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Scotland Deanery

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International Medical Graduates (IMGs)

Preparing for life in Scotland

This page contains key information for non-UK trained doctors to help them prepare for life and work in NHS Scotland. You may find the  New to Working in Scotland? section helpful. 

Information can be found here for the GMC Welcome to UK Practice workshops. 

Also visit NHS Careers. For recruitment, please use this link.

If you have any questions which are not answered on these pages, you can contact your relevant NES administrative team, or ask on the Scottish IMG Doctors Support Network. (closed Facebook group) 

If you are a current or former IMG trainee and would like to suggest content which you feel would be useful on these pages, please contact sfas@nes.scot.nhs.uk


You can find details on the UK Visa and Immigration requirements here.

Whether you intend to come to the UK for a short or lengthy period. There are a number of things to consider:

  • start early
  • securing job
  • obtain professional registration
  • completing immigration steps – this will take time

Doctors wishing to work in the UK must be registered with a licence to practice.

The Good Medical Practice 2024 sets the professional standards for all UK doctors.

The GMC website also provides information and guides on how to join the register.

NHS Scotland have moved to four lead employers model. More information can be found on the Turas Hub.

You will find information about policies, payroll and annual leave etc.

Also see the following links to: 

You are normally covered by the NHS Hospital and Community Health Services indemnity against claims of medical negligence arising from the course of this employment. 

In certain circumstances (especially in services for which you receive a separate fee) you may not be covered by the indemnity. The Health Department therefore advises that you maintain membership of a medical defence organisation.

A Copy of NHS Circular 1989 (PCS) 32 on indemnity arrangements issued in December 1989 is available at http://www.sehd.scot.nhs.uk/pcs/PCS(1989)32.pdf

Trainees are covered by NHS indemnity for clinical negligence claims arising from their work. We would encourage all trainees to maintain membership of a medical defence organisation in line with the circular above.

If you have any queries, please contact your employing Board. For information about lead employer arrangements please see the Turas Hub.

In Scotland, as part of your employment of working in the health service, you will be asked to complete a Protecting Vulnerable Groups (PVG) form. PVG is managed by NES central HR department and is delivered by Disclosure Scotland. It helps ensure that people whose behaviours make them unsuitable to work with children and/or protected adults can’t do ‘regulated work’ with these vulnerable groups.

More information about the PVG scheme can be found here.

If you have spent time working outside of the UK prior to starting this post, you must provide a copy of your criminal record check for your time spent abroad. If you have worked in multiple countries outside of the UK, you must provide a copy of your criminal record check from each country you have worked in. Details of how to obtain such a check from the relevant authorities abroad is available online at: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/criminal-records-checks-for-overseas-applicants. If the country concerned is not listed, please contact the relevant embassy or consulate for further details.

Contact details can be found online at: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/foreign-embassies-in-the-uk. You should submit a copy of your criminal record check or checks, if you have worked in more than one country outside of the UK, with your completed PVG application form and ID documents. 

You can only apply for a National Insurance (NI) number once you are in the UK. Details about how to apply for a NI number can be found here.

There are a number of IT systems you will be asked to use during the course of your employment, both in relation to your clinical work and as part of your postgraduate training.

This page was last updated on: 15.05.2024 at 14.33