Postgraduation (PG) in the UK is a long and diverse road for a doctor after taking PLAB exam or getting GMC registration in some other ways. It’s a lot to think about after you’ve achieved GMC registration and started working in the UK. The lack of knowledge about the whole path ahead of you may land you in a situation where you tell yourself you could’ve done it differently.

Where do I start post graduation in the UK?
How different is it compared to my country?
How long will it take to complete my training?

Let’s get to the point.

Disclaimer: The information obtained here is from different articles, books, and some personal experience. If there is any mistake or misinformation, our apologies. We would really appreciate it if you would contact us so that we can amend as needed.

Career progression in the UK

First of all, to have an understanding as to where can an IMG start, the overall knowledge about the postgraduation or training structure and the hierarchy of doctors in the UK after PLAB or gaining GMC registration is very important. Please have a look here first, Overview of Specialty (or GP) Training in the UK. The terminologies are used here assuming you know them from the above post.

Stages of transition to the UK

Now, let’s think about at what stages in an International Medical Graduate’s (IMG) career may this transition to the UK may happen.

  1. Fresh Graduates, didn’t finish an internship
  2. Fresh Graduates, just finished the internship
  3. Worked for 2-3 years after internship
  4. Worked for longer than that
  5. Registered as specialist/GP somewhere else than the UK
  6. Long clinical gap after graduation and internship

I will explain the situations separately in sections by sections. Don’t get confused by what’s mentioned in other sections as that may not be applicable to your case.

Fresh Graduates

This stage is the most ideal for making your transition to the UK as a doctor as it’s easier at this stage to start from the bottom and work your way up in postgraduation

Completed the acceptable pattern of internship

If you have completed an acceptable pattern of internship, then the primary target for you is to obtain Full GMC registration, which will enable you to work as a doctor in the UK and start a NON-TRAINING JOB. To obtain that you will have to take the PLAB exam and its prerequisites.

To start the preliminary planning please have a look here, how to plan for PLAB 1 and IELTS. If you’ve decided on PLAB and have everything figured out, check out our extensive post on planning your PLAB journey.

You can also look into applying for FY2 LAT/LAS posts if you wish, or even think about applying for WAST if you are interested in pursuing psychiatry or GP training and want to start from the basics.

Have NOT completed an acceptable pattern of internship

It’s highly suggested that you complete an acceptable pattern of internship and then attempt for GMC registration if you have time to do so.

Please look here to find out more about acceptable pattern of internship and how it is related to full GMC registration, GMC Approved Internship & UKFPO FOundation training.

If you can’t at all, then you can try for foundation training under UKFPO (which is internship training for the UK graduates). It is difficult for an IMG to get into if they’ve not already got a settled visa status, which is why it’s recommended to complete an acceptable pattern outside of the UK if possible.

Worked for 2-3 years after Internship

Your entry into the system is also just like the same as a fresh graduate i.e. clearing the PLAB exams, getting the GMC registration and all, BUT you have an advantage as you’ve worked in your country under full registration (of your country). You can have the foundation competencies a.k.a Certificate of Readiness to enter Specialty Training (CREST) signed off from your supervising consultants who you may have worked under for continuous 3 months or more. This form will enable you to apply for training posts.

You can also think about completing parts of membership exams (MRCP/MRCS etc) first from your home country and then come to the UK, giving your career progression a boost.

To know more about foundation competencies please have a look here, Oriel alternative certificate of foundation competence. Read the guide and the documents in the resource bank carefully.

Even though if your foundation competencies are accepted, it is highly recommended to start with a non-training job first, not directly apply for Core / Specialty Training (CT1/ST1). An orientation to the UK health care system is necessary in order to progress better prior to commencement in the core/specialty training.

Worked for a long time outside UK

It can be a bit difficult to start from the bottom i.e. being a junior doctor again in your case. But, I suggest if you can do that, it will bear fruit later on. Also, your experience will reflect on your salary, so don’t worry about getting underpaid.

PG Qualification Pathway

That being said, the pathway can broaden for you a bit. You can take the PLAB > GMC registration > Non-training job pathway, and you can also consider taking the MRCP/MRCS pathway.

The membership and fellowship of royal colleges are approved postgraduate qualifications. If you have one, you won’t need to take PLAB for GMC registration, but other prerequisites still hold, like IELTS/OET or getting your PMQ verified by EPIC. Have a look here to know the GMC approved postgraduate qualifications from UK as well as different countries.

MTI Pathway

Another route many are interested in knowing about is the Medical Training Initiative (MTI). MTI will not allow you to settle in the UK nor will it count towards your 5 year duration for Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR), but you can apply for a job and switch to a TIER 2 working visa from a TIER 5 visa for MTI. MTI is not suggested if you wish to continue to work in the UK, but rather as a stepping stone for your own training back home.

Look here further for details as to how to make an application for GMC registration with an approved post-graduate qualification. 

To understand the comparison between PLAB and MRCP, please have a look here in this post, PLAB vs MRCP vs USMLE

Registered Specialist/GP or trainee in non-UK countries

If you have obtained a specialist degree/in the training in your country, there is a pathway for you to apply to get into GMC’s specialist register. It is called CESR / CEGPR (Certificate of Eligibility for Specialist or GP Registration) pathway.

There can be a lot of pitfalls and delays. The paperwork can be enormous and very time-consuming. You won’t be able to get enough clinical experience or you may be restricted to work under one trust all along with your career. So, this pathway is not recommended but if you have the support you can go for it.

See Speciality Specific Guidance for CESR and CEGPR from the official GMC website to find out what and how you might have to prove your evidence of being a specialist.

Long clinical gaps after graduation or internship

First things first, don’t lose hope.

Will I get GMC registered with this long clinical gap?

