Frequently asked questions about Medical Training Initiative (MTI) - for applicants.
This page contains information for potential applicants as well as doctors who are in the process of applying for the MTI scheme.
What is the MTI scheme?
The Royal College of Physicians (RCP) Medical Training Initiative (MTI) supports international medical graduates (IMGs) who are seeking short-term training opportunities in the UK. Doctors can come to the UK for up to 24 months under the UK Border Agency’s Tier 5 immigration rules, before returning to their home countries. The RCP London’s MTI scheme can sponsor doctors who are seeking to train in physician specialities.
What does the MTI scheme offer?
- Support for General Medical Council (GMC) registration
- Support for Tier 5 visa application
- Undertaking a post that has been quality checked by the RCP. We will ensure that the post has an educational component in areas detailed in the job description, study leave allowance, and supervision
- Develop clinical, communication and leadership skills in a fast-paced, supportive environment
- Regular Induction sessions providing IMGs with information and networking opportunities
- Free associate RCP membership for the first year and a discounted rate for the second year – with all associated benefits, for example, discounts on RCP conferences, events and educational programmes, career development and networking opportunities
- Free access to ePortfolio for the duration of the training (two years)
- RCP certificate of completion at the end of training
- Impartial support with issues relating to training
- The scheme is designed to give you an experience of working in UK, to make new friends and colleagues, and to develop your skills and competencies not only in medicine but also in teaching, research and management
What specialties are eligible for the MTI scheme run by the RCP?
The RCP sponsors the MTI scheme for placements in physician specialties, which are listed on the Joint Royal College of Physicians Training Board (JRCPTB) website. We currently sponsor the following specialties:
- Acute Internal Medicine
- Audio vestibular Medicine
- Aviation and Space Medicine
- Clinical Genetics
- Clinical Neurophysiology
- Clinical Pharmacology and Therapeutics
- Endocrinology and Diabetes Mellitus
- General Internal Medicine
- Genitourinary Medicine
- Geriatric Medicine
- Infectious Diseases and Tropical Medicine
- Internal Medicine
- Medical Oncology
- Medical Ophthalmology
- Metabolic Medicine
- Nuclear Medicine
- Paediatric Cardiology
- Palliative Medicine
- Pharmaceutical Medicine
- Rehabilitation Medicine
- Renal Medicine
- Respiratory Medicine
- Sport and Exercise Medicine
- Stroke Medicine.
What specialties are not eligible for the MTI scheme run by the RCP?
Certain specialties are not supported by the MTI scheme run by the Royal College of Physicians. Please contact the Royal College associated with the specialty to enquire about the scheme and support on offer:
- Anaesthesiologists - www.rcoa.ac.uk
- Emergency medicine - www.rcem.ac.uk
- Family medicine and General practitioners (GP) - www.rcgp.org.uk
- Intensive care medicine - www.ficm.ac.uk
- Obstetricians and Gynaecologists - www.rcog.org.uk
- Ophthalmologists - www.rcophth.ac.uk
- Paediatrics and child health - www.rcpch.ac.uk
- Pathologists - www.rcpath.org
- Psychiatrists - www.rcpsych.ac.uk
- Radiologists - www.rcr.ac.uk
- Surgeons - www.rcseng.ac.uk and www.rcsed.ac.uk and www.rcpsg.ac.uk
What are the eligibility criteria?
Please check to see if you meet the full eligibility criteria for candidates, you must:
- Hold a primary medical qualification recognised by the GMC
- Possess a postgraduate qualification in medicine or a medical subspecialty (for example MRCP part 1, MD or higher degree)
- Have three years full time postgraduate equivalent training (including one year’s internship and at least one year in the speciality in which you intend to train in the UK)
- Have been in clinical practice three out of the last five years including the most recent 12 months. You must remain in clinical practice until you are registered with the GMC
- Possess the skills, competencies and understanding equivalent to a UK graduate at the end of their CMT training
- Remain in continuous medical practice during the most recent 12 months until the GMC registration is completed
- Have passed English test in the last two years, achieving either of the required test scores:
- International English Language Testing System (IELTS) scores of minimum 7.5 overall and 7.0 in each section, achieved in one sitting or
- Occupational English Test (OET) test, academic version with scores of minimum B in each section, achieved in one sitting
- Alternatively, the GMC may consider exemption for candidates who are nationals of countries where English is the first and native language and were awarded primary medical degree from a country where English is the first and native language. The MTI team will advise at application, but please note the GMC will make the final decision regarding any exemption request. Further English language guidance is available on GMC website.
- Must not have sole rights of residence in the UK
- Have been offered a suitable post in the UK along with a scholarship, official funding or salary.
How do I find a post?
The post does not need to be advertised as an MTI post, as long as it meets the following criteria:
- Duration of the post is between 6 to 24 months
- Posts must be IMT posts (equivalent to house officer) or above, up to CCT
- Clinical Training post at the specialty grade (must be 50% or over clinically based). RCP cannot sponsor research posts, or for a candidate to undertake clinical aspect of a postgraduate qualification
- The post must provide the same opportunities and study leave as local trainees of the same level
- An educational supervisor must be assigned to the candidate
- The post must either be funded by the NHS hospital, or the candidate should be in receipt of official funding, eg scholarship from government or home institution.
