Working in the UK as a Occupational Therapist

The UK has a pressing need for health professionals in all disciplines and areas of expertise. Occupational therapy is one medical division where jobs are abundant in the NHS. Moreover, these NHS positions are available on a temporary and permanent basis. So whether you live by Lands End or John O’Groats, central London or the Yorkshire Dales, the demand for qualified and highly skilled occupational therapists is high. If you are thinking about moving from Australia to the UK, or from any other country across the world, get in touch with Globe Locums. Globe Locums has a range of locum occupational therapy jobs in the UK. There are hundreds of UK based temporary, permanent and locum jobs on our platform for you to choose from, making us the ideal place to start looking for an occupational therapy job in the UK. Register with Globe Locums today to learn more about the range of locum occupational therapy jobs in the UK.

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How to register to work in the UK

If you intend to go to the UK from Europe, Australia, or any other country, you must follow the correct immigration processes. These have changed somewhat since the UK left the European Union, so it is essential to seek further advice if you are not sure. It doesn’t matter if you are planning to go and work on a short term basis, or you are hoping to live and work there permanently, before you leave to go there, you will need to apply for a work permit. There are other requirements and standards that you will need to meet in order to apply for occupational therapy jobs in the UK. You will need to make sure that you have all of the relevant qualifications, skills, and experience to work in the position. It is also a good idea to think about which type of visa you want to apply for, and is most applicable to you for working in the UK. Some visas insist you have a solid offer of employment in the UK before you can live and work there. There is an exception to this in the form of the Youth Mobility Scheme visa, which we will explore later in this post.

What are the requirements for working as an occupational therapist in the UK?

To be eligible to work as an occupational therapist in the United Kingdom, whether on a temporary or a permanent basis, you will need to have the following:

Registration with the Health and Care Professions Council

To work as an occupational therapist in the UK, you must be registered with the Health and Care Professions Council, otherwise known as the HPCP. ‘Occupational Therapist’ is a protected title in the UK, so it is illegal to work as one unless you are registered with the HCPC. In order to register with the HCPC, you must adhere to strict standards regarding your professional and personal character. These are there to protect you, your colleagues and your patients and include the following:

  • Holding the relevant qualifications and training.
  • Having the necessary skills and experience.
  • Having a solid and trustworthy personal character.
  • Being in good personal health. - English proficiency.
  • An overview from your place of study.
  • Clinical references.

All registration applications are individually assessed, so make sure that you do this in plenty of time. It can take on average four to six weeks but can be even longer in peak times or if there is any missing information on your application.

Qualifications needed to work as an occupational therapist in the UK

Occupational therapists in the UK must hold the relevant qualifications and degrees in their specific field to be eligible to work. As a general rule of thumb, for an occupational therapy job, you need to possess an undergraduate or a post-graduate degree in occupational therapy from an approved tertiary institution, such as those offered by Canadian, New Zealand and Australian universities. Without these, you will not be able to work as an occupational therapist in the UK.

What temporary visas are available to allow you to work as an occupational therapist in the UK?

Temporary visas, sometimes called T5 visas, are an option for those hoping to move to the UK on a non-permanent basis. There are a few different ones, but not all apply to healthcare workers. If you want to work temporarily, you need to go down the Youth Mobility scheme or be in a Government Authorised Exchange program from training or a fellowship.

The Youth Mobility Scheme

This is a two-year visa suitable for those aged between 18 and 30. It is for those who want to work and live temporarily in the UK. The scheme allows you to do so for up to two years and replaces the standard working holiday visa, although countries eligible for this are more limited than before. For this visa, you do not need to have a job offer in place and must have a minimum of £2,530 in savings. You also cannot take any family members with you to the UK.

What is life like for an occupational therapist in the UK?

Of course, every experience is entirely different depending on your experience, the job you take, where you work, where you choose to live and so on, but let’s take a brief look at what life is typically like for occupational therapists who have moved to the UK to work.


If you plan to stay in the UK indefinitely, you may want to consider long-term living arrangements, such as buying a property. If you plan to work in a temporary position for a year or more without moving to a different area, a rental property may be a good alternative. You may find that some permanent jobs or roles offer accommodation as part of the contract, but this is more common in temporary, short-term positions. If you are working as a locum in the Uk, several options are available to you. Some may be able to help you find or even provide accommodation close to your place of work or on-site, while more prominent clinics and hospitals can advise on temporary lodgings. If you are hoping to move around the UK during your time there, this may be the best path - it stops you from being tied into a contract.

Bank accounts

You will usually need to have a UK based bank account or at least one that is compatible with the UK banking systems to have your salary paid to you. There are many UK-based banks to choose from, and it is entirely up to you which one you opt for. There are limited numbers of physical banks on the UK high streets now, especially if you work shifts, so it may be worth looking at one with a reliable online banking service. If you plan to stay in the UK on a holiday visa, you may want to investigate an international bank account.


How much you earn is determined by a number of factors, such as where you are, your level of experience and qualifications and so on. If you live in central London, you can expect to be paid more to reflect the higher living costs. Rural positions may have a lower salary. As a general rule of thumb, a band 5 NHS occupational therapist can expect to be paid between £19,500 and £25,500. A manager in band seven can have a salary of between £28,000 and £37,500 (source: Suppose you decide to work at a locum rate or are paid hourly as a temporary worker. In that case, the pay you receive can depend entirely on your employer, the urgency of your work placement and various other factors. Our specialist locum team can give you more advice about locum remuneration and payments when you get in touch. Locum positions pay up to £42 per hour, depending on location and experience. If you are planning to move to the United Kingdom to work as a locum occupational therapy jobs UK from Ireland, Canada, Australia or anywhere else in the world, or you simply want to find more information about the potential to get into an occupational therapy job, get in touch with Globe Locums today. We can help healthcare workers in all fields and roles to find jobs in the United Kingdom that suit their experience and qualifications. For more information, get in touch and ask, ‘Are there any occupational therapy jobs near me?’. Whether you are looking for a long-term career move or a temporary placement, Globe Locums can support you in your quest to work in the healthcare industry in the UK. If you are looking for healthcare jobs in the UK, NHS jobs UK or want more information about moving to the UK from Australia, register today to find hundreds of jobs in your area of specialism.

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