Scrubs? Check. Stethoscope? Check. Pesky paperwork? Check. Health workers can look forward to a fulfilling career in the UK. You’ve just got to go through all the formalities first.

The market
The demand for health workers in the UK is constant. There is a need for skilled and qualified workers, ranging from GPs and nurses to allied health professionals, including radiologists, dermatologists, opthalmologists, and everything in between. 

And the good news is antipodeans and Saffas are favoured. Warren Roach, a recruitment consultant at Merco Medical Recruitment in London, says: “British employers love the work ethic and professionalism of people from Australia, New Zealand and South Africa, it’s just unfortunate changes to the Tier 2 Visa means fewer are able to come over – unless their specialty comes under the skills shortage list. 

“However, if you are already here on a working holiday visa, and don’t want to go home when it runs out, your chances of sponsorship are high, and UK experience is highly favoured across the world, especially in emerging countries.”

While here, you could also train in a new specialty, such as neonatal intensive care, or paediatric care, which will make you more employable. 

Credentials, registration, documentation
You must be registered in your country of origin as well as in the UK before you can start work. Bring with you original documentation that proves who you are and your qualifications. This includes degree papers, such as your academic transcript, proof of specialised training, registration certificate, birth and marriage certificates, criminal reference check, your passport, employment history and references. 

Nurses can then apply with the Nursing and Midwifery Council online ( and doctors at the General Medical Council ( Even if it is your first language, you will also need to do an English test. It can take between one to six months before you start practicing as a fully registered nurse or doctor if you don’t have all the required papers, so it’s wise to start the process before you’ve left home.

“Most of the process can be done online, but the GMC does sometimes request doctors make an appointment with the,” Roach says.

How to find a job
Survive the paperwork stage and you’re ready to go on the hunt. The best way to find work is to register with an agency. You’ll find plenty of listings in the private and public sector, plus support, as you plod through your job search. If you want to work for the NHS, see their website,

As well as gaining valuable experience in a major world city, the incentives are financial. A locum doctor can earn around £80 an hour and a nurse with around two years’ experience, upwards of £15. They are some healthy figures – which might mean you’re able to save as you work. See