To be classed as a refugee, for the purposes of being registered with the General Medical Council (GMC) with a licence to practice, you must be granted refugee status under one of the following categories.
- Refugee status (having been recognised as a refugee under the 1951 United Nations Convention).
- Indefinite leave to remain (with refugee status).
- Indefinite leave to enter (with refugee status).
- Exceptional leave to remain (granted prior to 1 April 2003).
- Humanitarian leave to remain (also known as humanitarian protection, granted on or after 1 April 2003).
- Discretionary leave to remain (with no restrictions on working, granted on or after 1 April 2003).
- Leave to remain under any family settlement visa (family member with refugee status).
As part of an application to the General Medical Council, you will need you to submit Home Office evidence confirming you have been granted refugee status under one of the categories above.
What evidence will the GMC ask you to provide?
The evidence that they ask for depends on your particular circumstances, such as work history, qualifications and nationality.
The GMC know that doctors holding refugee status may have difficulty providing original documents as these may have been lost or destroyed. In these cases, they try to directly verify documents where possible or look for alternative ways to confirm they are genuine. They will always ask your permission before attempting to verify any documentation.
The GMC are also aware that due to individual circumstances, doctors holding refugee status may not be able to provide the standard evidence required. In these cases, the GMC will look at every application to see if they can accept alternative evidence in its place.
For further information, see the GMC website for “Hep for Refugee Doctors”
What can other organisations do to help?: The GMC would recommend before you apply, you contact an organisation that can advise and support you through the registration process. These organisations can also provide careers advice as well as guidance and employability skills development training. The GMC currently work directly with several organisations, providing advice to their clients before a doctor applies for registration and a licence to practise or to sit the PLAB test. This means they can provide tailored advice for each doctor and their particular circumstances, which can significantly speed up the application process.
Organisations that may be helpful
They provide refugee, and asylum-seeking doctors and nurses who live in the North West with advice and guidance, CV feedback, preparation for the Occupational English Test, PLAB preparation, placements and support with adaptation to the NHS.
Call: 0161 2064201
Aims to create the best possible scheme in Lincolnshire for supporting refugee doctors back into medical practice in the UK. The programme aims to help doctors refresh their skills, knowledge and confidence, to requalify to UK standards, and to secure employment appropriate to their professional qualifications. The programme will also help the doctors settle with their families in Lincolnshire and will be offering humanitarian support to refugee doctors and their families.
Bridges Programmes - Provide similar services for doctors in Scotland
British Medical Association (BMA) - The BMA Refugee Doctor Initiative is a special package of free benefits, available to refugee and asylum seeking doctors as they seek to establish their careers in the UK.
RAGU (Refugee Assessment and Guidance Unit) - The Building Bridges programme is an NHS funded partnership for all Refugee Health Professionals living in London and is made up of three organisations: RAGU, Glowing Results and the Refugee Council. RAGU specifically provides careers advice alongside guidance and employability skills development training for all Refugee Health Professionals. Tel: 020 7133 2110
The Refugee Council - The Refugee Council provides free advice and information to asylum seekers and refugees in the UK. Infoline: tel 0808 196 7272
WARD (Wales Refugee and Asylum Seeker Doctors) Group - Provide similar services for doctors in Wales.
REPOD - Provide a structured programme of support to enable refugee and asylum seekers healthcare professionals and their families to be settled into local communities, enter clinical practice and maintain and develop their skills. The programme includes OET and IELTS classes delivered by qualified tutors and REPOD also provides reasonable financial assistance towards English and PLAB exams and other registration associated costs.
The programme is run as a partnership between IPC (Investing in People and Culture), North Tees & Hartlepool NHS Foundation Trust and Health Education North East (HENE). Funding has been provided through Health Education England North East.