What visa do you need to locum in the UK from Australia?

19 October 2023  •  Working Abroad
What visa do you need to locum in the UK from Australia?

Navigating the maze of international visa requirements can seem daunting, but with the right knowledge, it’s quite straightforward. For Australian healthcare professionals who are considering locuming in the UK, understanding the visa process is important if you want a smooth transition into the country. This article delves into the specifics of the visa requirements for Australian healthcare professionals aiming to work as locums in the UK.

Understanding Locum Work

Before diving into the visa particulars, it's important to first understand what locum work entails. A locum is a professional who provides temporary coverage when the usual staff is absent or when there is a staff shortage.

This type of work is particularly popular in the world of healthcare, granting locums new – typically short-term – opportunities to develop their careers. Locum positions can last anywhere from a few days to several months and provide invaluable experience in unique, exciting roles in healthcare.

What Visa Do You Need to Locum in the UK from Australia?

As an Australian healthcare professional, you can work internationally in places like the UK as a locum. In order to do this, you’ll need to secure a visa that allows you to stay and work in the UK. Strictly speaking, there are four types of visas Australians use to live and work in the UK. However, not all of these are universally suitable for all candidates. These visas include:

Youth Mobility Scheme Visa

The key route for locum healthcare professionals, specifically for young Australians aged 18 to 30 (or 18 to 35 if you’re from New Zealand), is the Youth Mobility Scheme visa. This visa allows for a 2-year stay in the UK and the freedom to undertake any form of employment, including locum work. The eligibility requirements for this visa include:

  • Age and Nationality: You must be aged 18 to 30 and be a national of Australia (or another participating country). From From 31 January 2024 the age requirements are extending and you can apply if you’re from Australia and aged 18 to 35.
  • Maintenance Funds: You need to have a specific amount of savings to prove you can support yourself.
  • No Dependents: You can't bring children with you or have any children who live with you and are financially dependent on you.
  • Previous Participation: You must not have previously spent time in the UK on a Youth Mobility Scheme.

Global Talent Visa

The Global Talent visa is issued to individuals who are classed as ‘leaders’ or ‘emerging leaders’ in areas like research and digital technology. In order to receive this visa, you must show exceptional talent or promise and have an endorsement from the Royal Society for Science and Medicine. Endorsement alone won’t grant you the tier 1 visa though, so it’s a challenging route for entry if you intend to locum. If you’re accepted, it can be a viable route - but it’s not a standard option for most.

Skilled Worker Visa

For Australians and non-EU/EEA citizens looking for a full-time job in the UK with sponsorship from an employer, the primary route is through the Skilled Worker visa (previously known as the Tier 2 visa). This visa allows skilled workers from outside the European Economic Area (EEA) to work in the UK for up to 5 years. There are a few eligibility requirements that you’ll need to fulfil if you want to secure this visa. These include:

  • Job Offer: Before applying, you must have a valid job offer from a UK employer. The employer should also provide you with a Certificate of Sponsorship (CoS).
  • Appropriate Salary: The job you're offered must pay an appropriate rate. For most roles in healthcare, this is typically in line with the NHS pay scales.
  • English Language Proficiency: You must prove your knowledge of the English language. This can be through a recognised English language test or an academic qualification taught in English.
  • Maintenance Funds: Proof that you can support yourself without public funds.

UK Ancestry Visa

Another option for entry into the UK as an Australian is the UK Ancestry visa. This type of visa is suitable for anyone who has familial ties to the UK, such as having a parent or grandparent from the UK. With this visa, you can stay and work in most jobs in the UK for up to 5 years. The eligibility requirements for this visa include:

  • UK Ancestry: You must show that you have a grandparent who was born in the UK, Channel Islands or the Isle of Man. If they were born in Ireland before 31 March 1922 then you may also be eligible.
  • Citizenship: You must also be a citizen of a commonwealth country, such as Australia.
  • Work: In order to use this visa, you’ll have to demonstrate that you intend to work in the UK.
  • Finances: Finally, you must also be in a position to support yourself and any other dependents financially during your time in the UK.

Medical Registration and the Right to Work as a Locum

Before you can practise medicine in the UK, obtaining the necessary medical registration is essential. This process ensures that all healthcare professionals, regardless of their origin, meet the stringent standards set by the UK's medical community. Here's a breakdown of what Australian healthcare professionals need to know:

  • General Medical Council (GMC) Registration: This is the main regulatory body for healthcare professionals in the UK. All foreign healthcare professionals, including Australians, must register with the GMC before they can practise.
  • Recognition of Australian Qualifications: Fortunately, many Australian medical qualifications are recognised in the UK. However, you should verify the acceptability of your specific credentials with the GMC.
  • Professional and Linguistic Assessments Board (PLAB) Test: If your qualifications are not automatically recognised, you may need to take the PLAB test to prove your medical knowledge and skills align with UK standards. Certain postgraduate qualifications or demonstrable practice in a GMC-approved setting might exempt you from taking the PLAB test.
  • Right to Work Check: Your employer in the UK will conduct a "Right to Work" check. This process verifies your identity, ensures you have the correct visa, and confirms your GMC registration status. Always keep your documents, like your passport, visa, and GMC registration certificate, easily accessible.

Find Your Next Locum Opportunity in the UK

The prospect of working as a locum in the UK offers Australian healthcare professionals a unique opportunity for professional growth, exposure to different medical systems, and a chance to experience life in a new country. With the right visa, proper registration with the GMC, and preparation for practical considerations, you can embark on a rewarding locum journey in the UK.

If you’re ready to start your next career opportunity as a locum in the UK, then browse our latest vacancies at Globe Locums today.

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