GMC Sponsorship Route for International Psychiatrists

In order to work in the UK as a Doctor,  you need GMC registration with a licence to practice.

There are several paths to get GMC registration for the international psychiatrist which include doing PLAB, passing the full MRCPsych exam or the MTI route.

There is another route of sponsorship of GMC registration via an NHS trust which can lead you to get full GMC registration and licence to practice. This route is for more experienced Psychiatrists with at least 2-3 years of experience in Psychiatry.

You still need to pass the English competency exam in order to get GMC registration like OET or IELTS and it is better if you do them before applying for the jobs expecting to get it via this route.

Why would a trust sponsor my registration?

Because there is an acute shortage of psychiatrists in the UK and especially at the middle grade or speciality doctor level. There are many empty vacancies that the trusts are unable to fill for a number of months and even years.

Is the GMC registration via sponsorship route permanent?

Yes, the GMC registration you get will be permanent and you can change the jobs if required. You are not obliged by law to continue working in the place where you were offered the job initially.

Which NHS hospitals or trusts can sponsor my GMC registration?

There is a list on the GMC website of the hospitals approved for the sponsorship application. See the link below for more information.

List of approved sponsoring bodies – GMC (gmc-uk.org)

How should I approach this sponsorship route?

The websites to apply for the jobs in the mainland UK are

NHS jobs (https://www.jobs.nhs.uk)

Trac Jobs (trac.jobs)

NHS Scotland (NHSScotland Jobs | Job Train)

You can make an account on these websites and search for the speciality doctor level posts in Psychiatry.

Clearly explain in your application that you do not have GMC registration at this present stage but you are eligible for the sponsorship route of GMC registration if offered this post.  

What is the likelihood of getting jobs using this way?

I have seen several psychiatrists using this route to get GMC registration and work in the UK.

When you apply, you have to apply widely all across the UK and you will get several rejections for probably a couple of months.

The job recruitment process in the UK work very slow and can take a few months to get short listings for interviews.

Don’t be disheartened with the number of rejections or non-contact by the hospital, you only need to get lucky once. Hopefully, eventually, your application will get to the right place where there will be a shortage and they will be happy to accommodate you.

What is the future of these doctors?

Speciality doctor is not a dead-end job and you will get opportunities for career progression.

You can work long-term on the speciality doctor role and consider applying for the CESR route to get on the specialist register to become a consultant.

You can consider passing MRCPsych exam and applying for ST training in Psychiatry and getting CCT to become a consultant.


Best wishes

Published by Raja Adnan Ahmed

I am a Consultant Psychiatrist working in South Wales. I am interested in raising awareness of mental illness, fighting the stigma around mental health and also medical education. I am passionate about supporting junior doctors & IMGs.

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