Information for overseas allied health professionals

In the UK, the allied health professions are made up of 14 different professions. If you are one of these professions, and are looking to work in the NHS, you're in the right place. 

You'll get all the information you need on getting your professional registration as well as tips on applying for jobs and interviews. You'll also find out more about visas and immigration and where to find additional support. 

Professional registration

Getting your professional registration with the relevant regulator is your first step to working in the NHS. The Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC) are the regulator for 13 of the 14 AHPs in the UK, with osteopaths being regulated by the General Osteopathic Council (GOsC). Details about the registration process are on the HCPC website and GOsC website. They will verify your qualifications and your English language level. When this process is completed you will be on the HCPC register and be given a unique registration number.

NHS jobs aimed at overseas AHPs may have the option for applying without registration with the agreement to start the registration process. Be sure to check the job information carefully and ask the recruiter if you are unsure. Jobs open to UK and overseas AHPs often require registration for you apply.

HCPC registration must be renewed every two years, with a declaration confirming you remain eligible to be on the register – continuing to meet the standards of proficiency for your profession. At each renewal a random selection of registrants for the each profession will be asked to submit their continuing professional development profile.

Communicating in English

The ability to communicate effectively in English is included as a requirement in the standards set by the HCPC and GOsC to become registered to practise as a health professional in the UK. Applicants can be asked to provide information about their ability to use English and all applicants applying through the international registration process will be asked to do this unless:

  • English is your first language
  • you are an EEA national

If you are an EEA national and a speech and language therapist, you will need to provide proof of your English language proficiency, unless English is your first language.

Where an applicant is required to demonstrate that they meet the language requirements of the HCPC, evidence of the completion of a recognised English language proficiency test such as the International English Language Testing System (IELTS) must be included with the application. Applicants can take either the 'Academic' test or the 'General' test. See the HCPC website for a list of the English language proficiency tests it can accept and the required scores.

Applicants from both the EEA and non-EEA countries who are applying to register as speech and language therapists are required to meet a higher standard in English language proficiency than other professions as communication in English is a core professional skill.

Applicants whose experience and/or training were gained outside the UK must complete the HCPC's international registration form

Osteopaths who have trained outside of the UK should contact the GOsC for more information about requirements needed. 

EEA nationals

EEA nationals will need to complete the registration process. EEA applicants whose experience and/or training were gained outside the UK must complete the HCPC's international registration form

Osteopaths who have trained outside of the UK should contact the GOsC for more information about requirements needed. 

Temporary registration for visiting European professionals

Only individuals who are established elsewhere in the European Economic Area (EEA) or Switzerland can apply for temporary registration with the HCPC. Temporary registration applies to those applicants who wish to provide professional services in the UK on a temporary and occasional basis. Applicants must complete a temporary registration declaration form and must meet the HCPC standards of conduct, performance and ethics.

There are similar arrangements for osteopaths who must meet the requirements of the GOsC.

Code of practice for ethical recruitment

Many NHS organisations contract with agencies to help with overseas recruitment campaigns, in line with the Department of Health and Social Care code of practice.

The code is clear that active recruitment from developing countries is unethical. See NHS Employers' website for more detail. The code of practice also includes key principles such as not requiring candidates to pay a fee up front. If you are asked to pay a fee up front for promises of NHS accommodation or work, please report the request to Action Fraud.

If you are thinking about coming to work in the UK, it is a good idea to read the guidance from the Government which includes information on:

  • avoiding scams
  • working rights and standards
  • what to consider when deciding whether to take a health or care job in the UK
  • where to go for further guidance, support or help in the UK

Finding a job

Your next step is finding a job. Get some top tips on finding your first NHS job and where to find live vacancies.

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