Entry into Training for IMGs

This article will try to cover the basic pathways for IMGs (International Medical Graduates) who wish to enter the UK’s training system. You should keep in mind that your first job in the UK will most probably be a non-training job. After having worked at a non-training post for a few months (most probably 6 to 18 months), you can apply for training. You can check your chances of finding your preferred field of training here.

 

IMGs who start working in the UK can be divided into three categories:

  1. Candidates who have NOT completed an acceptable pattern of internship from their home country.
  2. Candidates who have completed an acceptable pattern of internship from their home country.
  3. Candidates who have completed MRCP.

 

1. Candidates who have NOT completed an acceptable pattern of internship from their home country

These candidates are at the level of freshly graduated doctors, with no experience.

Therefore, the next step for them would be Foundation Program; they can only apply for FY1 posts.

It is very difficult to find FY1 posts for IMGs, since most FY1 posts are taken by local graduates in the UK. Therefore, it is always advisable to start working in the UK only after completion of an internship back home.

 

Entry after PLAB - I

 

2. Candidates who have completed an acceptable pattern of internship from their home country

These candidates are at the level of doctors who have completed their FY1.

Therefore, the next step for them would be FY2. However, getting a training FY2 post is very difficult, since most people who enter FY1, complete their FY2 training in the UK; there are almost no vacancies for FY2 training for IMGs.

So the best option would be to apply for different non-training posts, which can be found very easily. After working for 3 months at a non-training post, they are eligible to get their FY2 competencies signed. However, getting competencies signed after having worked for at least 6 months might be slightly easier. Getting their FY2 Competencies signed would make them eligible to apply for Core Training.

 

Entry after PLAB - II.jpg

3. Candidates who have completed MRCP

These candidates are at the level of doctors who have completed their Core Training.

Therefore, the next step for them would be Specialty Training. However, it might not be possible to start their ST right away.

The best route for these doctors is to take a non-training (registrar) job at first. After working for a certain amount of time, they can get their Core Training competency signed and after meeting other eligibility requirements of Specialty Training, these candidates can apply for Specialty Training.

Entry after MRCP.jpg

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Conclusion

  1. Make sure you complete your internship back home before you start applying for jobs in the UK.
    .
    .
  2. IMGs who have completed their internship back home, passed PLAB and registered themselves with the GMC, should take the following  route:
    a) Take a non-training job until they start training.
    b) Get their FY2 competencies signed.
    c) Works towards achieving other eligibility criteria for training jobs.
    d) Get a training job.
    e) Become a consultant.
    .
    .
  3. IMGs who have passed MRCP and registered themselves with the GMC, should take the following route:
    a) Take a non-training job until they start training.
    b) Get their Core Training competencies signed.
    c) Works towards achieving other eligibility requirements for training jobs.
    d) Get a training job.
    e) Become a consultant.

 

Frequently Asked Questions

 

1. What are non-training jobs?

These are the jobs that IMGs with an acceptable pattern of internship should apply for. There can be many different titles to these jobs, but the jobs are nearly the same. These can include:

Foundation Year 2 (FY2)
Senior House Officer (SHO)
Core Training 1 (CT1)
Core Training 2 (CT2)
Specialty Training 1 (ST1)
Specialty Training (ST2)
Clinical Fellow (CF)
Junior Clinical Fellow (JCF)
Senior Clinical Fellow (SCF)
Junior Doctor
Trust Grade Doctor

It might confuse you seeing FY, CT and ST posts among non-training jobs. These jobs arise when a hospital needs FY, CT or ST Doctors, but it is not possible for them to recruit training doctors. So they hire non-training doctors for the same posts.

Working at these jobs will not count towards your training experience. However, the job description and the salary is the same as training jobs.

 

2. What is the difference between a training and a non-training job?

A training job is one in which there is career progression. In a non-training job, there is no career progression. Our internship (also known as House Job in Pakistan) and specialty training jobs (also knows as Residency in Pakistan) are training jobs.

 

3. What is F2 Competency?

Since IMGs do not go through UK’s Foundation training, they are required to get an F2 Competency form signed by their consultant. This form can be signed by any consultant, in the UK or in their home country, under whom they have worked for at least 3 months, during the last 3 years.

