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Support for newly qualified non-EEA GP trainees

The purpose of this briefing is to outline the support that NHS England is now providing to enable and encourage non-EEA nationals on the Health Education England (HEE) GP Training Programme to remain in England to practise after they qualify.

The paper also sets out the roles of both local NHS England and HEE offices in delivering this support.


Health Education England acts as the proxy visa sponsor for non-EEA International Medical Graduates (IMGs) on the GP Training Programme that require visas to live and train in the UK.

After completing their training, these GPs either need to return overseas, find employment with an employer that holds a tier 2 visa sponsorship licence or if they have already been in the UK for 5 years or more apply to normalise their status as a UK resident.

Over the past two years, a small number of trainees intending to stay in the UK after qualifying have found it difficult to find employment at practices that hold a valid sponsorship licence primarily due to the low volume of practices that hold such licences, and the increasing the number of newly qualified GPs entering the workforce.

Further, the inclusion of doctors within the UK Government’s visa cap was preventing sufficient numbers of practices from obtaining licences.

During the summer of 2018 the Government removed doctors (including GPs) from the visa cap meaning that there are no longer any restrictions on the number of practices that can hold licences.

Following this, NHS England launched a package of support for both newly qualified non-EEA GPs to encourage and support them to remain in England after qualifying, and for GP practices wishing to obtain a sponsorship licence.

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