Career Advice

The MTI Scheme and GMC Sponsorship

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We frequently receive questions regarding the MTI scheme and how doctors can get GMC sponsorship, so we thought we’d write an article explaining what the MTI scheme is, who is eligible to apply and how GMC sponsorship works.


What is the MTI scheme?

The Medical Training Initiative scheme, also known at the MTI scheme, is designed to allow a small number of doctors to enter the UK from overseas so that they can benefit from training and development in the NHS before returning to their home countries.

Doctors involved in the scheme are offered the opportunity to learn from experienced consultants within the UK national health system for a maximum of 24 months, and will receive core and/or specialty medical training to the same standards of UK national trainees. They’ll also have the opportunity to attend a variety of workshops and seminars, gain fellowship to their relevant medical college and in some instances, sit their Medical Royal College Part 2 examination.

Who is eligible to apply for the MTI scheme?

So, now you know what the MTI scheme is, you may want to know whether you’re eligible to apply.

Here are the minimum criteria for acceptance onto the MTI scheme, as per the academy of Medical Royal Colleges:

  • Appropriate postgraduate qualification.
  • Part 1 College Exam or equivalent (to UK version, check with your relevant Royal College).
  • Three years minimum postgraduate experience (Four for Royal College Obstetrics and Gynaecology).
  • Including 1-year internship, 1+ in specialty.
  • International English Language Test System (IELTS) or Occupational English Test (OET).
  • A score of at least 7.0 in each of the testing areas of the academic test (speaking, listening, reading and writing) as well as a score of no less than 7.5 overall in IELTS or a grade of B or above in each testing area in OET.
  • Have references from Supervising Consultants/Fellows of Royal College.
  • Live overseas at time of application.
  • Willing to go back to home country following training in the UK.

Prioritisation and allocation for MTI applications

The primary purpose of the MTI scheme is to contribute to improving the quality of healthcare in developing countries. Although doctors from developed countries can apply, the main intention of the scheme is to provide doctors from developing countries with a period of training and development in the NHS before returning to their home countries. As such, priority will be given to applicants from developing healthcare systems.

The following priority will be given when allocating MTI placements:

  1.  DfID priority countries
  2. L&LMI Countries who do not come under the DfID priority countries
    Low Income Countries
    Lower Middle Income Countries
  3. All other applications

Within each category, applications will be processed by the Academy in order of receipt.

To read more on the prioritisation and allocation mechanism for MTI applications, click here.

Getting GMC sponsorship

Firstly, if you’re wanting to apply for a training post via the MTI scheme need know about the UK Medical Royal Colleges and which Royal Colleges participate.

Medical Royal Colleges

Each Medical Royal College in the UK is responsible for a different speciality within the medical field. Their work includes:

  • Improving standards in clinical practice
  • Supporting consultant and trainee doctors through education and training
  • Supporting international development in the medical field.

You can find a list of the Royal Colleges who participate in the MTI scheme here.  

Making an application

Before making your application, you need to identify and apply for a training post. You can find a suitable training post on NHS jobs or alternatively, most royal colleges will have a list of approved posts on their website.

Once you have found a suitable post and have been offered the position, you can apply for the MTI scheme via the relevant Royal College.

If your MTI application is successful, you’ll be issued an offer letter and recommendation for visa sponsorship (tier 5). With this, you’ll be able to apply for GMC registration (bypassing the PLAB examinations).

Only once you are registered with the GMC, or you hold provisional registration (waiting on an ID check), can an application for a Certificate of Sponsorship for a Tier 5 Government Exchange MTI Scheme Visa be made via the Academy of Medical Royal Colleges.

The Academy issues a CoS which you’ll use to apply for your Tier 5 visa in your home country.

Once your Tier 5 visa has been granted, you’ll then be able to enter the UK and take up your MTI post.

Frequently asked questions

What is GMC registration?

The General Medical Council (GMC) registers doctors to practise medicine in the UK. Their purpose is to protect, promote and maintain the health and safety of the public by ensuring proper standards in the practice of medicine.
All doctors practicing and training in the UK must be registered with the UK General Medical Council (GMC) and this must be gained before an MTI application is submitted.

How long are MTI participants able to stay in the UK?

As mentioned earlier in the article, MTI participants are able to stay in the UK for up to 24 months.
This period of 24 months cannot be broken up into different periods with gaps in-between.

Can you leave the UK during your MTI placement?

Yes, MTI participant can leave the UK on an intermittent basis, for example for holiday or domestic reasons. Please however note that prolonged absences will be scrutinised by border officials and may result in the withdrawing of their Tier 5 Visa.

Can I bring my family to the UK whilst on an MTI post?

In short, yes. Please read the family members section of the UK tier 5 visa page on the UK government website by clicking here.

Will I be paid a salary whilst in an MTI post?

Employers will need to meet UK employment standards including rights to equal treatment, for example pay levels.
MTI contracts are a local matter however, the salary that you receive should be in line with trainees who are working at a similar level in the UK. Some hospitals take prior international experience into account and some do not. This is at the discretion of the hospital.

Are you an international doctor looking to work in the UK, but not sure how to begin your journey? Contact our team today to discuss your situation, plans and the opportunities available to you in further detail!

If you have any additional questions, please do not hesitate to reach out to mti@aomrc.org.uk or info@doctorsrelocate.com

Credit: Academy of Royal Colleges (https://www.aomrc.org.uk/)