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Help for refugee doctors

Refugee status

To be classed as a refugee, for the purposes of being registered with a licence to practise, 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).

As part of an application with us, we will need you to submit a Home Office letter confirming you have been granted refugee status under one of the categories above.

Do I have exempt person status?

Most doctors holding refugee status are international medical graduates who are not classed as an ‘exempt person’ or benefiting from EC rights. If you think you may benefit from EC rights or be an ‘exempt person’, you will need to make an ‘exempt person’ enquiry before applying for registration. Read about exempt person rights

What evidence will you ask me to provide?

The evidence that we ask for depends on your particular circumstances, such as work history, qualifications and nationality. 

We know that doctors holding refugee status may have difficulty providing original documents as these may have been lost or destroyed. In these cases, we try to directly verify documents where possible or look for alternative ways to confirm they are genuine.

We are also aware that due to individual circumstances, doctors holding refugee status may not be able to provide the standard evidence we require. In these cases, we will look at every application to see if we can accept alternative evidence in its place.

Read more about the evidence you may be asked to provide

Help with registration fees for refugee doctors

If you have refugee status, or have applied for asylum, you may be able to get help with your registration fees. 

Find out what help we can offer with registration fees

What can other organisations do to help?

We 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. We 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 we can provide tailored advice for each doctor and their particular circumstances, which can significantly speed up the application process. 

See below organisations that may be helpful:

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.

REACHE Northwest - They provide help for refugee health professionals who live in the North West with advice and guidance, CVs, English classes and placements, PLAB preparation and adaptation to the NHS. 

WARD (Wales Refugee and Asylum Seeker Doctors) Group - Provide similar services as REACHE and RAGU for doctors in Wales.

Bridges Programmes - Provide similar services as REACHE and RAGU 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.

The Refugee Council - The Refugee Council provides free advice and information to asylum seekers and refugees in the UK.

ROSE - ROSE is an online information portal for refugee and asylum-seeking healthcare professionals, the agencies supporting them and employers. It provides information on the requirements for UK registration for refugee and asylum-seeking health professionals (RHPs) and advice and resources to help RHPs become safe practitioners in the UK.