Applying from overseas

The NHS is the largest single employer in the UK, employing over a million people, five per cent of the UK's working population. Our workforce is extremely diverse and multicultural - just like our patients. And we often look beyond the UK and Europe to attract the best talent. Applications are particularly welcome from professionally-qualified healthcare staff from outside the UK.

Here are the main things to be aware of if you are applying for a job with the NHS from overseas.

Check the person specification

You will find a 'person specification' on all jobs advertised on the site. This sets out the requirements you will need to have to be considered for the role. Make sure you have the relevant experience and qualifications before applying for a job. Only applicants who demonstrate clearly in their application form that they meet the essential criteria for the post will be considered for interview. For very popular posts, employers may only consider those applicants who also meet the desired criteria outlined on the person specification.

International recruitment of healthcare professionals

NHS Jobs follows the code of practice for the international recruitment of healthcare professionals. This promotes the best possible standards in international recruitment, and discourages any inappropriate practices that could harm other countries' healthcare systems or the interests of those who apply for posts.

Professional registration

If you are applying for a post that requires professional registration, you will need to register with the appropriate regulatory body. If you are registered in your home country, but do not have UK registration, some NHS employers may be able to help with this. Detailed information on what you need to do can be found on the NHS Careers website.

Right to work in the UK

A points-based system is the UK's immigration system for managing applications by individuals from outside the European Economic Area (EEA) and Switzerland wishing to work, train or study in the UK. This system simplifies routes to employment and education in the UK to five tiers. If you come from outside the EEA, you need to gain points to qualify for a specific tier before you can apply to work in the UK. The number of points required varies for each tier but reflect the applicants' qualifications, experience, age, previous earnings and language competence.

Tier 1: highly skilled workers. This tier is now closed to all new applicants applying from outside the UK. Anyone who already holds a Tier 1 (general) or the previous highly skilled migrant programme visa (HSMP) is able to extend their stay based on the rules and criteria that were in place at the time they were first granted leave to remain in this category.

Tier 2: skilled workers. This category enables NHS organisations to recruit individuals from outside the EEA to fill vacancies that cannot be filled by a British or EEA worker.

Tier 3: low skilled workers. This category is not available as a route of entry to the UK.

Tier 4: students. UK education providers will act as the sponsor for students from outside the UK or EEA. If accepted for study you will be issued with a Confirmation of Acceptance for Studies (CAS). All students will need a visa to enter the UK, which also allows you to work part time during term time and full time during vacations.

Tier 5: temporary workers and youth mobility. The temporary worker category of tier 5 allows NHS organisations to employ you if you are from outside the EEA for up to 24 months as part of a government-authorised exchange programme. The youth mobility category of tier 5 replaces the working holidaymaker visa. If your country is part of the Youth Mobility Scheme (YMS), they can act as sponsors to issue you with a Certificate of Sponsorship.

Find out more about the system for assessing immigration applications for the UK on the NHS Careers website.