Skip to main content

Refugee doctors

The RCOG is aware of the large number of refugee doctors in the UK, a number of whom have previous experience in O&G and who are having difficulty keeping their medical knowledge up to date. We therefore provide refugee doctors access to a number of RCOG resources, as outlined below.

Please also read the general guidance for non-UK doctors about working in Britain.

Definition of refugee doctors

To be eligible for College assistance as a refugee doctor, you must provide original evidence that you:

  • Have your passport stamped by the UK Home Office as a refugee
  • Have been given indefinite leave to remain in the UK with refugee status
  • Are not currently in employment

RCOG concessions for refugee doctors

The following concessions are available to refugee doctors for 1 year only, from the date of registration:

  • You will be entitled to attend, free of charge, a maximum of 3 courses and conferences during your 1-year registration (unfortunately, there are no free places available on exam revision courses or other courses that regularly have a waiting list)
  • Library staff will offer support and access to associated resources
  • You will have free online access to The Obstetrician & Gynaecologist (TOG), the College’s quarterly CPD journal
  • You can attempt the Part 1 MRCOG exam up to 2 times at a discretionary fee of £50 (please note there is no discretionary fee for the Part 2 MRCOG exam)

To access these resources, you need to register as a refugee doctor with the RCOG. For more information, please email globalhealthinfo@rcog.org.uk.

Applying for posts

Refugee doctors applying for posts in the UK have the same rights as British and European doctors. The first level of post is designated ST1 (first year of specialty training). However, it’s unlikely that refugee doctors would be appointed to an ST1 post (the first level of post – year 1 of specialty training) unless they’ve previously undertaken work in the UK and have knowledge of how the British system works.

At the moment, it’s difficult to get on the ST1 ladder. If you have a mentor or have obtained a clinical attachment, your consultant colleagues will be able to help you get an ST1 post.

Find out more about training in O&G in the UK.

FAQs for refugee doctors

How do I register in the UK?

The General Medical Council (GMC) is the regulatory body for doctors in the UK. To practise in the UK, you must be registered with the GMC. For more information, visit the GMC website or call the GMC helpline on +44 (0)161 923 6602.

Can I be sponsored by the RCOG for limited registration with the GMC?

No, we’re unable to sponsor refugee doctors for registration.

How can I find help for refugee doctors in my local area?

Look at the local resource section of the ROSE website, an online information resource for refugee and asylum-seeking healthcare professionals.

How can I find a clinical attachment?

We suggest that you approach consultants at your nearest local hospital. You may also be able to get information about potential clinical attachments from the Associate Dean for Overseas Doctors at your regional postgraduate deanery, and also from local refugee organisations.

What grade of post should I apply for once I’ve passed both parts of the GMC’s PLAB test?

Regardless of your level of experience, most hospitals would be reluctant to take on any doctor who hasn’t previously worked in the UK at anything other than ST1 level. These posts are advertised in BMJ Careers.

How can I find a training post?

All UK training posts are advertised in the BMJ or the Lancet. The adverts will include instructions on how to apply.

Further sources of information

The British Medical Association (BMA) will be able to advise you on any issues, particularly those that are not within the remit of the RCOG. We encourage all refugee doctors to register with the BMA as part of their Refugee Doctor Initiative, a special package of free benefits available to refugee and asylum-seeking doctors looking to establish their careers in the UK.

Non-governmental organisations also offer help and advice.

For details of help available in your area, please see the local resources section of the ROSE website, an online information resource for refugee and asylum-seeking healthcare professionals.

Contact us

If you have any questions, or need more information, please email globalhealthinfo@rcog.org.uk.

Elsewhere on the site

Specialty training in O&G
Find out more about the UK’s specialty training programme in obstetrics and gynaecology
Global health work
Find out about the RCOG’s work to tackle maternal mortality and morbidity worldwide