Information for refugee pathologists in the UK

The Royal College of Pathologists is able to offer some assistance to refugee pathologists already in the UK. The opportunity for interaction with other pathologists and access to the College’s educational resources may assist refugee doctors and their potential pathology careers in the UK.

Please note that during the period of assistance such pathologists are not entitled to use the College post nominals e.g.: FRCPath. These are only available to people who have passed the relevant College examinations.

Key benefits

  • President's newsletter
  • Bulletin (online)
  • Access to members' area of the website (MyRCPath)
  • Discount for College events and conferences
  • Free FRCPath Part 1 attempt (subject to meeting entry criteria)
  • Access to an RCPath mentor
  • Ticket to attend International Pathology Day
  • Ticket to Undergraduate and Foundation Day

The Bulletin is the College's quarterly professional membership magazine. We cater for the interests of our diverse readership, provoking discussion and comment on topics that range across the 17 specialties of pathology.

Eligibility
Refugee membership of the Royal College of Pathologists is open to all refugee pathologists in the UK for one year. Membership starts on the date your application for the Refugee Scheme is approved by the College.

How to apply
Refugee membership is free for those who are eligible. If you would like to apply for Refugee membership please complete the form below and return this by email to international@rcpath.org

Refugee Scheme Application form

The GMC

The GMC are aware that doctors holding refugee status may have difficulty providing original documents or evidence to meet the various requirements (e.g. English tests/employment records) in the standard way. Therefore, the GMC assess all applications from refugee doctors on a case by case basis to establish if they can accept alternative evidence.

Who can get help?

  • Recognised as a refugee under the 1951 United Nations Convention and granted limited leave (five years)
  • Granted indefinite leave to remain (with refugee status)
  • Granted indefinite leave to enter (with refugee status)
  • Granted exceptional leave to remain (granted prior to 1 April 2003)
  • Granted humanitarian leave to remain (also known as humanitarian protection, granted on or after 1 April 2003)
  • Granted discretionary leave to remain (with no restrictions on working, granted on or after 1 April 2003).

Granted leave to remain under family settlement visa (family member with refugee status) Support and financial help available to refugee doctors:

  • Primary medical qualification verification with Educational Commission for Foreign Medical Graduates (ECFMG) completed free of charge
  • Two attempts at Part 1 (free) and two attempts at Part 2 (half price) of the Professional and Linguistic Assessment Board (PLAB) test
  • Pay their annual retention fee in instalments
  • May be eligible for the GMC annual retention fee income discount. GMC registration

Currently, there are two routes to GMC registration offered to all refugee doctors in the UK.

1. The GMC Professional and Linguistic Assessments Board test (PLAB)

2. Postgraduate Qualification Route (PGQ). For refugee pathologists this would be Fellowship of the Royal College of Pathologists (by examination only).

The British Medical Association (BMA)

The BMA runs the refugee doctors initiative. The initiative is free and provides a range of benefits to help asylum seeker and refugee doctors to get their GMC registration. To date the BMA have approximately 800 doctors enrolled on the initiative. As soon as they secure GMC registration they are free to transition to full BMA membership. However, not all asylum seeker or refugee doctors are enrolled on the initiative.

What is included in this membership?

  • A free weekly subscription to the BMJ
  • A confidential, 24-hour phone counselling service for doctors and their families for all, personal, emotional, work or study related problems
  • Use of the BMA library
  • Local BMA support and attendance of local BMA meetings
  • Support from the BMA international department
The College recommend that you connect with the BMA and register to join their Refugee Initiative as a first step.

Resources available to refugee doctors

  • Help for refugee doctors

    The GMC are aware that doctors holding refugee status (may have difficulty providing original documents or evidence to meet the various requirements (e.g. English tests/employment records) in the standard way. Therefore, the GMC assess all applications from refugee doctors on a case by case basis to establish if they can accept alternative evidence.

    General Medical Council September 2021

  • BMA: Help for refugee doctors

    The steps you can take to get a job as a doctor in the UK, more about our refugee doctor initiative and help with GMC registration.

    the BMA June 2021

  • The Electronic Portfolio of International Credentials (EPIC)

    Through EPIC, ECFMG provides access to a high-quality service that verifies the authenticity of credentials related to a physician’s medical education, training, and registration/licensure. This primary-source verification is a best practice and the best protection against fraudulent credentials.

    The Electronic Portfolio of International Credentials (EPICSM) August 2021

  • The Building Bridges programme

    The Building Bridges programme is an NHS funded partnership for Refugee Health Professionals living in London. We assist refugee doctors to re-qualify to UK standards and secure employment appropriate to their professional qualifications.

    Refugee Council

  • Refugee Assessment and Guidance Unit (RAGU)

    The Refugee Assessment and Guidance Unit (RAGU) at London Metropolitan University provides specialist careers advice and guidance as well as employability training for all refugee health professionals. This programme is part of the Building Bridges Programme, an NHS-funded partnership. We work with our partners Glowing Results and the Refugee Council.

    London Metropolitan University

  • REACHE North West: Support for Refugees

    REACHE North West carries out training and offers pastoral support, provides facilities for study and runs additional projects for Refugee Healthcare Professionals (RHPs). Follow the links below for more information.

    REACHE North West

  • The Lincolnshire Refugee Doctor Project

    The Lincolnshire Refugee Doctor Project aims to create the best possible scheme in Lincolnshire for supporting refugee doctors back into medical practice in the UK.

    The Lincolnshire Refugee Doctor Project

  • Support for refugee doctors via WARD

    It can be difficult to integrate into the UK medical system. The process is frustrating and may feel unattainable due to financial constraints and other practical obstacles. Refugee doctors are often forced to rely on social security benefits instead of contributing their skills and knowledge to the NHS.

    Health Education and Improvement Wales (HEIW)

  • Refugee healthcare professionals

    NHS Employers is working with the Department of Health and Social Care and charities to support the recruitment of skilled healthcare refugees.

    NHS Employers

  • The HOP Programme (Healthcare Overseas Professionals)

    HEFMA finds out about an innovative programme at Sandwell and West Birmingham NHS Trust, which is helping the Trust to ease its workforce shortages by assisting skilled overseas migrant workers/refugees into work.

    HEFMA

  • Refugee doctors

    Health Education East of England recognises that refugee doctors have particular challenges to face as International Medical Graduates (IMG) in the UK.

    Health Education East of England