If the post states that you need GMC registration or a working visa to apply, we recommend contacting the hospital's recruiting team to discuss the possibility of sponsorship for GMC registration and/or Temporary Work - Government Authorised Exchange visa via our RCP MTI scheme.
I want to move to the UK permanently, can I apply for MTI?
The MTI scheme is not suitable for candidates wishing to relocate to the UK permanently. We sponsor trainees for a maximum of two years, at which point they are expected to return to their home countries to continue contributing to the medical workforce there.
How do I apply for the MTI scheme?
Before you can commence the MTI application process, you need to check that you meet the candidate eligibility criteria. Secondly, you must secure a suitable post at an NHS hospital. If you have not done so yet, please check for suitable vacancies on the NHS Jobs website, Lancet website, BMJ website, and others.
Once you have been offered a suitable post by a hospital, you can start your application through our online portal. Please make sure you have read the MTI guide for applicants which provides detailed information about the scheme and the eligibility criteria, as well as the MTI portal step by step guide containing instruction on how to complete the online form, both of which are available to downloand from the MTI resources for applicants website.
As part of your application, you will be required to complete a copy of MTI CV and a professional postgraduate experience (PPE) form. You can find the tempaltes of those documents at the bottom of the MTI resources for applicants website.
How long does the process take? When can I give notice to my current employer/hospital?
The MTI application process takes four to six months on average. As a requirement for GMC registration, doctors must keep in continuous practice for the last 12 months prior to GMC registration. With no gaps (except for contractual leaves less than five weeks in total within the last 12-month period). Please do not leave your current job until GMC registration is completed.
Is there any deadline for application?
We do not have application deadlines. Applications are accepted and processed on an ongoing basis.
What qualifications do I need?
You must hold a primary medical qualification recognised by the GMC and possess a postgraduate qualification in medicine or a medical subspecialty. You do not need to have passed the MRCP if you have an equivalent level postgraduate qualification.
I have not completed MRCP(UK). Can I still apply?
MRCP(UK) is not mandatory to participate in the MTI scheme. To be eligible for the GMC registration via the sponsorship route, you must hold a primary medical qualification recognised by the GMC and verified by Educational Commission for Foreign Medical Graduates (ECFMG).
Additionally, you need to have a postgraduate qualification. For example, MRCP (UK) part 1, MD, or other higher degree in medicine or a medical subspecialty.
What qualifications do I need to get verified?
Applicants who hold a primary medical qualification awarded outside the UK need to have them independently verified by ECFMG before the GMC will grant registration. Please see the ECFMG website for further information and to begin your verification.
Which English language test is required?
Candidates must sit either the IELTS or the OET English test and present a certificate dated within the last two years. The certificates must be valid when the GMC application is submitted, so you may be asked to re-sit the test if the expiry date is approaching.
- IELTS (Medicine) - Candidates must have an average score of 7.5 overall and a minimum of 7.0 in each section, in one sitting
- OET (Academic) - Candidates must have a minimum B in each section, in one sitting.
I come from an English-speaking country, do I need to take the English language tests?
The GMC may consider exemption from the English Language tests for certain candidates. If you are a national of a country where English is the first and native language, and you were awarded your primary medical degree from a country where English is the first and native language, the GMC can consider English language references in place of IELTS/OET tests. The GMC has the right to refuse exemptions when registering.
You can check the GMC’s list of exempt countries here.
I have not taken PLAB yet, can I apply?
Professional and Linguistic Assessments Board (PLAB) exam is not required for the MTI scheme. Therefore, you can apply for the MTI scheme and the GMC registration sponsorship if you have not attempted the PLAB in the past.
I have failed the PLAB test. Can I apply for the scheme?
Doctors who have failed (and not subsequently passed) either part 1 or part 2 of the Professional and Linguistic Assessments Board (PLAB) test are not generally considered as suitable candidates for GMC registration via sponsorship route. You will have to retake the test and pass it before you can apply for GMC registration. Until that point, you will not be eligible for MTI sponsorship.
What visa will I have and how long can I stay in the UK?
The RCP will provide a certificate of sponsorship (CoS) for the Government Authorised Exchange visa (previously known as tier 5 visa). This visa can be issued for a maximum of two years. During your visa, you can travel and re-enter UK, but when the visa expires you must leave the UK; this visa is not a route into settlement in the UK. Please see the UK visa and immigration website for more information.
Can I bring my family to the UK with me?
The Government Authorised Exchange visa (previously known as tier 5 visa) allows you to be accompanied by your dependents - spouse and children. The visa allows your spouse to work in the UK if he/she wishes. Please see the UK visa and immigration website for more information.
I am currently in the UK on a Tier 2 dependent visa. Can I apply for the scheme from the UK?
If you are already in the UK and not currently practicing medicine, you will not be eligible for GMC registration. The GMC requires that you are in clinical practice for the 12 months prior to applying for registration. If you are in the UK, but practicing medicine in your home country remotely, the GMC may make an exception, subject to a case-by-case assessment.