Medical Training Initiative (MTI) for Medicine Doctors
Here we take a closer look at the Medical Training Initiative (MTI) for international doctors practicing medicine and its sub-specialties.
Whilst the MTI describes a UK-wide placement scheme for junior overseas doctors, the processes involved vary between specialties.
This blog focuses on the MTI scheme as administered by the RCP, and the particular of this are summarised below along with a broad look the following:
Skip ahead to the relevant section if you know what you’re looking for.
The Medical Training Initiative
The Medical Training Initiative, or MTI, is a training programme that provides junior doctors from all over the world the opportunity to gain clinical training and development in the UK for a maximum of 24 months.
The MTI as a training scheme is mutually beneficial for both junior doctors and the NHS, in that doctors from several countries and specialisms around the world can work and train in the UK, gaining knowledge and experience which they can take back to their home country, while giving NHS Trusts a high-quality, longer-term alternative for unfilled training vacancies and rota gaps.
Royal College of Physicians (RCP)
The Royal College of Physicians is the professional body that regulates medicine specialties in the UK, and Membership of the Royal College of Physicians (MRCP) is the full qualification attainable by examination.
Take a look at IMG Resources library for complete guides on MRCP to learn more.
There are several ways you will be supported by the RCP as listed below:
- Induction – all MTI candidates are expected to attend an induction at the RCP. The induction is held on a quarterly basis
- Free ePortfolio access – this is an electronic portfolio to log all your assessments and training whilst in the UK
- Free RCP associate membership – this is for the first year and discounted rate for the second year and comes with a number of benefits
- Annual symposium – this is a clinical conference for all RCP MTIs held once a year
- Diploma in UK Medical Practice – participants are required to carefully document their training using the ePortfolio system, complete a range of continuing medical education sessions, and submit a written reflection piece at the end of their placement
- RCP certificate - at the end of training there is an RCP certificate available to all candidates
- Support for any issues that you might encounter relating to your training
The MTI has been designed specifically with junior doctors in mind, therefore sponsorship will not be offered to consultants, specialty doctors or for locum-appointed service posts (LAS).
The eligibility criteria differ among MTI programmes, but for the RCP, eligibility includes the following:
- Country Requirements - Priority is given to doctors from countries classified as low income or lower middle income by the World Bank and priority countries as described by the Department for International Development. Doctors from outside these countries may also apply, but there may be a long wait time and no guarantee of acceptance.
- Primary Medical Qualification: You must hold a recognised PMQ by the GMC and verified by Educational Commission for Foreign Medical Graduates (ECFMG)
- Have a Postgraduate Medical Qualification: This can be MRCP Part 1, MD or other higher degree in medicine or a medical subspecialty
- Skills & Competencies: You must possess the skills, competencies and understanding of medicine at least equivalent to a UK graduate at the end of their core medical training.
- Clinical Experience: You must have 3 years post-qualification experience, including 1 year's internship and at least 1 year in the specialty in which you intend to train while in the UK
- Active Medical Practice: Candidates must have been actively practicing clinically for at least three out of the last five years including the past 12 months before the application as well as throughout the application process (the GMC does not consider clinical observerships as clinical practice).
Please note, the RCP cannot sponsor doctors who have failed the Professional and Linguistic Assessments Board (PLAB) test.
Before you can make an application for the MTI scheme through the RCP, the following criteria must be satisfied:
- Verification of PMQ – your primary medical qualification must be independently verified by the ECFMG via their EPIC service.
- Complete an English Language test – the test must have been completed within two years of application for GMC registration.
- Find an NHS job before applying for the MTI – you are required to apply directly for an NHS post and should have already been formally offered the role before contacting the RCP. The hospitals should also be in support of your intention to seek sponsorship for the post.
- Obtain funding - you should already have funding for your post from either a scholarship, official funding, or a salary. The funding should be equivalent to a UK salary for the level of work being undertaken and must last for the duration of the post. The RCP will not sponsor applicants who are self-funded.
- Certificate of Good Standing - you must be able to provide a certificate of good standing (CGS) from the regulatory body in the countries where you have practised in the last 5 years. The CGS should be no older than 3 months when submitted.
All doctors practicing in the UK must be registered with the GMC. For MTI candidates, registration is typically supported by the Royal College, but some NHS Trusts also have the right to register MTI doctors.
English Language Testing – candidates will also need to provide evidence of English language skills. This can be done by passing either IELTS with overall score of 7.5 and 7.0 in all categories or OET with minimum grade B in all categories. Further information on these tests can be found below:
Once you fulfill all the eligibility criteria and additional requirements laid out by the RCP, you must complete the initial and professional postgraduate experience (PPE) forms and email these along with your CV to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Once your CV, initial form and PPE forms have been received, the RCP will contact the supervising consultant in the UK and confirm the details of your post. You will then be sent an application pack. You should complete the application form and send it to the RCP with all of the following documents:
- sponsor form (forms will be provided by the RCP) – must be completed by your consultant or head of department in your home country
- two reference forms (forms will be provided by the RCP)
- copy of your passport
- copy of your IELTS/OET certificate or details of exemption
- copies of your medical qualifications
- translations of your medical qualifications if they are not in English
- letter from the dean of the medical school from which you graduated
- copy of certificate of good standing
- letter from the UK hospital confirming your appointment
- evidence of funding for the post
- your statement agreeing to the level of funding which you have received from any of the sources listed
- initial fee of £125
We’ve detailed the general processes involved in MTI applications through the RCP below, from a candidate securing an NHS post, to their eligibility to work in the UK after gaining GMC registration and securing a visa.
Tier 5 Visa for MTI
The MTI scheme falls under the Tier 5 government authorised exchange visa. This visa must only be used for travel to the UK at the beginning of the placement and will activate after your arrival, lasting for exactly 24 months from your arrival date.
For a Tier 5 MTI visa, the RCP needs to provide evidence regarding your post to the Academy of Medical Royal Colleges (AoMRC - the official visa sponsor) once the GMC has approved your application in order to get your Tier 5 Certificate of Sponsorship (CoS) issued.
Once your Tier 5 CoS has been issued it is your responsibility to apply for the Tier 5 visa via https://www.gov.uk/browse/visas-immigration/work-visas.
Applications for Tier 5 visas must be made in your home country (or the country you work in), but never from within the UK.
You can also apply to the AoMRC for Tier 5 dependent visas for your spouse and children, although this is not guaranteed, and you should read the UKVI requirements on this well in advance.
Please note that Tier 5 visas cannot be extended.
What are my options after I complete the MTI?
Ordinarily, on completion of the MTI scheme, doctors return to their home country with the training and experience they gained from working in the NHS.
Some doctors may want to remain in the UK after completing the MTI for a number of reasons. This can be done if the doctor finds another NHS post, in which case, they may be able to switch from the Tier 5 visa to the Tier 2 Health and Care Worker visa.
If you want to find another NHS post after completing the MTI, you would follow the same process as any other doctor. You will need to consider what job it is you would like to obtain and what location in the UK you would prefer to relocate to.
For guidance on NHS jobs in your specialty, please see our live jobs or get in touch with us to learn more about your options in the NHS.
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