This form would not make them equivalent to candidates who have completed their Foundation training from the UK, but it would make them eligible to apply for Core Training program in the second round (First round is for British and EU citizens).

 

4. What is an Acceptable Pattern of Internship?

At least 12 months of internship with at least 3 months in medicine and at least 3 months in surgery is considered to be an acceptable pattern of internship. Medical and surgical sub-specialties count in medicine and surgery, respectively. For example, pediatrics and OBGYN are counted as medicine and surgery, respectively.

You must also check the official link from the GMC’s website to find out the acceptable patterns of internship. You can click here to check the official GMC link.

 

5. 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.

74 thoughts on “Entry into Training for IMGs”

  1. what if one finished internship then plabs and started working a non trainig job while finishing mrcp lets say within a year does that mean they can apply for specialety training?

    Like

      1. no i meant worked for a year, while finishing whats left of mrcp
        but i got the answer thank you 🙂

        Like

  2. Sir, i understood the path, but when should each part of MRCP taken for a IMG. I’ve just passed my IELTS and planning to give my PLAB part I in November. So how should I plan for MRCP?

    Like

    1. Get done with your PLAB first. Go for MRCP after your PLAB. If you have too much time between PLAB 1 and PLAB 2 for any reason, you can then take MRCP 1 in this gap. You will also get a long gap after your PLAB 2, which is ideal to pass an exam.

      Like

  3. After plab what is the pathway to get into radiology training? Do I need to pass MRCP first to enter radiology as well ??

    Like

    1. Clinical Radiology has a dedicated run-through training program. You should look for their website or post this question on Facebook groups to get more information. I am sorry for not being more helpful with this due to my lack of knowledge.

      Like

  4. hello Dr,
    Thank you for such a great blog. my question, what is considered “an acceptable pattern of internship from their home country”, cause in my country, internship is only one year(12 months). so should i be doing 2 years to be equivalent to FY1 + FY2?

    Thanks ,

    Like

  5. Hello sir,
    I have done my MBBS,MD from Russia & not done my internship bcos i was planning to give indian medical exam but now i want to work in UK . What should i do next ? Is it possible to do internship anywhere rather than our college ?
    Or is it possible to enter any courses like Fy1/non-training post etc?

    Like

    1. It is very difficult to find internship (Foundation training) in the UK. Your best option is to complete your internship from any university recognized by that country’s local medical council and then move to the UK for your first job.

      Like

  6. Difficult means exam is difficult or the vacancies will not be available? India will not allow to do internship without having indian registration . I am too much confused pls help me out of this ,I desperately want to cm to UK.

    Like

    1. Since most British medical graduates enter FY1 training there are almost no vacancies left for us. This is why it is very difficult for IMGs to find FY1 training.

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      1. Is there any other way to work in UK? How do i check , where i can do my internship ? Can i do my internship after giving plab 2?

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      2. This article under which you are commenting enlists all the possible entry routes to the UK.

        You can always check official websites for anything.

        Yes, you can go for your internship in India after taking PLAB 2. But that’ll waste your time.

        Anyhow, please take your time to think this through.

        Good luck! 🙂

        Like

  7. Thanks a lot.
    I did contact to medical council of India those ppl r saying that i have to contact with hospital where i want to do my internship.
    Is it possible to do internship without having that country’s (Indian medical ) registration? Will hospital give certificate of completing internship? Will it be authorized for UK?

    Like

  8. Hello,
    dr naseer your work and efforts are commendable,I wanted to ask that after completing a non training job we can apply for a training job after signing all the competencies,does this mean that we have to clear mrcp 1 and 2 before applying for a training job? for instance i am doing a non training job and i want to get in to run through training so before that i will have to give some other exam like mrcp to get a training job?

    Like

    1. Every training program has different prerequisites. For example, GP training has a small entrance test. Core Medical Training does not have any entrance test.

      You need to pass MRCP or MRCS before you apply for ST3 level sub-specialties of medicine or surgery respectively. But this is not something to worry about. You’ll have more than enough time to pass your exams.