It is a very common question whether GMC registration will be a problem for doctors with long clinical gaps. But, take a step back and ask yourself, have you not faced clinical problems and scenarios in your PLAB exams? Yes, you did and you passed them. 

They may want details of your past professional experience. If you were not involved clinically, state whatever you were doing, it can be you were involved in a teaching job, or worked on your studies and post-graduate exams, or just took care of your family. It has been known that many doctors got FULL GMC registered just fine without any hassle with long clinical gaps after passing the PLAB exams so long as the requested documents are provided.

You can have a look here to find out what evidences are needed for GMC registration application and also our post on breaks in clinical practice

Will it be difficult getting a job?

That is very variable from person to person, as how you present yourself in NHS jobs profile plays a vital role in getting a call back for interview. If you feel that you’ve been away from the clinical setting for some time, you can opt for a clinical attachment. The general approach is to contact hospitals you’re interested in observing at and then completing the associated form and paperwork. There may or may not be an associated cost.

Or you can do some basic courses like BLS/CPR training which will also help you get an edge in your job application. You can look for approved CPR training courses by Resus UK.

Here is the complete diagram of the entire pathway leading to GP/Consultant in your career as a doctor in the UK.

To see in full resolution, click here.

If you’re still wondering about pathways beyond this, check out some of our specialty specific posts:

Good luck to you all!

155 thoughts on “Post Graduation Pathways in the UK for IMGs”

  1. Hello! Thank you for all the time and good work you have put into this blog to help us! You really are amazing people! I have a question I would like to ask. I am a medical student in the 5th year in Romania. Here, Medical school takes 6years, but none of them is seen as internship, we have hospital classes for each subject throughout the year and that is the time we have contact with patients, also summer practice. We are allowed only to observe the Md’s. GMC offers us only the chance to gain full registration, so I have to take an fy2 job after graduation. How will the lack of clinical experience affect me? What can I write in my cv as previous experience if I don’t practically have an internship and an employer? Do I have a chance to get a job? Thank you so much and wish you all the best!

  2. Good day Dr. Ibreez, many thanks for the relentless and selfless support that you offer to masses of IMGs – much appreciated.
    Gerald here, I graduated with paediatrics and childhealth masters degree in 2014 in my home country (not recognized category in UK) and I have a job that’s both lecturing & clinical practice combined. I have passed MRCPCH 1 in Feb 2020 & part 2 in Sept 2020; I am now preparing for the clinical depending on how the COVID situation dictates the exam delivery modality in the long run(maybe near future).
    Inshallah after clearing the clinical part, aside from PMQ EPIC verification(which I have done his year) and proof of English proficiency, what would I need for GMC registration? Could you please mention something about clinical competencies?

  3. Can I do job at NHS and do postgraduation at the same time..will i be paid the same as per the NHS pay scale.??..How much does the full procedure of becoming specialist cost??Is postgraduation free of Cost for IMG..??

    1. Postgraduate clinical training for everyone, IMG or not, is a paid job in the NHS. You keep earning as mentioned here – A Doctor’s Pay in the UK: NHS Salary Structure until you complete your training.
      There is no concept of unpaid job/training in the UK.
      The only thing you may have to pay for is if you want to get an MD/MSc while you are in training as those are not mandatory part of the UK clinical training.

  4. Aniket Mundlik

    What is the criteria for getting into a particular speciality? Is there any exam for it or on our academic performance during undergraduate?

  5. What criteria do they apply for getting into any competitive speciality? Is there any exam for that? And what about FY – can we get any clinical rotations of our choice or nhs selects for us?

  6. Thank you for all the info you have put out here. I read your article PLAB vs MRCP and I want to follow the course of MRCP, but after reading this article I got all confused. I am from Pakistan and have completed my 1 year internship after MBBS. I want to know that how can I become a psychiatrist in UK, after MRCP? And is psychiatry much sought out field there? Also, I wanted to know that is MRCP recognised in other European countries? and in Saudi Arabia too?

    1. First of all, MRCP is NOT for psychiatrists. They have a separate Royal College and the exam for the membership is called MRCPsych. Please look at this article to know about the competition – Specialty Training Opportunities in the UK.
      MRCP is the membership of the Royal College of Physicians in the UK, so it depends on whether the country’s medical council recognizes this qualification or not. It can’t be generally told like that, it’s case by case.

  7. hello Dr ibrahim , you’re blog cleared a lot of queries regarding plab and specialty training . I’m doctor from Pakistan and currently doing my post graduate training fellowship in OBS/GYNAE under college of physicians and surgeons of pakistan and at same time i cleared mrcog part 1 this year. i would like to pursue my career as specialist in OBS/GYNAE in UK.
    what should i do specifically after ielts and plab. please help


    Hello. I am confused. I am Italian citizen and a doctor here in Italy. I recently passed the Italian medican board exam. I would like to apply for residency/specialty training in UK. Is it possible? If yes, what are the steps? Thank you so much.

    1. You first have to see whether you fulfill the person specifications of your desired specialty training first. If you do, then you can apply for then when the application round opens. Read more here: Specialty Training Opportunities in the UK
      Before all of this, you need to get GMC registration first. Check what pre-requisite you need for GMC registration first – then proceed from there.

  9. Mohammed Chowdhury

    The article says doctors with long clinical gap can get registered if they pass PLAB. What if they pass MRCP (UK) is it same?

    1. According to GMC, “Your postgraduate medical qualification should have been awarded no more than three years before the date on which we approve your application. If your postgraduate medical qualification was awarded over three years ago you will be required to provide further evidence of your recent medical experience.”

  10. JAY Chudasama

    Hello ! I have done my mbbs , MD medicine , DM gastro from india . Cleared MRCP . Now how can i work in uk as specialist gastroenterologist ? From where my path to UK will begin ?

