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Dual Sponsorship Scheme


The College has been continuously monitoring the global and national COVID-19 pandemic and understands the ongoing uncertainty with regards to healthcare provision in the United Kingdom. The quality and accessibility of training and the safety of our doctors is our number one priority and we thank you for your patience while the scheme has been suspended.  We appreciate that this is a very difficult and uncertain time for applicants.

In response to the national situation, the College has taken the decision to resume applications for the Dual Sponsorship Scheme.  Applications can only be considered once all the documentation has been submitted.

The ability of applicants to take up posts in the UK will be dependent on confirmation from the employing trust that they are still able to support the doctor throughout the post during this difficult time and can guarantee the applicant will have access to the standard of training that they have applied for. We understand that once applications have been approved, applicants will still be required to complete GMC registration and the visa process with UKVI.  Availability of travel to the UK must also be considered when deciding to proceed with a Dual Sponsorship Application and planning to take up post.

For the most up to date guidance please view our DSS and COVID-19 FAQ’s as well as AoMRC guidanceGMC guidance and the UKVI where help can be provided.

Important update

Changes to MTI Prioritisation process

The Department of Health, Health Education England and the Academy of Medical Royal Colleges have agreed changes to the arrangements for processing applications for MTI Certificates of Sponsorship (CoS) from applicants from countries other than those identified as DfID priority countries or World Bank Low Income and Lower Middle Income Countries (LI&LMI)

It has been reaffirmed by Department of Health, Health Education England and the Academy of Medical Royal Colleges that the priority focus of the MTI is to provide training opportunities for doctors from DfID priority or LI&LMI countries and have therefore now stated that applicants from countries not considered DfID priority LI&LMI countries can have no guarantee or expectation of receiving a COS. Please note The Royal College of Ophthalmologists will no longer be supporting applications for Tier 5 Visas unless the IMG is from a country as per the list on the below link.

This process will commence from 1 April 2017. For further details and a list of countries that are covered by the scheme please refer to the Academy of Medical Royal Colleges website,

The GMC are putting changes to the verification of Primary qualifications for overseas doctors. Please see the following link for more information on these changes which come into effect on 11th June 2018.

The Dual Sponsorship scheme is run by the College to provide an opportunity for international medical graduates to undertake targeted training in ophthalmology for a limited period of time. The Royal College of Ophthalmologists acts as a sponsoring body for such doctors to gain registration with the GMC to undertake targeted training in a suitable training post in the UK. Please note that the Postgraduate Dean, College Tutor and Programme Director in the area in which the training will take place must give support for the training post to be used under the Dual Sponsorship Scheme.

Please note that the GMC state that a doctor applying for an offer of sponsorship must have been engaged in medical practice for three out of the last five years including the most recent twelve months. It is therefore essential that the Dual Sponsorship Scheme application is processed and a certificate of sponsorship issued which will allow the doctor to apply for registration before they finish their current post overseas.

The doctor must be able to remain in clinical practice until the Dual Sponsorship Scheme application is processed and a certificate of sponsorship issued. Clinical attachements/observerships are not counted as medical practice and should not be undertaken prior or during the application process. Internships are also not counted towards medical practice.

The doctor must have worked for the full 12 months preceding their application for registration with the GMC. No exceptions can be made to this.

Information for the UK sponsor

The College requires a detailed job description from the UK Trust (Employing institution). The job description must include a list of training objectives.

Example 1: To significantly improve the trainee’s ability to perform penetrating glaucoma surgery.
Example 2: An improvement in the IMG’s ability to diagnose secondary glaucoma.

The UK sponsor should provide the Chairman of the International Medical Graduates’ Training Sub-committee with a mid-term report of the sponsored doctor’s ability and progress after six months. The mid-term report should include details of progress towards the objectives set in the job description. The UK sponsor should also provide the Chairman with an end of term report after 12 months with a report of the doctor’s ability and progress and it should state how the objectives have been met.

Important information for the IMG

The Royal College of Ophthalmologists understands the GMC have a different set of requirements for English, however The Royal College of Ophthalmologists will only accept the IELTS or the OET as per below for a Dual Sponsorship Scheme application.

The International English Language Testing System (IELTS) requirements.

Now the minimum IELTS scores that the GMC accepts as evidence of knowledge of English for the purposes of registration are:

  • A score of at least 7.0 in each of the four areas tested (speaking, listening, reading and writing)
  • And an overall score of at least 7.5

Any application made to the College will need to achieve the above IELTS score. The GMC and College only accepts the academic version of the IELTS test.

The Royal College of Ophthalmologists are now accepting the OET (Occupational English Test) as per below.

For us to accept your Occupational English Test (OET) certificate it must show:

  • you took the medicine version of the test
  • you got at least a grade ‘B’ in each testing area (speaking, listening, reading and writing)
  • you got those grades in the same test
  • your candidate number
  • you obtained the grades in your most recent sitting of the test.

If you are applying for registration with a licence to practise through the sponsorship route, you must demonstrate your knowledge of English using either an acceptable OET or IELTS certificate.

Further information can be found on the GMC’s website. Please use the following link to ensure you are eligible for the scheme and do not currently hold any qualifications that could allow you to apply directly to jobs with the use of the Dual Sponsorship Scheme,

During the period of sponsorship the IMG should keep a log of surgical cases they have operated on. This needs to be numbers of procedures performed and assisted at rather than individual details. The IMG should keep numbers of cases of posterior capsule rupture and vitreous loss they have operated on. The log should be submitted with the IMG report on the Dual Sponsorship Scheme and certified by the UK Sponsor.