      All the best! 🙂

      Like

  9. Hello, I am a medical graduate from Jordan and I’m thinking to start preparing for plabs, through out my reading of your blog along with the GMC and UKFPO websites I have gained some info. Now here is my situation; I have completed 11 months of internship in my home country, after that I started to work as a general practitioner at a private hospital in the ER, it has been a year now since I started to work, also, I’m doing masters degree in public health, epidemiology which I’m supposed to finish in Jan 2018 so, in total, I have 11 months internship and one year of ER experience with ward duties, and a so as I came to conclusion this doesn’t constitute an acceptable pattern of internship. I can take an extra month of internship in my country but as I understood it won’t be acceptable either because it is not continuous. what options do I have for the GMC registration? should I take this road or look for something else? also, what are the chances of being able to take F1 position if I have some connections? and if I don’t what are the chances?.
    thank you in advance and sorry for being long.

    Like

    1. Through the PLAB route, your only option now is to apply for FY1 posts. FY1 training posts are very hard to find, but finding non-training posts, based on your provisional GMC registration, is easier.

      I do not know if you will get your full GMC registration based on non-training FY experience. This is something that you should try to find out.

      All of your other options are already listed in the article above.

      Best of luck! 🙂

      Like

  10. Hello dr naseer

    I have a question regarding non-trainimg jobs at level SHO/trush grade or clinical fellow .. And lets say i just finshed plab and i want to go for one of mentioned above jobs .. Will i be working in speciality i want or what ?? .. Because a friend of mine told me he knows some one finished plab and work as a dermatologist in a non-training job, no CMT or MRCP and that make me confused

    Like

    1. Yes, you can get a non-training job in any specialty. Having relevant experience from the same specialty back home makes it easier to find a job in your preferred specialty.

      Best of luck! 🙂

      Like

  11. Hello sir If Someone doesnt have an acceptable pattern of internship, What should he do?
    Should he go for MRCP as FY1 is very hard for IMGs to find?

    Like

  12. Hello Dr.Naseer, could you please advise if the signed F 2 competencies are required while filling the application form for training post or is it required by the time of start of training position i.e next year ?
    If i get a sho post now but my F2 competencies are not signed by the deadline of submitting the training post application am i still eligible? Thanks.

    Like

  13. Hi sir,
    your blog is really helpful and thank you so much for this kind gesture .I graduated on 2016 and worked soon after for 4 months and then i came to uae to write emstrex and so one year i spent on this but didnt get through so now im kinda stuck as in if i should go back to my home country and gain work experience or write plab this november.
    what is the best line of action i should take,can you kindly guide me.
    looking forward to hear from you and thank u so much for ur valuable time

    Like

  14. can i give plab1 while doing my internship in my home country will I be exempt from FY1 or do I have to complete my internship and then give plab1. i am really confused please help me out thanks 🙂

    Like

  15. Hie. I’m from south africa. I just graduated from medical school in China this year in June. I did internship at my universities which was my 6th year. To be honest the internship was useless. It’s a waste of time in China. You don’t learn anything and the only thing we can do is to observe. Sometimes they would just tell us to go home. So now i want to go and work in UK. So after passing plab, do you think i should register for provisional or full registration? I really wna do another year of real internship.. I cannot go and work in my country because once I’m in the system, i can only be able to leave after 5 years? What do you think?
    2. I’m still in China, and i found a teaching English job so i can save money for plab for next year. So when i leave and go back to my country to write plab, i will close my accounts. How’s that going to work when i want to apply for plab 2 visa? I won’t bank statements?

    Like

    1. 1. I hope that the GMC accepts your internship and you get full GMC registration and not the provisional GMC registration. Because if you get provisional registration, you can only apply for FY1 posts. Keep in mind that FY1 training posts are very hard to find and this route is not advisable at all.

      2. You need documentary evidence for any money that you have earned and it is better to work in the same field of profession and to not change our profession, both for the visa and for future career in the UK.

      Good luck!

