Psychology – A Psychologist’s Route to the UK (European & Non-European)

  • May 02, 2022
 

All Psychologists looking to secure a job and work in the UK, whether you are from inside or outside of Europe, will need to satisfy certain criteria to fully register with the HCPC before beginning their journey in the NHS.

The type of HCPC application you make depends on your country of origin and training. There are two application routes: 

  • European Mutual Recognition (EMR) 
  • International application 

As a Psychologist, the criteria you need to meet depends on where you currently live and practice, either inside the EEA (& associated countries) or outside the EEA. 

This article is designed to give you a snapshot of the steps you need to take to start your journey to the UK, no matter where in the world you live. 

Inside the EEA – click here

Outside the EEA – click here


Psychologists from countries around the world play a vital and significant role in our NHS and in the delivery of safe patient care. This is not only welcome but plays a huge part of the exchange of knowledge in healthcare and is strongly encouraged. They make an invaluable contribution to the mental health services in the NHS.


Inside the EEA 

Firstly, it is important to note that where we refer to EEA in this article this refers to all countries inside the EU, including Lichtenstein, Iceland & Norway. 

If you qualified as a Psychologist inside the EEA or Switzerland, then the good news is that you can apply for mutual recognition – your qualifications and experience are deemed equivalent in the UK and EU. In addition, you will not need to apply for a visa from the UK Home Office. 

So, the main hurdle that you will face is demonstrating that your English skills are of a high enough standard to practice safely as a psychologist in the UK & NHS. 

English Language Testing

Any international psychologist, regardless of specialty, experience or country of origin, must demonstrate they have sufficient competence of the English language.

You can do this by passing either of the following:

  • IELTS – International English Language Testing System
  • TOEFL – Test of English as a Foreign Language

Take a look at our helpful articles below for detailed information on both tests: 

IMG Library - IELTS – a guide for overseas psychologists

HCPC Registration

Having passed your English Language Test, you can now apply for registration in the UK and use the protected ‘practitioner psychologist’ titles such as clinical psychologist or counselling psychologist, thus qualifying them to practice in the UK.

If you have trained and are a citizen of an EU member state, then you are eligible for European Mutual Recognition (EMR)

If you are eligible for EMR then you must apply via this route. EMR ensures that EEA qualifications and experience are recognised across Europe as equivalent.

Understand the registration process in full & by reading our article below:

IMG Library - HCPC route to the UK – an overview for psychologists 

Job search

We recommend starting the job search as early as possible. Demand for European Psychologists in the NHS is ever increasing - the NHS welcomes you with open arms! 

At IMG Connect we specialise in securing jobs for European psychologists in the UK and can offer you a wider range of Psychology jobs than are readily available online. Our network extends to Psychology services and HR departments across the UK, so no matter what your grade or specialty we can ensure you will be interviewing for roles well in advance of any relocation plans. 

In addition, your dedicated consultant, with a speciality knowledge of Psychology, will negotiate on your behalf ensuring you get the most competitive salary. 

Our aim is to have a job offer on the table before your HCPC registration is complete, giving you the peace of mind of having an agreed contract in place - leaving you to carefully plan your relocation to the UK.

Take a look at our most recent jobs:

Job Search

Relocation

Obviously, any psychologist’s journey isn’t all exams, registrations and language tests… there’s also the small matter of relocation and settling into life in the UK.

Once you have secured your role in the UK, we focus on supporting you and your family with all your relocation plans. This can include, but is not exclusive to, securing accommodation, travel planning, setting up bank accounts & national insurance numbers – every step of the way we are here to help.

Have a read through our IMG Library and take in all the beautifully organised information on relocation and UK life to immeasurably help your first days, weeks and months in the UK.

IMG Library – Relocation & UK Life

Brexit 

Many Psychologists have questioned how the UK’s withdrawal from the European Union (EU) will affect psychologists from Europe already working in the UK, and those who may wish to work here in the future.

Whilst we are still pushing for a halt to Brexit, we've been keeping a close eye on policies and developments to ensure that we keep our psychologists as up to date as possible. While we await more information from the UK Government about what our future relationship with Europe will look like, what is clear is that European psychologists are most welcome in the NHS with or without Brexit. 

