COVID-19: Training, Tier 5 visa and GMC Registration advice

Tier 5 visa & self-isolation updates

Self-isolation upon arrival to the UK

Update - 31 July 2020

Previously, MTI doctors were included in the quarantine exemptions list which overrode any other requirements, but this has now changed.  Healthcare workers are now no longer included in this list of exemptions. Please check further details on the governmental website.

 As of 31/7/20, a new policy is in force:

Health and care workers must self-isolate on arrival/return to England from high-risk countries

Registered health and care professionals travelling to the England from high-risk countries will be required to self-isolate for 14 days, the government has confirmed. Please read full press release here.

The current list of countries exempt from self-isolation measures is available on GOV.UK.

Current advice from the DHSC is as of today (31/7/20) that:Anyone coming from a country that is not on the approved list of travel corridors will be required to self-isolate for 14 days.  We encourage employers to consider this as part of recruitment and not bank on being able to have staff in post in the first fortnight after they arrive, especially as countries can be added or removed at very short notice (as we saw last week with Spain and today with Luxembourg).”  


Tier 5 visa extensions

Update - 23 July 2020

The RCS has received confirmation from the Academy of Medical Royal Colleges that all trainees who were in post in April 2020 and have a Tier 5 visa that expires after 01 October are also eligible for 12-month extensions. Please note the following:

  • Tier 5 dependants are also eligible for the 12-month extension
  • This extension also applies to those doctors who returned to their home countries to help with the pandemic 
  • The Home Office is not able to cover the cost of this visa extension, so it will be for the doctors and trusts to consider this cost
  • The Home Office have advised that it is not currently possible to make MTI doctors exempt from the Immigration Health Surcharge (IHS) at the point of application (due to IT processes). They will continue to look into this, however in the meantime, MTI doctors will need to seek reimbursement from the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) scheme due to launch in October. The reimbursement will be paid in arrears of six-month increments.
  • These extensions are not intended to be used for trainees who wish to seek new posts. 

If you are eligible for this 12 month visa extension, and your employing trust has confirmed that they can accommodate you for a further period, please email with the following information, by Friday 28 August:

  • Your full name
  • Name of the Trust
  • Address of the Trust
  • Number of months that the trust has agreed to extend your contract

It is unclear how these extensions will be processed at the moment, however we will let you know as soon as we have more information.


Update - April 2020

Doctors, nurses and paramedics with visas due to expire before 1 October 2020 will have them automatically extended for one year. This extension to NHS visas will be automatic, there will be no fee attached and it will be exempt from the Immigration Health Surcharge. 

The UKVI will be writing to all institutions that employ NHS workers from overseas and asking them to provide the details of those whose leave will expire prior to 1 October 2020.

The visa extensions will be granted on identical leave conditions as the original conditions that are about to expire for each worker.  Should an applicant wish to change route or job role, a new application would be required. 

Tier 5 Certificate of Sponsorship (CoS)

UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI) have stated that, due to the current difficulties with travel for those doctors who have obtained their visas but are unable to travel due to restrictions, a new Certificate of Sponsorship (CoS) will NOT be required. Under these exceptional circumstances they will consider the current CoS to be valid beyond its expiration date.  Each case will be handled individually by UKVI and affected individuals should contact the NHS team inbox with details of their situation, role and employer to get advice on the best course of action depending upon their particular circumstances

UKVI state that they are working to identify processes for processing applications under the current reduced service being operated

Please visit the official Home Office website for further details.

If you have any specific questions regarding your case, you must contact Home Office directly or visit the Coronavirus Immigration Helpline. 


This information will be kept under constant review to reflect relevant UK Government advice and may be subject to change. Please ensure to check the official websites for details.

ISTP Programme and coronavirus

Academy of Medical Royal Colleges, HEE and NHS Employers Statement for potential applicants and current doctors on ISTP Programme, also known as Medical Training Initiative (MTI) Scheme

In response to the coronavirus pandemic it has been agreed not to suspend recruitment to the ISTP Programme / MTI Scheme at the current time. However, potential applicants need to be aware that:

  • The entry of doctors to the UK will be subject to the same Government rules and advice as anyone else i.e. if entry or travel from a particular country is restricted that applies to MTI applicants. Similarly, where there are not restrictions, applicants will be allowed to enter the UK
  •  It is recognised that the pandemic may entail doctors working in unfamiliar circumstances or outside their usual areas of practice.  All doctors should receive proper induction and training for this work. However, potential applicants should bear this in mind before applying
  •  As far as is possible MTI doctors would continue to receive suitable educational and training experience recognising that this may not be as in normal circumstances.

Read the full statement on AoMRC website.

Face to face ID check

Following the latest advice from the UK government, GMC has suspended identity checks at their office.

GMC will be granting doctors’ registration without an identity check. The doctor’s status on the register will mention this.

When the UK government changes their advice about travel and social contact, GMC will ask the candidate to attend an identity check at one of their offices, in line with their usual processes. GMC will get in touch to let you know when you can make an appointment.

Deadline to attend GMC ID check

GMC has extended the deadline to attend your GMC ID check from three to six months. 

Visit GMC website for details. 

Events, news & blog

Keep up-to-date with the latest news about our training initiatives and events. Our blog is also a resource of articles and interviews designed to answer common questions or career dilemmas in more detail.

Events, news & blog

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