The IMG should include a list of the surgical cases they have been involved in within their CV. Please refer to the Dual Sponsorship Scheme booklet and FAQs for further details.

  • Dual Sponsorship Scheme Booklet – Please read the booklet carefully before deciding whether to submit a Dual Sponsorship Scheme application form. Please note Route C and D are currently unavailable.
  • FAQ – Please read the Frequently Asked Questions before deciding whether to submit a Dual Sponsorship Scheme Application form.
  • Dual Sponsorship Application Form – Please complete to open an application.

Direct placement

Direct placement is an approved mechanism through which a suitable trainee can be offered a specific training post without the post being advertised, short listed and interviewed by a properly constituted appointments committee. The quality assurance of the offer of employment if the doctor is sponsored by the College is based on a recommendation of the trainee from an overseas sponsor known personally to the UK consultant who is recommending the trainee for sponsorship. References are also sought. The College does not find the training posts for doctors wishing to use the scheme. Training opportunities and sponsoring consultants should be identified before contacting the College to request sponsorship.

Work Permit/Visa

It is the responsibility of the applicant and the relevant employing authority e.g. the hospital medical staffing department, to ensure that the applicant has obtained the relevant Work Permit/Visa if required. Please note that visa applications are not the remit of the College. For the purpose of the Home Office permit the Dual Sponsorship Scheme comes under the Medical Training Initiative (MTI) which is a category of the Training and Work Experience Scheme. The Government Authorised Exchange means that workers must be funded to the National Minimum Wage requirements for their skill and training level. This funding can come from the employing UK trust, a foreign employer or UK/foreign government grants and scholarships. An IMG must be able to provide evidence of an external source of funding for their post and cannot fund it through their own means.

Since April 2010, the Academy took on the role of promoting the MTI and acting as the national sponsor of the scheme for the requirements of the UK Borders Agency (UKBA). The role of national sponsor was previously held by NHS Professionals.

Important statement concerning process

To apply for the Tier 5 Visa the UK employing hospital (Trust) will need to ensure that the completed Medical Training Initiative (MTI) form is submitted to the Academy of Medical Royal Colleges who will process the Tier 5 Visa. We recommend this is sent to the Academy once the application has been processed and only if support has been given by the College. Please contact [email protected] for further details.

Please click here for further information on the biometric residence permit.

Duration of Sponsorship

Training through the College’s Dual Sponsorship Scheme is limited to 12 months with a possible maximum extension of 3 to 12 months under exceptional circumstances at the discretion of the International Medical Graduates Training Sub-committee. Sponsored trainees will have to give an undertaking to return to their country of origin at the completion of the training period. Work permits and visas to remain in the UK will be granted to only cover the period of training. Once the application to the Dual Sponsorship Scheme is accepted, at the recommendation of the College, the GMC will grant the registration. Please refer to Home Office website for any other restrictions.

Please note that it is the responsibility of the trainee to identify the UK and Overseas sponsors and the College does not arrange training posts. Suitable post has to be identified and offered by the UK sponsor.

This scheme can only accept College approved training posts and fellowships (fellowships considered for educational approval on an individual basis). Honorary or locum posts are no longer approved for this purpose (College Council, October 2000). Fellows, Members or Affiliate Members of the College holding consultant posts in the NHS in the UK can act as UK sponsors for the Dual Sponsorship Scheme.

GMC Identity Checking

In order to grant registration the GMC will invite the candidate to report to their London or regional offices for an identity check which also involves submitting original documents. The GMC will give a case number and await further information from the College/IMG.

Certificate of Good Standing

The GMC will require a Certificate of Good standing. Please see the GMC website for further details.

Language requirement

Minimum IELTS scores acceptable for Sponsorship are:

Listening: 7
Academic writing: 7
Academic reading: 7
Speaking: 7
Overall: 7.5

The required IELTS scores MUST be obtained in a single sitting of the IELTS examination.


* The fees below applies for applications received from the 1 January 2020. Updated application forms will be provided in January 2020, however these new fees apply from 1 January 2020. 

 Country  Visa Route/Tier  Fee
Canada, USA, Australia and NewZealand Tier 5 £610.00
Other countries Tier 5 £410.00
Canada, USA, Australia and NewZealand Other (e.g. Tier 2, Ancestry Visa, Spouse Visa, British National and Dependant Visa) £720.00
Other countries Other (e.g. Tier 2, Ancestry Visa, Spouse Visa, British National and Dependant Visa) £550.00

The full fee will be taken to open the application. If an application is withdrawn 50% of the fee will be refunded.

Useful Links:

To introduce overseas doctors to NHS working practices; I am pleased to inform you that Induction for International Doctors is now available on e-Learning for Healthcare website (  e-LfH is a Health Education England Programme in partnership with the NHS and Professional Bodies and provides e-Learning platform for NHS.

‘Induction for International Doctors’ e-Learning programme is available to all Colleges/employers to use for their new non-UK qualified doctors; employed or sponsored by them like MTI doctors.

This programme introduces internationally qualified doctors, who are new to UK clinical practice, to national ethical, social, legal and professional aspects. The programme has 26 e-learning modules in total which are interactive sessions produced by CMFT, along with a number of sessions taken from other e-LfH programmes which supplement the focus of the programme. Previous completers of a similar programme have found that it increased their knowledge about UK clinical practice and it was useful in enhancing the patient care they provide. Sessions include case-based scenarios and are intentionally generic in content, thereby making them useful for doctors of any specialty and grade. It is expected that this e-learning programme will act as a driver for new international doctors to commence a focussed discussion with their educational supervisors, to develop professional development plans and to undertake additional training as per their specialty/local needs. Please see attached poster for the content of the programme.

Please see link