  11. Arunima Singhal

    Hi, I am from India and completed my mbbs and internship in 2014. After one year of prep I did MD pathology completed in 2018. Now I want to give PLAB. My MD in Path, will it be considered as a clinical gap ? And will it hamper my chances of getting a job after PLAB and GMC reg? And my 1 year gap when I prepared for my PG entrance is it a problem?Please help.. thanks

  12. I’m will graduate after 8 months from India. I aspire to become a specialist in the uk. What is the duration to complete mrcp and specialist training ? Please throw a light on the details .

  13. Shahanje Kabir

    Hi Ibrahim, first of all, thanks for such helpful blogposts.
    I’m currently doing my 12 months internship which is gonna end on april, 2020. I’m planning to sit for plab1 on March, 2020.
    Should I start working here in my home country from May, 2020 as I might require 4-6 months to pass plab2?
    So, if I pass accordingly, I’m supposed to get my GMC registration around February/March 2021 and then I have to apply for NHS job, right?
    Is there any problem if I take an MPH course from November, 2020 to November, 2021? So, my final question is- is there any problem if I get my GMC registration around February-June, 2021, and not apply for NHS job till November, 2021? And is there any merit/demerit of taking MPH course in UK in the meantime?
    N.B: I’m interested in clinical career, still I wanna get an MPH degree before actually starting my clinical career. Is it good choice or bad one?

    1. First of all, GMC would want you to start a job within 3 months of getting GMC registration. If MPH is that important to you, you can wait after passing PLAB 2 before you apply for GMC registration.
      After passing PLAB 2 you can take two years to apply for GMC registration.

      1. Hi, Ibrahim ,thank you for ur helpful post I kind of had a similar doubt regarding this 1- I’m currently pursuing post graduate training in my home country is it possible for me to write plab 1 and plab 2 during my training and delay my gmc registration by 1yr to after I finish my post graduation in my country as I want to do cesr cp route

        2- is it necessary for me to do gmc registration immediately after plab 2 what is the time limit
        And also time limit between plab 1 and plab2

        2- .and 1 more doubt if I appear for plab do I have to show my recent degree im pursuing (i.e pg in ANESTHETIA) or can I show my graduation (mbbs) and later update after I get pg degree

        1. PLAB 2 pass results are valid for 2 years (from the date you had taken the PLAB 2 exam) before you apply for GMC registration. You don’t have to show anything when you book exams, but when you apply for GMC registration, you will have to state everything that you did in the past 5 years.

  14. Mohammed Khider

    I graduated in 2018 and I did my internship, then I did approximately 5 years of clinical experience. After that I moved to healthcare insurance as a medical claims auditor for the past 4 and half years. Now I cleared plab 2 before two weeks. I don’t know if my healthcare insurance experience will consider a gap or non medical experience? Will it be like a barrier from getting the full GMC registration?
    Please advise what I should do?

    1. That is a non-medical work and you would have to provide Employer reference when you apply for GMC registration. It’s unlikely that GMC will have any problem with it as you will be proving your clinical acumen by passing PLAB 2. Give this a read also: Evidence required for GMC registration

  15. Shivani Jain

    I want to do post-graduation in gynaecology. How much time will it take if I give my plan after internship along with one year of work experience after internship? Can I get into specialty training directly or have to go through internal medicine training first?

    1. OBGYN is not related to medicine training at all.
      After getting GMC registration, you should start with non-training obgyn jobs to gain NHS experience and required competences and then apply for OBGYN training when application rounds open.
      Please read more here: Specialty training in the UK

  16. Nawazna Rahman

    Hi Ibrahim. I completed my internship in Bangladesh back in 2014 and have been teaching pathology at a medical college ever since. Passed my Plab 1 recently but I’ve been having doubts as to whether I should attempt Plab 2. After reading all your posts I feel as though it would be very unlikely for the NHS to offer me a job owing to my long clinical gap. I had personally wished to pursue a career in Emergency Medicine in the UK but now I’m very confused. Should I walk down this path at all?

    1. Please where in my post you think I sounded discouraging to long clinical gaps, I need to find and change that.
      Gaps in clinical practice is not a problem if you have a valid reason for it. You were teaching pathology – that’s great. And emergency medicine is the most shortage field in the UK. One of my consultants said they will take anything with two legs, two hands, two eyes with a medical degree into emergency medicine – they are that desperate for doctors.

  17. what after MRCPCH diploma. can you give the roadmap after? is PLAB needed after passing mrcpch diploma to enter and work in UK?

    1. No PLAB is not needed. You will need to have valid IELTS/OET for GMC registration. MRCPCH is an accepted PG qualification.
      After G

  18. Saleeq Ifthikkar

    Hey. Thank you for such an informative post. I have some queries as well, if you could help clear my doubts. I’ve just graduated MBBS in India and completed the mandatory one year internship. I would like to pursue residency in UK and specialize in orthopedics (ideally dive into sports medicine/surgery). What would my path be from now on? I am aware that I must take PLAB 1 and 2 (and the IELTS) to simply enter the system. Then I have to apply for a non training job? Or can I write MRCS and enter ST3? Lastly, what would a non training job consist of? Working under a GP? Or as paid intern in a clinic or hospital?
    Thanks again.

    1. Training into sports medicine vs training in orthopaedics is completely separate path.
      For sport and exercise medicine: GMC reg > Non-training jobs in medicine (for NHS experience > Internal medicine trainign (2 years) > Completion of MRCP > Speciality training in Sports and exercise medicine ( for 4 years).
      For T&O: GMC reg > Non-training jobs in surgical specialities (preferbaly in ortho) > Complete MRCS and gain core competences while in no-training > (get ILR by some means) > apply for ST3 T&O training (6 years of training)
      More info here: Speciality training in the UK

  19. Hi , I completed my 4 years of fcps postgraduate training in obs n gynae from Pakistan.but not yet a consultant (couldn’t appear in part2 fcps exams). Now I’ve moved to UK . So which is the better pathway for me plab or mrcog? I cannott decide due to different opinions.please guide

    1. If you have not taken any part of MRCOG yet, then that will be a long path for you now, isn’t it?
      On the other hand, PLAB will be done within 8-10 months and then you can start as SHO in OBGYN and gradually move into registrar level posts and apply for training in the long run.

