Dual Sponsorship Scheme FAQs

Frequently asked questions about the Dual Sponsorship Scheme (DSS).

It is important to consider whether you are eligible for the Dual Sponsorship Scheme. The eligibility requirements can be found in the Dual Sponsorship Scheme booklet on page 9.

It is also important to consider that the RCOphth is not in the position to find training posts for IMGs and it is the responsibility of the trainee to identify the UK and overseas sponsor. A suitable post must be identified and offered by the UK sponsor.

Before applying, you should ensure that your UK sponsor, overseas sponsor and oversees referees meet the eligibility requirements set out in the Dual Sponsorship Scheme booklet.

To apply, you should complete  and sign the Dual Sponsorship Scheme application form.

It is important that your UK sponsor signs the form to confirm that they have read the terms in the Dual Sponsorship Scheme booklet. It is important that you understand the terms and conditions before applying.

You should ensure that your CV has been validated by your overseas sponsor. Within the CV you should ensure that you have included a surgical log listing the cases that you have been involved in.

A job description and timetable (which includes who will supervise you during each session), your brief career plan and reasons for using the Dual Sponsorship Scheme should be submitted as part of the application.

It is important to make sure that your application is submitted in good time (within six months) of the start date to enable paperwork to be collected and submitted.

You should ensure you have informed your overseas referees when you are applying as they will be contacted by the RCOphth and will be asked to complete a reference form. You should also inform your overseas sponsor as they will also be sent a reference form to complete.

The RCOphth will need to have processed your Dual Sponsorship Scheme application and have issued you with a certificate of sponsorship which allows you to apply for registration from the GMC before you finish your current post overseas. This will mean you have been in practice all of the 12 months preceding the date of the GMC application. The eligibility requirements can be found in the Dual Sponsorship Scheme booklet on page 9.

The RCOphth is unable to accept posts which are purely research to the Dual Sponsorship Scheme.

However, the RCOphth can consider fellowship posts containing clinical sessions and research sessions. Please refer to page 7 of the Dual Sponsorship Scheme booklet for information on acceptable posts.

  • It is important that documents are dated and signed when they are submitted to the RCOphth.
  • Ensure that the documents are completed fully in block capitals.
  • When stating your name on documents it is important that you write it in the order that it should appear on the certificate of sponsorship.
  • When submitting an IELTS certificate this should be the original certificate or a validated copy. The IELTS examination must have been taken no more than two years before registration is due to commence.
  • The Primary Medical Degree and Certificate of Good Standing should be the original certificate or a validated copy.

Documents can be submitted by email to [email protected].

It is important that information such as bank/credit card details are not submitted by email for security reasons.

The minimum IELTS scores acceptable to the RCOphth are the same as those of the GMC:

  • Listening (7)
  • Academic writing (7)
  • Academic reading (7)
  • Speaking (7)
  • Overall (7.5)

The RCOphth will accept the Occupational English Test (OET).

It is a pre-requisite that an IELTS certificate must be submitted as part of the Dual Sponsorship Scheme application.

The Certificate of Good Standing is valid three months before your start date so it should be applied for towards the end of the application to ensure that it is valid.

The matrix is an overall timetable of the unit. It enables the IMG Training Sub-committee to see how your Fellowship post will fit in with the other trainees in the unit.

You will be sent a checklist by the Education and Training Administrator that states which documents have been submitted to the RCOphth. This will also be sent to your UK Sponsor so you can see which documents they are required to submit.

The application is sent by e-mail to the IMG Training Sub-committee as soon as all the documents have been submitted. In order to maximise the speed of the process, there are no set meeting dates and the committee chair identifies any outstanding areas of doubt and requests further information if necessary. This may be from the applicant or the UK Sponsor. Once satisfactory responses are received, the application is passed to the GMC for ratification.

You will need to ensure that you have completed an online GMC application. The GMC will then issue you with a reference number and complete their final checks when they receive the certificate of sponsorship from us.

You will need to ensure that your visa has been applied for. If your Trust is applying for a Tier 5 visa, they will need to follow the appropriate procedure.

When the GMC send you an invitation to attend an identity check they will send you all the information you will require.

The length of time it takes to process varies from application to application.  Further information can be found on the the GMC website.

Doctors who have been accepted onto the Dual Sponsorship Scheme will receive a letter from the RCOphth which includes details on how to access the Central Manchester University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust e-induction programme: Induction for International Doctors.

The RCOphth believes that doctors who have been accepted onto the scheme would benefit greatly from completing the modules. The online eLearning programme introduces doctors to cultural, social, ethical, legal and patient safety aspects of UK clinical practice.

It is important that you refer to the UK Border Agency website for information on visas.

The website will provide further information on all visa routes. You should discuss with your future UK employing Trust which visa would be suitable.

If the Trust wishes to apply for a government authorised exchange visa, the UK Trust should send the completed MTI form to the Academy of Medical Royal Colleges at [email protected] but only when the application is complete and has been accepted by the RCOphth.

It is important that the RCOphth receives a copy of this form as part of the application paperwork. It is important that all sections (Part 1 and Part 2) have been completed and signed.

The Academy of Medical Royal Colleges should take five working days to complete the application process.

During the period of sponsorship the RCOphth ask doctors to undergo a formal appraisal, a copy of which must be returned to the Chair of the IMG Training Sub-committee by your UK sponsor.

Towards the end of your training post you will be sent an IMG Dual Sponsorship Scheme report template to complete. We would be grateful if this report could be completed and submitted to the Education and Training Department within one month of completing the post.

If you wish to apply for an extension, a job description, timetable (listing who will supervise you), details of start and end dates and letter of support from your UK supervisor should be provided to the RCOphth.

The UK sponsor should state what objectives you are expected to achieve during the extension period. We should also be informed which visa has been applied for.

Please request an extension pack from the Education and Training Department.

It is important that an extension is applied for in advance of the start date. Please apply in good time for the application to be considered.

The Chairman will then assess the information and if he/she is satisfied a letter of support for an extension will be issued.

The RCOphth is not able to support an extension for a non-training post. LAS (Trust) posts or similar are not accepted under the scheme. StR posts may be suitable under the scheme depending on the educational needs of the IMG and the post timetable.

Please refer to page 7 of the Dual Sponsorship Scheme booklet for further information.

For Tier 5 regulations please visit the Academy of Medical Royal Colleges website or contact the MTI Programme Manager.

Doctors who are sponsored through the Dual Sponsorship Scheme are not able to work as a locum consultant once their training post is complete. Doctors must return to their home country at the end of their training post or apply for a formal extension of a training post.