      Like

  16. Hi Naseer, pls i need clarifications on this. I just completed my plab 2 exam and already in the process of gmc full registeration. Im a public health physician in my home country with 8 yrs post graduate experience.
    My question is this: If i get a ct1 non training post as my first job in the uk, what are my chances of getting a training post thereafter? Do i still need to have fy2 competency form signed? What exactly is the process if i go through this route?
    N.B: I do not have mrcp and im looking at either gp training or core medical training later on.
    Thank you.

    Like

    1. If you get a non-training CT1 post, you will need to get your FY2 competencies signed. Getting into CMT after that shouldn’t be an issue. All of my friends who applied for CMT, found training this year.

      The process of applying for CMT has been discussed in detail by Dr. Omar Alam in his blog. Please do read about it. You will discover it in more detail and become more familiar with it once you start working in the UK.

      Good luck! 🙂

      Like

  17. Hello, thank you for ur information.
    But, i have to ask you something. I did my one year internship at my home country. Then, I passed MRCS after 3 years. During trying for MRCS, I got into government service for 2 years. Now, i want to work at UK as surgeon. But, not right now. I know I have to go through many steps. What should I do first?

    Like

    1. I would advise you to go through my posts to understand the training structure in the U.K. And to see how IMGs enter the system.

      You will probably start as an SHO or Registrar.

      You can get GMC registration on the basis of your MRCS.

      Good luck! 🙂

      Like

  18. Hello Nasser! Can I take plab 1 before starting my housejob? Will I be provisionally registered then and can I later convert it to fully registered after completion of my housejob in pakisan?

    Like

    1. Yes, you can take PLAB 1 before your House Job.

      GMC registration comes after PLAB 2. So you wouldn’t need provisional GMC registration before your House Job.

      I hope this helps.

      Good luck! 🙂

      Like

      1. Hi Dr Naseer
        Thank you so much for ur valuable advice.
        After plab 2 if I want to work in uae for some time due to monetary issues then by how much time should I get registered under GMC ?
        For eg if I work in Dubai for a year after plab and then apply for gmc registration and job will that create a difficulty in finding a job in uk?
        Looking forward to your reply
        Thank you

        Liked by 1 person

      2. I’m not sure about this. I’ve heard of people freezing their licenses. I would advise you to contact the GMC directly to ask them. You can also post on Facebook groups to ask others.

        The UK does pay well, by the way.

        Like

      3. Thank you sir..My main concern is my family as in even if we come there for core training we will have to shift ryt??so how do ppl with family usually manage?or do they give a written request or something to stay in the same area.
        Thank you for your time and honest opinions
        God bless you

        Like

  19. Hi Doctor,My concern is If I fail a subject in my first 4 years during my med school, and clear it in a supplementary exam, without wasting a year, would that impact my induction in a training job, i.e would I lose some marks? and is it right that every additional degree other than mbbs (like BSc) has extra marks?

    Like

  20. Hi Dr Naseer. Thanks for ur initiative. Immensely helpful.
    I am Indian. Have finished mrcp. Looking to join non training job.
    But interested to know about joining speciality training. Have heard some doctors do that. But not able to find any who can guide me. It would be really helpful if u can point me towards this. Any websites , personal contacts or agencies who can help me.
    I know that u advice to go for non training job first. I want to compare all the options.
    Thanks in advance.

    Like

    1. You can find any job you are looking for at NHS Jobs’ official website. You can find person specifications, job expectations, salary, working hours and all other details there along with all job offers.

      Like

  21. Finished med school from a third country (not my own country)without any failures,completed an acceptable pattern of internship,came back 2 my home country flunked the licensing exam ,went into depression left the medical field for a couple of years ,after couple of years got my life back on track ,passed my licensing exam,got enrolled into an post graduate program ,passed without any failures after 3 years worked for couple of years ,passed my part 1 and 2 in an year ,my q is that will my gap of 2 years without my home country license have an effect on gmc registrations I have been working continuously for the past 5 years???

    Like

    1. You’ll have to explain that gap in writing, but because of your good record apart from that gap, you’ll be alright. This is only my opinion.

      You can always get other people’s opinions via Facebook groups.