  20. Hi Ibrahim. I’ve found your post very helpful. I’m really confused and want to ask few questions.
    1. After FCPS Surgery in Pakistan, what’s best route for me to work permanently in UK?
    2. Let’s say I’m done with MRCS, can I then get a good job in UK that I can continue indefinitely?
    3. Can I easily get GMC registration through CESR if I’ve done MRCS?
    4. Is one eligible to sit in FRCS exam based on completion of four years training and passing FCPS?
    5. Is MRCS and or FRCS enough to get me registered with GMC as a specialist without any training experience in UK?

    1. Hello, thank you.
      1. You have to work contract based for the five years of your Tier 2 visa in the UK (until you get ILR). And it is unlikely to get a permanent job straight away without any prior UK experience. So you have to start at either SHO or registrar level.
      2. With MRCS done you can easily get a registrar level job, but then again it will not be indefinite.
      3. CESR is never easy in any possible way.
      4. For FRCS eligibility, please check: The joint surgical colleges Fellowship Examination
      5. No. Specialist registration without any UK training is only possible via CESR route. Having MRCS and FRCS may help in your CESR application but it’s hard to give a verdict as a third party.

  21. Mohammed Chowdhury

    Hello. I have completed MRCP and have Masters degree from my country. My question is for non training job is it easy to get sponsers for visa?

  22. I am an undergraduate in india want to pursue my post graduation in OBGYN from uk so what path should i take if i take plab and get the non training job how would i get into speciality will the transition be tough and how much time will it take and when to give mrcog and what is run through specialities

  23. Morsalin Sultana Mimi

    I’m in the last part of my Mphil in physiology in Bangladesh. Is there any option of doing career in physiology without doing PLAB?

  24. As you’ve graduated from Iran, you will need to prove your English language proficiency either via IELTS or OET for GMC registration.

  25. Hi Ibrahim!. Excellent website almost giving everything for an UK aspirant.Great work! I have few queries. I have completed by post graduation in respiratory medicine in INDIA which is a post MBBS degree here for 3 years. I have a few queries.
    1. After clearing MRCP am i eligible for ST3 directly or should i undego CMT. I could not understand what core medical competencies mean. Can you please provide the detail?
    2.Can i start working in UK after clearing MRCP part 2 written and clear PACES once i reach there?
    3.Is there any other way other than ST3-6, like a 2 year stint where i can gain experience in Respiratory medicine.?
    Thanks in advance.

  26. Hi! your blog is very helpful. I have question regarding internship. I’m from India and have completed my medical degree from Philippines. I’m planning to have my medical internship of 1 year from another country probably-Vietnam/Bangkok. Do GMC accepts medical internship of country different than Studyland/Homeland? If accepts, do I have to apply for FY1-2? Thanks.

    1. Yes GMC will accept so long as it follows the acceptable pattern of internship outlined by the GMC and you hold registration in the country you are doing internship in

  27. Hi,thanks for this useful plog . I have a question : i already passed the first part of mrcog and had more than 5 years of post graduate training but i stopped working and took a maternity leave for almost a year …. will this clinical gap be a problem in gmc registeration??

    1. What do you think GMC expects for a female doctor when they have to take their maternity leave?
      Clinical gap doesn’t matter when you have a logical explanation for that. I think maternity leave for a year or more is very logical.

  28. Hi, thanks for putting this website it’s very helpful. I have a questions – i graduated from medical school in 2015 from one of the Caribbean medical schools(acceptable to GMC on their list), i have worked as a clinical trainee, Telemedicine assistant, Clinical assistant in Canada. I don’t think these can be counted as internships. I can certainly ask GMC to see if they approve this as an internship.

    my questions is FY1 jobs, how difficult would it be for me to get those FY1 and FY2 jobs without any internship, once I pass PLAB 1 and PLAB 2?

  29. Hi your blog is simply awesome.. u have cleared all the doubts one can have regarding post plab 2 scenarios. I wanted to ask whether GMC is required to give FRCA(anaesthesia) exam? Can you please elaborate on eligibility for appearing for FRCA

    1. Thank you for your nice words. Glad that our effort is helping people.
      To answer your query, it’s not mandatory to be GMC registered to be eligible to take FRCA exams. The eligibility critieria is very well described in the RCOA page.
      FRCA Eligibility & Exemptions

  30. Hello SIR, Thank you for such usefull info.
    actuallyi am from india and right now am 3rd year medical student[mbbs] in Georgia[Europe]
    I want go for PG in UK. Can you please guide me best pathway for that…like i should start preparing for plab exam?? or theres may be another way to get admission in UK for PG.
    please guide sir

    1. If by PG you mean Post-graduate training, then the best pathway for you starts AFTER you successfully finish your Medical Degree.
      1. Obtain your medical qualification.
      2. Have a 12-month approved internship somewhere.
      3. Take PLABs.
      4. Get FULL GMC registered.
      5. Gain some NHS experience.
      6. Apply for specialty training.

  31. Dr. Piyali Podder

    Hi Ivan, thank you for this helpful post. I am a practising pathologist in India. I completed my 3 year MD pathology training in 2017. After that I did 1 year govt job as a specialist medical officer(pathologist) . Now I am working in private sector as a consultant pathologist. I wish to get into a histopathology specialist training. But I am out of touch with clinical exposure for quite a long time. By clinical exposure I mean managing patients directly like cannulation and other procedures I am completely out of touch with. So what is the best way for me to proceed?

