Entry Routes for Medical Practice in the UK

UK and EEA graduates can find employment in the UK without passing any further exams, as their qualifications are recognised in the UK. Therefore this post only concerns Non-UK/EEA International Medical Graduates who wish to pursue a career in the UK.

There are many different pathways for IMGs to enter the UK’s system. These can be distributed into two main categories and further sub-categories:


1. Through Licencing Exams


PLAB is the licencing exam for International Medical Graduates wishing to practice in the UK. PLAB has two parts, PLAB 1 and PLAB 2. Once you’ve passed your PLAB 2 exam, you can get GMC registration to become eligible to work in the UK as a doctor.

You can check my post Road Map for PLAB to understand the pathway for PLAB.


MRCP is a specialty exam, which a candidate needs to pass before they can enter specialty training for medicine in the UK. Once they have passed MRCP 1, MRCP 2, PACES and IELTS, they’re eligible to apply for GMC registration on the basis of MRCP. After GMC registration, they are allowed to work in the UK as a doctor.

My post PLAB vs MRCP might give you an idea of the MRCP pathway.


2. Without Passing Licencing Exams

A) Medical Training Initiative

Through this pathway, doctors who are training in their home country can apply for training in different specialties in the UK for a short period of time and then return back to their home country to complete their training. This pathway is ideal for doctors who wish to gain UK experience for a short time and then return back home.

Please click here to get more details about the program. Please also check Dr. Omar Alam’s post which discusses MTI, among other topics.

B) Acceptable Postgraduate Qualifications

You can go through GMC’s list of acceptable postgraduate qualifications to see if you can work in the UK on the basis of your qualifications.

From Pakistan, this list includes FCPS in Paediatrics and Fellowship in Anaesthesiology. Which means that if you have these qualifications, you do not need to pass PLAB, MRCP or any other exam to work in the UK. You will still need to pass IELTS before GMC registration.

C) Sponsorship Programs

Several University departments in the UK operate sponsorship schemes for GMC registrations. These schemes are for doctors wishing to undertake a postgraduate degree or research project with the University. Please contact the relevant academic heads of the departments and they will be able to advise you if they are approved sponsors for the purposes of GMC registration.

You can find more information about this from the official GMC website link here.


Useful Links


Frequently Asked Questions

1. For how long would I be allowed to train in the UK on the basis of Medical Training Initiative?

This can vary, depending on which country you are applying from. For people applying from Pakistan, MTI is usually a two-year program. You can always contact them at mti@rcplondon.ac.uk to ask your questions.

2. What is the training structure in the UK?

Please click on this link to get information about the training structure in the UK.

3. How do IMGs enter the training system in the UK?

You can check my post Entry into Training for IMGs to get a detailed answer.

4. Can I enter sub-specialty of my choice in Medicine?

You can visit the official ST3 recruitment website to check the number of openings for your preferred field. Go to the bottom of the page and click on your choice of sub-specialty. A new page will open. Click on Data. Check the number of openings for that field in round 2. This will give you an idea of your chances of making it to your choice of field.

You can also check competition ratios and seat availability from my post Training Availability in the UK.

Generally, entering non-surgical fields is very easy. Finding training in surgical fields require a lot of hard work and dedication in improving the CV. There is also tough competition over training spots in specialties like dermatology and radiology.

5. How can I study for PLAB 1?

To get a detailed idea, you can go through my post, Studying for PLAB 1.

Published on: 29 April 2017.
Last updated on: 29 October 2018.

132 thoughts on “Entry Routes for Medical Practice in the UK

  1. Respected Sir, I need ur guidance and help. I did my MBBS in 2005 and Post graduation in pathology 2007-2010 in India. Since then working as pathologist in medical college in India. Sir I wish to PLAB. What are the prospects of old IMG. Which pathway should I follow PLAB or Mrcp. Kindly guide me

  2. I Have Passed MRCP Part 1 2 now preperaing for PACES Examination.If i qualify for PACES too.What will be chances of getting job in uk ? Is i will get a job for junior Dr or senior registar / consultant.Thanks
    your comments are very informative.

  3. Hi Dr Naseer.
    I am reading your blog these days.
    It’s really appreciated that you are guiding Doctors in very simple way.
    I just completed my FCPS Residency in Peadiatrics Medicine from PIMS Islamabad and Qualified IMM going to appear for Part 2 in January 2019.
    I am Lady Medical Officer at govt since 2012.
    As from your blog FCPS Peadiatrics of CPSP is recognised by UK for GMC registration so please guide me that after completion of FCPS do I need any other exam for UK job as specialist.
    Secondly what are the post fellowship opportunities in UK scope wise ?
    What you suggest.

    1. Your FCPS Paeds will exempt you from PLAB. So you can apply for GMC registration on the basis of your FCPS Paeds.

      But you will still have to go through pediatric training in the UK to work as a Paeds specialist in the UK.

      1. So it means after FCPS and GMC registration I won’t be considered as Consultant Peadiatrician ?
        And how much training will be required further ?
        As in your blog I read only IELTS is required for Peads FCPS Pakistan.
        And is there any possibility that I will join that training before my Part 2 exam as my residency training in Pakistan is completed now.

  4. Actually the things are not clear in GMC website and no such examples available online.
    Can you refer me to any such example who have completed FCPS Peads from Pakistan and then moved to UK.

  5. Currently preparing for MRCP. I’m just commenting to thank you for your effort. I am really grateful.
    If I make it to UK please accept my invitation for a dinner.

  6. I want to ask few things
    If i do fcps in anesthesia which is recognized by gmc.
    Is there enough window to get a job in uk as an anesthetist?
    2nd thing which license they’ll provide me.?
    A simple medical officer license or a specialist one for anesthesia.
    3rd, what about salaries and future of anesthetist in uk

    1. 1. FCPS Anaesthesia will allow you to get GMC registration. You can apply for jobs on the basis of this.
      2. But you will probably start as a Registrar and not as a consultant since the FCPS Anaesthesia will not make you a consultant in the UK.
      3. You can check pay scales for registrars and consultants on Google.

      All the best! 🙂

  7. Thank you soo much Dr. Nasser for the good work you are doing..God bless you.
    I am a kenyan who just finished med school and want to do my internship in the UK can plab1 and 2 help me get to UK and pursue my interns over there?

    1. It is very difficult for non-UK/EEA nationals to get FY1 training in the UK. I will advise you to complete your internship before moving to the UK.

Leave a Reply