UK Visa Guide for Locum Healthcare Professionals

22 October 2019  •  Visa
UK Visa Guide for Locum Healthcare Professionals

For a healthcare professional, one of the best countries to locum in is the United Kingdom. With an excess of jobs in the NHS, a world renowned culture and many thriving cities to choose from, it may be the ideal place for you as a locum healthcare professional.

Locuming in the UK requires a visa for those living outside the European Economic Area (EEA) and Switzerland. Luckily for you, there is a skill shortage of health professionals and medical practitioners.
Here are some of the main UK-based visas and how to apply for them as a locum healthcare professional.

Tier 5 UK Visa (Youth Mobility Scheme)

The Youth Mobility Scheme Tier 5 Visa is the most common option used by many of our locums. This via allows you to stay and work in the UK for 24 months provided you meet the criteria, such as that you are between aged 18 and 30, from a limited number of countries (see below), and have a little money in savings. It’s also important to note that if you turn 31 while you’re in the UK, you can stay for as long as your visa is valid. This visa allows you to work in most jobs, so if you’re planning on locum healthcare and meet the criteria, this could be the visa for you.

You can apply for a Tier 5 (Youth Mobility Scheme) visa if you’re aged 18 to 30 and you’re from:


  • Australia
  • Canada
  • Japan
  • Monaco
  • New Zealand
  • Hong Kong
  • Republic of Korea
  • Taiwan

Tier 5 UK Visa

A Tier 5 UK Visa or temporary worker – government authorised exchange visa is a sponsorship-based visa. Where locum healthcare professionals can enter the UK for up to either 12 or 24 months assuming they receive an appropriate sponsorship. Most Tier 5 workers need a job offer from a licensed Tier 5 sponsor in the UK - people from one of the small number of Countries whose nationals can come through the Youth Mobility Scheme.

Sponsors can be any of the following; an organisation running an approved exchange scheme, a higher education institution or a government department or agency. Similar to the Tier 2 UK visa, processing time will take around 3 weeks. The application fee is £244 and allows you to bring family members with you for an additional fee.

Tier 1 UK Visa

The Tier 1 UK Visa – or exceptional talent visa, allows those who are recognised as either a leader (exceptional talent) or an emerging leader (exceptional promise) to enter the UK for work. Your application will be reviewed by The Royal Society for science and medicine and requires their endorsement. However, this does not guarantee you a visa.
We don’t believe that a tier 1 UK visa is a suitable option for the majority of locum healthcare professionals. Though, it does offer an opportunity for those who qualify.

Tier 2 UK Visa

A Tier 2 UK Visa is the general route for skilled workers to enter the UK for permanent employment. It allows NHS organisations to sponsor healthcare professionals from outside the EEA and Switzerland for their visa.

In order to apply for this UK visa, you must obtain a certificate of sponsorship from a UK based employer. This will allow you to remain in the UK for a maximum of 5 years as long as you are filling an occupation with shortage. You can work locum hours in addition to your full time employment.

The application for a tier 2 UK visa will take on average 3 weeks. The cost ranges from £610 for a single person applying for up to three years. To £1,220 for more than 3 years.
UK Ancestry Visa

Finally, The UK Ancestry Visa is suitable for people who have connections to the UK as outlined in the visa criteria, such as having a UK based grandparent. It allows you to stay in the UK for up to 5 years, work in most jobs and even study if you like.
Interested? See how we can help you

At Globe Locum we specialise in placing locum healthcare professionals in excellent jobs. To find a range of roles in the UK use our find a job tool. We also run a refer a friend scheme where our candidates can earn £250 for one successful referral. Earn more with each subsequent referral.

Have any questions? Contact us at [email protected] or give us a call on +44 (0)20 7229 2620.

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