    1. Hello, I am glad that you found the post helpful.
      For you I think, “Worked for a long time outside UK” part of the above post applies. You can try and see if you can obtain any relevant PG qualification which will enable you get GMC registration.
      Otherwise you can always take the PLAB pathway. You as a doctor won’t always have to DO those clinical procedures in practice, but if you are taking PLAB 2, you can easily refresh those skills in the preparatory academies

  32. Thanks Ivan. I thoroughly enjoyed your post. I am a consultant radiologist in my country, but presently working as a specialty doctor radiology in the UK. I wrote PLAB and don’t have MRCP. The CESR pathway looks so daunting. But if i choose to take that route (CESR) do I still need to write MRCP? thanks for your time

    1. If you take the CESR path and God willing, be successful, you already have the eligibility to apply for specialist registration, you won’t need any exam then.

  33. Hi I’m Tanya from India have completed my mbbs in India recently have completed 1year of internship (2months in medicine) and (2month in surgery) is this eligible for full GMC registration or do I have to apply for FY1.
    AndI want to pursue my career in the field of surgery but I have heard surgical training for IMGs is difficult in uk . So what would your advice.

    1. Paediatrics, community medicine, family medicine etc are also considered as medicine placements. Orthopaedics, OBGYN, ENT etc are also considered as surgery placements. So, I guess you must have filled that criteria and your internship will possibly be an acceptable pattern by GMC. Read further here:
      And to know further about challenges and process of getting into a specialty training, please read this article:

  34. Can you please expand on what you mean by theoretically. What are the difficulties and what needs to be done for this route?

    1. Could you please point out specifically which aspect you are talking about? (Maybe your comment didn’t post in the right thread so I am not understanding the context)

  35. HI, I would like to know if passing PLAB is a prerequisite to become consultant in the UK. I am an ophthalmologist who had worked a long time outside UK

    1. No it is not a prerequisite. There are other routes of entry in the UK in order to get GMC registration, as mentioned in the above post.

  36. Thank you for the wonderful blog,it’s so useful.I would like to know if after plab2, we are eligible for any gp jobs?lat or anything else?or it’s the hospital path only.thanks.

    1. Hospitals under different trusts take non-training/ staff grade doctors which most of the IMGs become eligible for after passing PLAB 2. And you can work in a GP surgery if you can manage to get a job there, but ideally its better for your learning to start working in a hospital grade where there will be support for you.
      You can’t be a GP straight away without going through proper training and getting registered as a GP. GP is one of the most-coveted specialty in the UK.

  37. hi ibrahim. my wife is coming back to clinical work after 7 year gap. she has started doing attachment after plab same way you suggested. she would like to start as fy1 to get her grip on slowly. do you know where we can find placements that are necessary to get fy1 and fy2 competency without getting in a formal programme? i mean doing LAS posts?

    1. There is no separate competencies for FY1/FY2. It’s one – “Alternate evidence of foundation competencies”.
      In ANY LAS posts (Preferably at FY2 level), if you work under supervision of a consultant (which you will, in the NHS) for continuous 3 months, and s/he is willing to sign you off with your competences- you are good. It doesn’t depend on where the post is, it mostly depends on who you are working under.

  38. Thanks for your advice Ivan. He would of course prefer to do an FRCS, but a bit worried about the time it takes. Part 1 can be done in March 2019, but Part 2, from what I gather, happens only once a year in January. Assuming that he passes part 2 and the results are declared in 2 weeks time (which is what the website says), we will then have to apply to the GMC for registration after that – that can take 2-6 weeks, as you’ve mentioned in the GMC registration post (and I expect it to be at the longer end of that range!). That means we’re looking at getting GMC registration by February/March. If he wants to get into a fellowship for the October 2020 batch, I doubt he will get his registration before the interview is held! That is the only thing in favour of doing the MRCS – its a bit faster and he can finish the requirements in 2019 itself. Lots to think about for us!
    You’re doing a great job through this blog – thanks a ton.

    1. Looks like you have this sorted out, planning wise. That’s the very first step.
      Thank you for your kind words. Good luck.

  39. Hi! My husband is a urologist and I am a nephrologist in India (both of us have 7 years experience in our respective specialties after postgraduation, i.e DM Nephrology and MCh Urology and have done all our training in India) and are planning to go to the UK for training jobs in our respective specialties for 2-3 years and then return back to India. I am planning to give the MRCP, and my husband either the MRCS or the FRCS (Urology) to enable us to get GMC registration.
    We would like to know:
    1. After passing the MRCP/MRCS/FRCS exam, does one have to apply for membership to the RCP/RCS to be eligible for GMC registration or is just the exam pass letter sufficient proof?
    2. What would your advice be regarding choosing between the MRCS and the FRCS as a route to GMC registration for my husband?

    1. Hello, congratulations to both of you for having a stellar career till now.
      1. The membership exam passing certificate is enough for GMC registration. You can have a look at this post for further instructions , application for GMC registration.
      2. A fellow is definitely a higher position than a member. With an FRCS, he would have higher chances of getting into better jobs, but it really doesn’t matter as long as FRCS is obtained following examination, not by nomination.

  40. I am an ophthalmologist from India. I completed my post graduation in 2016. Now i plan to work in UK.
    My queries are-
    1. Should I clear PLAB or FRCS(Ophthal) to get a job?
    2. In which of the above 2 scenarios are my chances better to get a job?
    I am open for lower level jobs also but I want it fast.

    1. Hello Dr Tania,
      1. You can get GMC registered either by PLAB or Fellowship of the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Glasgow (FRCS Glasg Ophthalmology).
      2. Surely having an FRCS will show that you are more qualified for the job.
      Keep in mind that PLAB will be quicker to get GMC registered than completing all the parts of FRCS (Ophthal). Also considerably less costly.