At IMG Connect we do not see Brexit as an end to EEA psychologists relocating to the UK, far from it… you are in demand and we will support with all the necessary requirements for entry to the UK, whatever the outcome. 

Take a look at our Brexit articles for more information:

IMG Library - Brexit


Outside of the EEA

If you have trained outside of the EU, then you are eligible for an international application. In addition, you must demonstrate your English Language capabilities meet the level required to practice safely in the UK and you will need to apply for a visa from the UK Home Office. 

Here we summarise the requirements for psychologists, looking at the following:

  • English Language Testing
  • Tier 2 Visas 
  • HCPC Registration

English Language Testing

Any international psychologist, regardless of specialty, experience or country of origin, must demonstrate they have sufficient competence of the English language.

You can do this by passing either of the following:

  • IELTS – International English Language Testing System
  • TOEFL – Test of English as a Foreign Language

Take a look at our helpful articles below for detailed information on both tests: 

IMG Library - IELTS – a guide for overseas psychologists

HCPC Registration: Evidence of Knowledge & Skills in Psychology 

Overseas Psychologists must prove to the HCPC they have sufficient knowledge & skills to practice safely in the UK. For overseas Psychologists this can be done through the International Application. If you are eligible for International application, then you must apply via this route. 

The HCPC ensures that your overseas qualifications and experience are recognised. 

Understand the registration process in full & by reading our article below:

IMG Library - HCPC route to the UK – an overview for psychologists 

Tier 2 Visa

If you are a psychologist applying from outside the EEA region you will almost certainly need to apply for a visa to work in the UK. 

Applying as a psychologist has never been easier and there is currently no-restriction on the Certificate of Sponsorship (CoS) applications that a hospital can make. Furthermore, the list of specialties on the shortage occupation list is due for imminent review and expansion beyond its current list of specialties, potentially widening the scope for easier immigration processes across all specialties in healthcare.

Understand Tier 2 visas and Certificates of Sponsorship in depth by taking a look at our article:

IMG Library - Tier 2 Visa application process & documents needed

Wondering whether you can relocate with your family? Take a look at our blog on the Tier 2 dependant visa below:

Tier 2 Dependant visa - can i bring my family with me to the UK?

Job search

We recommend starting the job search as early as possible. Demand for Non-EEA Psychologists in the NHS is increasing - the NHS welcomes you with open arms! 

At IMG Connect we specialise in securing jobs for overseas psychologists in the UK and can offer you a wider range of jobs than is readily available online. Our network extends to Psychology services and HR departments across the UK, so no matter what your grade or specialty we can ensure you will be interviewing for roles well in advance of any relocation plans. 

In addition, your 1-1 consultant, with a speciality knowledge of Psychology, will negotiate on your behalf, ensuring you get the most competitive salary. Giving you the peace of mind of agreeing your new contract, perhaps even before your GMC registration is complete. 

Take a look at our most recent jobs:

Job Search

Relocation

Obviously, any psychologist’s journey isn’t all exams, registrations and language tests… there’s also the small matter of relocation and settling into life in the UK.

Once you have secured your role in the UK, we will focus on supporting you and your family with all of your relocation plans. This can include, but is not exclusive to, securing accommodation, travel planning, setting up bank accounts & national insurance numbers – every step of the way we are here to help. 

Have a read through our IMG Library and take in all the beautifully organised information on relocation and UK life to immeasurably help your first days, weeks and months in the UK.

IMG Library – Relocation & UK Life

Brexit 

Many Psychologists have questions about how the UK’s withdrawal from the European Union (EU) will affect psychologists from outside of the EEA already working in the UK, and those who may wish to work here in the future.

Whilst we are still pushing for a halt to Brexit, we've been keeping a close eye on policies and developments to ensure that we keep our psychologists as up to date as possible. While we await more information from the UK Government about what our future relationship with Europe will look like, what is clear is that there are no current changes to immigration entry requirements for non-EEA psychologists

Overseas psychologists are most welcome in the NHS with or without Brexit… you are in demand and we will support with all the necessary requirements for entry to the UK. 

Take a look at our Brexit articles for more information:

IMG Library - Brexit


If relocation to the UK as an overseas doctor is something you’d like to discuss with one of our IMG Consultants – then please dont hesitate to connect with us. We'd love to hear from you!


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