Information for overseas allied health professionals

If you're looking for information about becoming an allied health professional in the UK, you’ve come to the right place. 

This page describes what you need to know, depending on where you’ve trained, and signposts you to further information.


The Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC) is the body that regulates most allied health professionals (AHPs) in the UK. The exception are osteopaths who need to register with the General Osteopathic Council (GOsC).

The HCPC and GOsC set standards of professional training, performance and conduct and hold a register of health professionals who meet the registration standards.

The allied health professions incorporate a number of professions including physiotherapists, radiographers, practitioner psychologists and speech and language therapists. Visit the HCPC website for a full list of those it regulates, and the GOsC website for information about regulation for osteopaths.

Each of the regulated professions has a 'protected title' and anyone who uses one of these titles must be registered with the HCPC or GOsC. Each application submitted to the HCPC and GOsC is looked at on an individual basis by registration assessors. All applicants will be required to meet the standards of the HCPC or GOsC and must provide both character and health references and in certain circumstances applicants may be asked to provide clinical references.

There are different requirements for registration for AHPs who trained in the UK to those trained outside the UK. However, registration with the HCPC or GOsC does not provide the right to work in the UK. Please visit our overseas health professionals page for further information, including the health and care visa.

Voluntary registers

There are also voluntary registers managed by the relevant professional body for those AHP professions not currently regulated by the HCPC or GOsC. Registration with these organisations is sometimes a condition of employment in the NHS. Individuals will need to contact the relevant professional body for further information. To find your relevant professional body in the UK, please search this website by your profession.

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.

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