  41. Hi,
    I am a Caribbean IMG with Canadian citizenship, who wants to go into the UK system. I have cleared by USMLE Steps but the process is unsure.
    Currently, I have been delayed too much to enter the UK Foundation Program for this year in Feb 2019, since I was giving the IELTS and the PLABs.
    I had two questions;
    1) Are clinical rotations considered the same house job or internship in UK? Or is FY1 equivalent to PGY1?
    2) Is it possible to bypass the Foundation program by doing locum jobs (through) locum agencies to gain Foundational Competencies towards Alternate Certification of Foundational Competencies?
    3) Would you have any other recommendations for me, in terms of entry into UK/NHS?

    1. Hello,
      1) Clinical rotations are not equal to house job/internship. And, unfortunately, PGY1 is also not equal to FY1. Please read this post, Internship & UKFPO to have better understanding of what an FY1 equivalent can be.
      2) To start a job as a doctor in the UK, you would need a FULL GMC registration. Without acceptable internship or foundation program, you can’t get full GMC registration.
      3) As you said you are a Caribbean medical graduate, is it possible for you to finish an acceptable pattern of internship there? or anywhere else?

  42. In the picture where the doctor has internship only, on the right side pathway and after the competency form signed off, can i ask you whey you mentioned LAT specifically here? is it more recommended that LAS?

    1. There is one upside of getting into LAT (FY2 post).
      After that year (and that year only), you can apply for round 1 and 2 both for core training as you are in the visa for training provided by the same institution, HEE.
      Otherwise all trust provided visa doctors can not apply in round 1.

  43. Hi, I completed my training in general surgery (3 years) from Nepal and have been in practice for the past 2 years.
    I’m currently contemplating about appyling for a fellowship training in the UK. I’ve come to know that MRCS and IELTS clearance are required for GMC registration.
    My question: After GMC registration, will I be able to apply for a fellowship training or will I have to start from a non-training job?

    1. It’s highly unlikely you will get a call back for a training post without any UK experience. Surgery training on its own is very competitive and fills quickly in Round 1, so often there are no posts to apply for in Round 2.
      That being said, as you have experience back home, you aren’t eligible to apply for core surgical training in the first place. You’ll have to look for ST3 posts, which demands a good amount of UK experience along with CPDs and a solid portfolio.

  44. Hello Ibrahim, I’m a general doctor from Costa Rica and I’ve work at the NHS of my country for almost 1 year now. I’ll take my OET in August and my PLAB1 in November and PLAB2 after that of course, what should be the next step into pursuing a specialty training in paediatric surgery?
    Thank you so much for your help in advance

  45. Hello.. Thank You for these precious information.
    I need an advice on run through specialty training (e.g paediatrics 8 yrs).
    Suppose i want to come to uk to train as a paediatrician and then go back to my country where i have to work as a junior specialist first then climb the hierarchy ladder to become consultant.
    Is it compulsory to finish the 8 years training in uk, become consultant and get the CCT or
    I can just get ST Level 5 or 6 training with a certificate certifying that.
    I guess many uk doctors do that and go to practice in Australia.
    If you have any info about that,please guide me.
    Thank You

    1. If one gets into highly competitive training in the UK, why would one want to leave it in the middle and go back and start training from the bottom again in another country? One should perhaps look at the provisions of being a consultant elsewhere AFTER finishing the training in the UK.
      If one works upto ST5/6 and leaves, they will NOT be regarded as specialists in the UK, as one needs CCT for specialist registration. But with training in the UK if one can prove and get equivalent competencies of other countries signed, then they MAY become consultants in other countries.
      So it all boils down to how the process of being a consultant in Australia or other countries are.

  46. Hi i m a medical student of final year from pakistan
    I have few questions regarding plab ,it will be very kind of you if your answer them.
    1) what is the chance of gettig residency in uk if i have to go for orthopaedic surgery ?
    2)after passing plab 2 what should be the next step?

  47. it too late for a 55 years old doctor to find a job after full registration with GMC , I have been looking after my familly , now I am thinking to go back to work

  48. Hi Ibrahim ,
    just needed one questions to ask! I am an 8 years old IMG form Bangladesh, living in the US and a US citizen. i have been living in this country for about 4 years now.I passed Usmle steps 1,2 ck & CS . tried Residency match ,didn’t get matched this year.Match i am thinking to apply for PLAB now. since last 4 years , i don’t have any clinical experience – so What will be my situation regarding expericne in the last 12 months .!! a huge clinical gap after 2014. i have finished my Internship in 2010.after that, i have done two years of General practice .i just checked GMC website . should i just apply or will they reject my GMC registration after plab as i don’t have any recent experience as a physician. i have worked in the lab for last two years…

    If you answer my question please -would be grateful. I really appreciate the kind of work you have done in this website.

    1. Hello, glad this blog has been of help. You don’t need recent experience to apply to appear in PLAB. There have been many cases of individuals with long gaps who have managed full registration without a problem so long as they truthfully explained their circumstances and provided all the required papers that the GMC asked for.

  49. Hello,
    I have completed my EDAIC diploma which is an acceptable postgraduate degree in UK for GMC.
    My question is “will I get tier 2 visa with this after having a job and COS in UK?

    1. The EDAIC diploma will get you GMC Full registration. With that if you can manage a job and CoS, you will get a Tier 2 visa no problem.

  50. Pranali Ashok Kerkar

    Hi Ibrahim,
    Thank you so much for an informative blog and helping any like me.
    I have a few queries. I have completed my MBBS in India along with a compulsory one year internship after. i have worked as a Medical officer for about One year and also gave MRCOG part 1 last September.
    1. Can you pls guide me how can I pursue Post graduation(Residency) in OB-GYN in UK
    2. Also, will i get any advantage over getting selected for post graduation since i have already passed MRCOG part 1?
    Thanks in advance!

