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Overseas Workers
NHS Lothian’s workforce is diverse and multicultural – just like our patients. We often look beyond the UK and Europe to attract the best candidates.
We treat all job applicants in the same way. To make sure we do not discriminate in the recruitment practice we request evidence of all applicants’ eligibility to work in the UK, check the evidence provided and keep records of documentation provided for successful candidates to provide evidence to the immigration service if requested.
If you are applying from overseas:
Check the person specification - This sets out the requirements you will need to have to be considered for the role. Make sure you have the relevant experience and qualifications before applying for a job. International recruitment of healthcare professionals - NHS Lothian follows the code of practice for the international recruitment of healthcare professionals. This promotes the best possible standards in international recruitment, and discourages any inappropriate practices that could harm other countries' healthcare systems or the interests of those who apply for posts.
Professional registration  - If you are applying for a post that requires professional registration, you will need to register with the appropriate regulatory body.
Right to work in the UK – A points-based system is the UK's immigration system for managing applications by individuals from outside the European Economic Area (EEA) and Switzerland wishing to work, train or study in the UK. This system simplifies routes to employment and education in the UK to five tiers. If you come from outside the EEA, you need to gain points to qualify for a specific tier before you can apply to work in the UK. The number of points required varies for each tier but reflect the applicants' qualifications, experience, age, previous earnings and language competence. Further information on routes into the UK can be found on the UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI) website.

There are a number of shortage occupations recognised by the United Kingdom Government. To find out if the post that you might be considering falls under this category, please use the GOV.UK link to search for it.

European Economic Area (EEA) nationals

The majority of nationals from EEA countries and Switzerland can enter the UK without any restrictions.
As with all applicants we will ask EEA individuals to prove their eligibility to work in UK.

European Union (EU) countries: Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Republic of Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden and the UK.
EEA countries: The EEA includes EU countries and also Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway. It allows them to be part of the EU’s single market.
Switzerland is neither an EU nor EEA member but is part of the single market - this means Swiss nationals have the same rights to live and work in the UK as other EEA nationals.

Countries with worker restrictions

Croatia: Croatian nationals might need to apply for a registration certificate to be allowed to work in the UK.
The type of registration certificate they might need will depend on:

  • whether they need permission to work in the UK
  • what they’ll be doing
They must be working, self-employed, studying, or able to support themselves to stay in the UK longer than three months. Further information can be found on the UKVI website.
Turkey: Turkish nationals need a visa to work, do business or academic research in the UK. There are several visa types; skilled workers, temporary workers or ‘high value’ workers. Further information is available on the UKVI website.
Bulgaria and Romania: From 1 January 2014 labour market restrictions on individuals from Bulgaria and Romania ended and they are longer subject to Immigration and Worker Authorisation Regulations 2013. Nationals from Bulgaria and Romania are now able to freely take up employment in the UK.

Immigration application process

The UK immigration points-based system is the process used to manage applications by individuals from outside the European Economic Area (EEA) and Switzerland wishing to work, train or study in the UK.
Within the points-based system, there are different education and employment routes available to foreign nationals:
Tier 1 (General):  this route is now closed to new applicants and extension applicants as of April 2015
Tier 1 (Post-study work): the UKVI closed this route to all new applicants in April 2012. This route previously granted individuals, who had graduated from a UK university under Tier 4, two years of leave to remain with the ability to work without a sponsor.  From April 2012, individuals who have graduated after studying in the UK under Tier 4 will continue to be entitled to apply for leave to remain but will need to apply directly into Tier 2 (General).
Tier 2 (General): skilled workers: This route allows NHS Lothian to sponsor individuals from outside the European Economic Area (EEA) and Switzerland to fill vacancies that cannot be filled by a British or EEA worker.
Before an individual can apply for entry into the UK under this Tier, they must have both a sponsor and a valid Certificate of Sponsorship (CoS). The CoS is not an actual certificate or paper document but a unique reference number which will be issued by the sponsor and will form part of the documentary evidence required when making an application.
A CoS can be issued for a maximum of five years. This can be extended up to a maximum of five years as long as the total stay is not more than six years, after which the individual may qualify for settlement. If they change employment whilst in the UK, they will need a new CoS from their employer.
Please note: the Government controls the number of migrants coming into the UK to work and places restrictions on the number of certificates of sponsorship that are available to issue.
Tier 4: is for students who wish to come to the UK from outside the EEA to study. Individuals will need to be sponsored by the educational establishment to undertake their studies.
Foundation Programme training for doctors and dentists
There are the following exceptions to university or college sponsorship for Tier 4:

  • Two year Foundation Programme for doctors - sponsorship granted by Health Education South London (effective from July 2015 when responsibility for medical school graduate sponsorship changed from the UK Foundation Programme Office)
  • One year Foundation Programme for dentists – sponsorship granted by Health Education South London.
In order for a student to be issued with a Tier 4 visa to undertake a recognised Foundation Programme in either medicine or dentistry, they must have graduated from an accredited UK university with a UK degree in either medicine or dentistry. They will be issued with an extension to their Tier 4 visa by the new sponsor, as outlined above, to cover the duration of the Foundation Programme training up to a maximum of three years.
The Home Office confirmed changes which came into force on 13 December 2012 to allow students to start working as a doctor or dentist as soon as they have submitted an application in which they are sponsored to do a recognised NHS Foundation Programme, while they are waiting for that application to be decided. These new arrangements will avoid potential delays for medical degree students in beginning the next stage of their training.
Upon completion of the Foundation Programme training, trainees will be able to transfer into Tier 2 to either continue their core or specialty training or pursue another career route.
Tier 5: the temporary worker category of Tier 5 allows NHS Lothian to employ individuals from outside the EEA for up to 24 months as part of a government-authorised exchange programme. The youth mobility category of Tier 5 replaces the working holidaymaker visa. Any countries who are part of the Youth Mobility Scheme (YMS), can act as sponsors to issue their nationals who qualify with a Certificate of Sponsorship.

Further information


NHS Lothian Careers
NHS Lothian Recruitment (General)
Block 3, Stairwell 6
Residency Buildings
St John's Hospital
Livingston EH54 6PP
NHS Lothian Recruitment (Medical and Dental)
Pentland House
47 Robb's Loan
EH14 1TY

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