (CEGPR).

These assess whether you have the required knowledge and skills to practise medicine safely. Whichever route is followed, you must hold an acceptable primary medical qualification.

Doctors who have either a postgraduate qualification in general practice, or a minimum of six months GP training — undertaken anywhere in the world — can apply for a Certificate of Eligibility for GP Registration (CEGPR). Once you have gained a CEGPR you are automatically included in the GP Register.

  1. Doctors must prove that they have the necessary knowledge of English

Effective communication is paramount so that the safety of patients is not put at risk. Unless you already hold the appropriate language qualification, you will be asked to take an English language proficiency test, organised by the recruitment agency, in a test centre near you. The agency will use the International English

Language Testing System (IELTS) or the Occupational English Test (medicine version) for people wishing to study or work in English speaking countries. You need a score of at least 7 in the IELTS to join the programme and an overall score of 7.5 to be registered with the GMC.

  1. Doctors must satisfy immigration requirements set by the Home Office and have permission to work

If you are an EEA national please also see the section on page 10 which explains the rights of EU Citizens during the transition as the UK prepares to leave membership of the EU.

If you are not an EEA national you will need a job offer and a tier 2 (General) visa and there are several rules you need to meet as detailed in the above NHS guide. The Royal College of General Practitioners also provides information and there is support avaailable from the British Medical Association.

  1. Doctors must be included on the NHS England GP Performers list

Also known as the National Medical Performers List (NMPL), The NMPL states that you are fit to practise as an independent practitioner. The application process is due to change during 2018 from a paper-based system to an online portal.

If you are an EEA national, you are free to come to the UK to work. You don't need a visa, or a job offer, or to be earning a particular salary. You can also bring your family members to the UK with you. You must, however, have the necessary knowledge of English before being granted a licence by the GMC, and may need to take a test. You will have to do some form of induction and training.

There is no limit on how long you can stay in the UK — it will depend on the contract of employment. However, once an EEA national has been in the UK for five years, they and their family members can claim permanent residence providing they have been working or self-employed for those five years.

The UK is in the process of withdrawing from the EU so a specific agreement has been made so that EU citizens living lawfully in the UK and UK nationals living lawfully in the EU by 29 March 2019 will be able to stay and enjoy broadly the same rights and benefits as they do now.

Therefore, any GP recruited under the International GP Recruitment programme and working in the UK before 29 March 2019 will be able to stay and enjoy the same rights and benefits as now.

Also, GP qualifications of EU doctors will continue to be recognised if they were obtained before 29 March 2019.


  • Close family members will be able to join after the UK has left the EU. This includes spouses, unmarried partners, children, grandchildren, dependent parents and grandparents. Children born or adopted outside of the UK after the 29 March 2019 will also be covered.

  • People will be able to be absent from the UK for up to five years without losing settled status, more than double the level of absence allowed under current EU law. There will be the same reciprocal protection for UK nationals living in the EU.

  • Professional qualifications (for example doctors and architects) will continue to be recognised where these are obtained before the date of the UK's departure from the EU.

  • It will be easy to apply for settled status and there will be a full right of appeal.

  • Those EU citizens who already hold a valid Permanent Residence document will be able to have their status converted to settled status free of charge.

There will be a transparent, smooth and streamlined process to enable EU citizens to apply for settled status from the latter half of 2018.

Carrer opportunities in England

England needs more GP´s and there are vacancies in many areas of the country. This means that there are a lot of job opportunities for GP´s moving to England. 

GPs can move between many different roles and locations throughout their careers, and build flexible working patterns around the needs of their patients as well as their personal lives.

There are a variety of working arrangements for GPs including GP partners and sessional GPs (salaried GPs and GP locums). Information about the working arrangements of salaried GPs can be found on the BMA website at www.bma.org.uk 

There are many different GP roles available and the opportunity to build a varied portfolio career. This could include working with the police, in prisons, in urgent out-of-hours care, as a GP with a special interest, or a medico-legal GP.

The NHS has a dedicated recruitment website which can be useful to explore the sort of roles you may be interested in applying for as your career develops. Visit: wvvw.jobs.nhs.uk 

For more advice about careers and training we recommend the British Medical Association (BMA), the trade union and professional body for doctors in the UK.