    1. Hello, glad you’ve found the blog to be of use.
      1) PLAB is the best way for you do to so.
      2) Yes, many job descriptions add on that passing part 1 is desirable, so it may play to your advantage.

  51. Hello doctor! Forst of all, thank you for this very informative blog. I would like to inquire regarding the foundation training/internship requirement and the non training jobs.
    1. Will the GMC be the one to decide if the internship done is acceptable?
    2. If so, what are the requirements that we need to bring, e.g. certificate from the internship, letter from a specific person?
    3. How long does one usually do nontraining jobs before proceeding to training?
    Thank you so much!

    1. Hi. Glad our blog helped.
      1. The criteria for being the internship acceptable is laid out in the website. But, yes, GMC is the one who will decide whether it met their standard to offer FULL registration.
      You can have a look here:
      2. The internship completion certificate is enough. To prove that provisional registration was held during internship, GMC might want a letter of approval from the medical regulatory board of the country where internship was done.
      3. As there is interview involved in the recruitment process, it varies from person to person. Also from specialty to specialty, as for some specialties one has to go through exam (MSRA) to get into.
      One can safely assume to get into Core Medical Training within 1-3 years of non-training job.

  52. Dear Ibrahim Ivan
    Thnx in a million for all your wonderful and informative discussions.
    I am working as a registrar in renal medicine in Singapore . I cleared my MRCP.
    May I know how should I proceed for CCT in renal medicine in UK .
    If I opt for a non training job in renal medicine will I be enrolled in CESR /CCT later.

    1. Hello Dr Zobaid,
      Glad our blog has helped.
      As you have MRCP, you can take the ST3 Renal medicine training route and obtain a CCT at the end of three years of specialty training in Renal Medicine.
      With required score in IELTS/OET, you can get GMC registered with your MRCP. Then getting your core competencies signed either from non-training UK job/from Singapore job, you can apply to get into a ST3 Renal Medicine post via national recruitment process.
      More info about training in the UK here,

  53. H? s?r thank u so much for th?s great work.? am from turkey and ? could not find the name of my med?cal school at the l?st of WDMS wh?ch ?s a necassery for Register to GMC .?s ?t possible for me th?s uk spec?ality road ? What should ? do ?

    1. Maybe you should try searching with different search terms. I have had people searching with full names and that’s why it never showed up, even though their college was there.
      If still it isn’t there, you can contact GMC about it. They will probably give some papers to be filled by your college to assess the degree and education awarded by them. And then you will get the verdict.

  54. hi ibrahim
    im currently left with 6months of intership in india
    i have afew doubts regarding moving to uk for my postgrad
    1-starting from now am i in time to appear for november exams?? will i be able to study sufficiently?
    2-whats better usmle or uk?
    3-how difficult is it to get a job after clearing plab?

  55. It is great explanation by you.
    Sir I have completed my MBBS from India and soon going to persue my PG from india,what should be my approach to get an entry in United kingdom after my PG…
    Will my PG from India help me when I give plab for entry in UK?

    1. The post above should have answered your first query.
      As for PG in India won’t be recognised as any PG degree, rather work experience. It may give you some edge on job applications after PLAB in that related field.

  56. Katherin Carreno

    Thank you for the info. I am doctor from Peru and I am in the Uk. I have been working as a doctor approximately 7 or 8 years. So what is my way???

    1. It should have been clear to you from the post above under the “Worked for a long time outside UK” heading.

  57. I graduated from my medical University in the year 2012, since then I’ve worked for a very short span of time on a regular basis.
    I had planned to clear my IELTS, PLAB 1 AND PLAB 2 within this year, but i came across certain guideline on gmc website regarding BREAK IN PRACTICE, and i am sure that i don’t meet their criteria.
    So i was wondering if i would be able to get for a full gmc registration, if not is there something i could do to help my case.
    I would appreciate any input from your side.
    Thanking you.

    1. Ibrahim Ivan

      If you pass PLAB, the “breaks in practice” criteria and guideline doesn’t apply to you. GMC has three ways you can get registered.
      1. PLAB pass
      2. Acceptable PG qualifications
      3. Sponsored
      The third being the MTI pathway. In that you can’t be regarded if you have the breaks in practice. Otherwise, if you pass PLAB, you have proved your competence for working in medical capacity, so the breaks doesn’t matter for registration.
      But with long gap in clinical practice you might find it hard to get into a job.

  58. Can a candidate with mrcp part 1 and 2 can apply for MTI and further find another job after 24 months of MTI?

    1. Thank you for your kind words. I’m afraid I’m not with the knowledge about the pathway to Germany.
      The first step should be finding right Facebook groups and finding a way from there

  59. thank you ibrahim for answering my query!
    If I understand it correctly then I have to to do the following steps in order to become ob gyn in uk?..
    take plab—LAS—have foundation training sign–apply for STI post?, is this correct? at what point can I take the MRCOG 1?
    thank you once again..

    1. Yes.
      Once you get into O&G specialty, after ST2 you need to clear MRCOG part 1. And after ST5 you will need to clear the other 2 parts.

  60. hi ibrahim!
    I’m glad I stumbled upon your post ,it is very informative , It clarified majority of my questions about PLAB and working in the UK however I still have a question
    I’ Im from the philippines,I worked as general practitioner for 3 years before training in OB-GYN ,I finish my training but did not pursue diplomate exam, so still I am not a diplomate in ob gyn, currently, I am working in oman as general practitioner for more than 1 year now.. can i worked as ob gyn in UK?
    thank you for taking the time to answer my query..