      Good luck! 🙂

      Like

  22. Thanks,but will they ask for it ??bucks I don’t have a gap in my clinical experience in the last 5 years ?? And gmc asks for details of clinical experience in last 5 years???

    Like

  23. Hello Dr Naseer, I’m an IMG from India and i have completed my medschool + one year of internship in Feb 2017. I have appeared for my PLAB as well and intend on giving PLAB part 1 in March 2018. As per your post, after passing part 2 and registering with the GMC, and then securing a a non training post after which i get my FY2 compensation signed, how do i apply for CMT (1-2) and ST? (3-8)
    Is it mandatory for me to give MRCP to get into specialty training (assuming i choose internal medicine)
    Thank you.

    Like

  24. Hello Dr.Naseer, this blog is a ray of hope to aspiring plabbers like me. It boosts our confidence and encourages us. Thank you so much!
    I have a question about the training pathway. Once we enter into ST3 training job after CT, do we continue till ST8 or have to apply for ST4-8 every consequent year?

    Like

  25. Thank you so much for the info ..After finishing 4yrs of med school and 1 year housie (internship) how many months should I work in a non training post to get FY2 ?
    2)do we get paid during CT training and ST training

    Like

    1. 1. Your first job in the UK will be as a non-training FY2/SHO/CT1. You will apply for training whenever training slots open up (November or February) and begin training in August. So it depends on when you begin your non-training post.

      2. We get paid for all jobs in the UK.

      Like

  26. Hello Dr. Naseer, thank you so much for this blog! It’s a real blessing.
    I currently hold a full registration with the GMC. My next step is to apply for F2 jobs and try to get my competencies signed within 6 months (or more) as you mentioned.
    I did an acceptable pattern of internship abroad (in China) but I was treated like a medical student and didn’t have freedom to do simple practical procedures (like venepuncture, catheterization, etc;), although I have done them numerous amounts of times on mannequins (during PLAB 2). I feel a lot of pressure to start working at an F2 post. Is it normal to feel like this before starting to work here? I was told that the F2 locum posts include a period of training and induction to enable you to get accustomed to everything.
    I have spoken to some agencies and they have ensured that there are many F2 locum posts available.
    Should I start applying to locum posts and mention this in the interviews or should I be silent and hope to pick up everything during the short training or should I try to do a clinical attachment (I have already done 2 in the past in England but was not registered at the time). Any suggestions would be highly appreciated. Thanks again!

    Like

    1. I understand your situation. You have the following options:

      1. Clinical attachment.
      Pros: time to improve, zero expectations.
      Cons: no earning.

      2. Get a training/shadow period for a couple of weeks before you start working.
      Pros: time to improve, very low expectations.
      Cons: no earning.

      3. Join as an FY1.
      Pros: time to improve, low expectations.
      Cons: less earning.

      4. Join as FY2/CT1 non-training.
      Pros: good earning.
      Cons: slightly difficult to adjust, slightly higher expectations, you will have to take some time from your off-duty hours to practice the skills you are weak at.

      Knowing all of the above, the decision is yours.

      Liked by 1 person

  27. 1)Can I go directly into CT training without FY2??
    After finishing my internship(housie) at my home place
    2)I want to do emergency medicine specialty in uk …and one of my senior told that If we do diploma in emergency medicine there is no need of plab ..is it true ?

    Like

  28. Thank you so much naseer for your time and replies 😊your blog is really helpful for IMGs who wants to get into Uk..may Allah bless you with success

    Like

  29. I understand that 12 months of housejob/internship, without any gap, from a teaching hospital is necessary to be considered equivalent to FY1. Is it necessary that this internship should be done from one teaching hospital, or we can do it in different hospitals? I have done 6 months of medicine and allied at one teaching hospital, and now I want to complete the next 6 months at another teaching hospital. Your help is appreciated 🙂

    Like

  30. Hello sir.. I’m doing my UG here in India.. Ive always aspired to do my higher studies in uk.. Ive read your blogs.. Its so inspiring.. But ive many people over there telling now That the system now in uk is bad.. No proper fund allocation. Shortage of doctors and workload is heavy.. Is that true sir..? They are asking me to check out australia or the USA!

    Like

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