This guidance sets out the processes that should be followed for international General Practitioners (GPs) requiring visas who apply to join the International Induction Programme (IIP) or the Return to Practice (RtP) Programme.

GPs who do not have a pre-existing right to work in the UK must obtain a Health and Care Worker Visa to undertake the programme. You will need to apply for this directly via the UK Visa Service, but you are not able to do this until you have found a GP practice that has agreed to employ and sponsor you whilst you are on the programme.

Once you have been approved to join the International Induction Programme (IIP) or the Return to Practice (RtP) programme, the NHS England regional team for the approving area may be able to provide support in finding a practice. This practice may be willing to offer employment and sponsorship whilst you are on the programme, and perhaps on a longer-term basis after you are fully qualified as a GP.

It is not possible to finalise any employment arrangements until you have applied for the programmes successfully, and complete any NHS England and/or GMC assessment requirements. You can, however undertake any assessments required for the programmes without an offer of employment being in place. In fact, it may be easier to find an employer once the assessments have been completed.

Practices may also wish to interview you before offering employment and sponsorship.

Please note that NHS England is not able to make any commitments that a practice will be available to employ, and sponsor those applying to join the programmes. You may therefore wish to also consider applying directly to practices that are advertising vacancies.

Applying for your visa

You should not apply for your visa until you have successfully completed any assessments and have an offer of employment from a practice. The practice will then assign a certificate of sponsorship to you and at this point you can then apply for your visa.

We also recommend that you do not apply for your visa until you have been approved to join the Medical Performers List (MPL). This is because your visa will usually have a start date and any delays to your MPL application could invalidate your visa.

There may be a requirement to travel to the UK to undertake identification (ID) checks for both your MPL and General Medical Council (GMC) applications, and potentially to have an occupational health assessment. If you are required to travel to the UK for these, you should do so under a visitor’s visa. You must return overseas to apply for your Health and Care Worker Visa. You cannot switch from a visitor’s visa to a Health and Care Worker Visa whilst in the UK.

You should also apply for the visas of any dependents at the same time as applying for your visa.

Your employment arrangements and financial support

For the duration of your supervised induction, you will receive a monthly salary paid by your employing practice. This will be equivalent to £4,000 per month after tax, and National Insurance deductions. Your employing practice will then claim these costs back from NHS England.

In addition, NHS England will reimburse you for the costs of your visa and that of any dependents.

After you complete your induction period, your employer will be responsible for meeting your salary costs and agreeing any salary amount.

It is also likely that you will be employed on a contract with a probationary period linked to the successful completion of the programmes.

You will have an opportunity to discuss visa requirements and processes in more detail during your Learning Needs Assessment interview after applying to join the programmes.

Page last reviewed: 11 December 2023
Next review due: 19 July 2023

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