    1. Thank you for your kind words.
      O&G is a run through specialty and it starts for ST1 and ends at ST7 including the subspecialties and subject to clearing MRCOG during the training.
      So your prior experience in O&G training will improve your CV in this regard. As you haven’t done MRCOG part 1, you can do is to get your foundation competencies signed > do a non-training job first and then apply for ST1 OBGYN and start from the bottom up.
      More about thee training structure here:

  61. Thank you for putting together a very informative and helpful website. I have a question. I am an IMG who completed his undergraduate medical degree in the Caribbean. I then proceeded to do a one year long clinical internship in India (im currently a registered practitioner in India.). Provided I take the PLAB exams, will I still be required to do both years of the foundation program? Or will I be exempt from FY1?

    1. If you have completed clinical internship, you already eligible to apply for FULL GMC registration upon passing PLABs. Once you get FULL GMC registration, you are no more eligible for UK foundation program.
      However, there opens some vacancies which are called “standalone” Locun appointment for Training (LAT) posts, which can be F1/F2. You can apply for that, if you wish.

  62. Hello sir.. i have completed my MBBS and working presently in India.. I wish to do pg and get settled in UK.. I want to do pg general surgery and to become ctvs.. I am preparing to give OET exam then plab exams too.. I have no idea how will I get my desired subject in pg in UK.. please guide me sir..

    1. That is all about the post is. Read the above post to find out how an IMG can get into the training structure in the UK.

  63. i have cleared MRCS (ENT) and MRCP part A. I wish to further my postgraduate studies in the UK.
    Considering the fact that chances of getting into core surgical training is extremely slim, would it be possible for me to apply to work in the UK as a non training post (SHO) via MRCS route, while trying to clear my MRCP part 2A and PACES before trying to apply for a training post in general medicine

    1. If you have MRCS (ENT) you can apply for GMC registration right away with sufficient proofs (like IELTS etc)
      After you obtain GMC registration you can start doing Non-training jobs and continue as long as you want. And yes what you’ve planned will work.
      Good luck.

  64. Suraj Kumar kulkarni

    I am an Indian citizen. I Hav e completed my DM in cardiology from king George medical university. I am interested in moving to UK. Should I write plab or mrcp.

  65. Hi, I am from Pakistan & I found information provided by you so helpful.I have some questions if you can clear that to me please.
    1. I want to do Histopathology in UK, so do I have to go through same process as for clinical training
    2. If someone is not in practice for few years after completing internship, does it matter in any way?
    3. If I want to join Histopathology in UK after completing my M.Phil here in same subject, what would be the process in that case?

    1. Thank you for your kind words.
      1. In the post above there is link saying “full list of approved curricula of royal colleges”. If you go there you will find Histopathology under Royal College of Pathologists. There you will see that it is run through specialty and to get into it you will have to get registered under GMC, thus PLAB and get your foundation competencies signed from a non training job.
      2. It’s hard to tell as it verily depends on the employer and what do they want.
      3. M.Phil (Histo) in Pakistan will not be regarded as an approvedd post-grdauate qualification. So formallly it won’t help you. But as you would gain experience in this field and it shows your interest in this field, that might help when you’re applying for ST1 posts.

  66. Hi Ibrahim! I’ve been reading your blogposts and they’re very informative.
    I’m a first year MBBS student from Pakistan and I want to specialise in ophthalmology in the UK. Should I opt for MRCP after graduating or is there another pathway i should take?

    1. Hello, thank you for your kind words.
      I would say the best course of action for you is to follow your curriculum and finish medical college. As things will change a lot by the time you obtain your degree.
      Still for your info, ophthalmology is a run through training in the UK and you will have to apply for ST1 after you get your foundation competencies cleared.
      Here you can see it’s a 7 year long training.
      Good luck.

  67. Hi Ibrahim, your page has been tremendously useful. I have a few questions for you.
    1. Firstly, can an junior doctors do locums during residency training?
    2. What is the average number of hours residents work per week including overtime?
    3. How realistic is getting a Anesthetic training post?
    4. I see that it is possible to get FRCA after year ST4, is it necessary to do the 7yrs residency or can I get a job after the FRCA?
    I look forward to your reply.
    Thanks for your help.

    1. Hello, Thank you very much. I am glad it was useful.
      1. Yes, they can enrol into “banks”, where they get locum duties and get paid at locum rates (higher than general).
      2. It depends on what kind of rota you are in, there are rules by the BMA which can’t be exceeded. Please check this to get more indepth idea.
      3. The question is not realistic, the question is competency. As you will see for 600 posts, 1300 people applied. So if you’re competent enough you wil get in, that is why you need to look at this competition ratio.'s/Competition%20Ratios%202017%20ST1.pdf
      4. If you are an ST4 you are already in a job and training. If you don’t complete the training, you wont get into the specialist register and will never to able to hold any consultant job even with FRCA. Getting a CCT is the ultimate target.
      I hope I answered your queries well. Good luck.

  68. I’m a Brazilian doctor finishing an internal medicine residency in february. Is there any way to skip PLAB and try to validate in my specialty?

      1. I am also an undergraduate in India giving entrance and trying to go to the uk. If you don’t mind could clear a few queries I have ?
        1. I am planning to go to the uk after my pg in India. Do I have to do plab again and start my career from scratch in the uk? Or can I write membership exams and fast forward my career? In terms of difficulty would it be better to not do a pg in India and go for plab or to complete my pg in India and write membership exams (if applicable)
        I am a British citizen so visa wouldn’t be an Issue.

        1. If you are willing to have a career in the UK, it is highly recommended you start your career from the junior level, as you are not currently in any PG training right now.
          In my opinion, membership exam pathway is more logical for those who have PG training or completed that.
          If you are a british citizen, then it will be much easier for you to get into specialty training in the UK, and I highly suggest you go for PLAB and get registered and follow the path towards training in the UK.
          Good Luck.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *