The EU countries are: Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Republic of Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden and the UK.
The European Economic Area (EEA)
The EEA includes EU countries and also Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway. It allows them to be part of the EU’s single market.
Switzerland is neither an EU nor EEA member but is part of the single market – this means Swiss nationals have the same rights to live and work in the UK as other EEA nationals.
Rights of EEA doctors
EEA nationals (or non-EEA nationals with EC rights) who have qualified in an EEA member state have reciprocal rights to work in any country of the EEA. An EEA doctor will therefore be treated the same as a British national when applying for posts in the UK. This may be a training post or a permanent consultant post if in possession of a Certificate of Completion of Training (CCT) or equivalent.
All doctors need to register with the General Medical Council (GMC) before undertaking direct patient care. EEA nationals with qualifications from their own country (or whose qualifications have been accepted by another EEA member state) will get reciprocal full registration with the GMC.
The GMC may ask EEA applicants for evidence that they have the necessary knowledge of English to practise safely in the UK before being granted them a licence to practise. The GMC will be able to refuse a licence if a concern arises about an applicant’s knowledge of English during the registration process and they are unable to demonstrate that they have the necessary knowledge of English to practise safely in the UK and communicate effectively. Communicating includes speaking, reading, writing and listening.
Applying for specialty training posts in the UK
UK medical graduates must undertake the two-year Foundation Training programme before applying for specialty training. Doctors wishing to enter postgraduate specialty training in ophthalmology must have completed 18 months’ experience (or less) in this specialty since gaining their primary medical qualification – whether in the UK or in another country – and must provide evidence of completion of foundation programme competencies.
EEA nationals applying for entry into specialty training who have not completed the UK foundation programme in the last three years will need to submit alternative evidence by asking a consultant who has supervised them for at least three months during the last three years to attest to the achievement of foundation programme competences. An ‘alternative certificate’, completed by this consultant, must be produced confirming that the doctor had equivalent training to the UK foundation programme.
For more information, visit the UK’s specialty training and recruitment website.
Transferring to the UK training programme
EEA nationals who have undertaken a period of recognised training towards a CCT in their own country may apply through open competition for transfer to the UK and will be placed in the appropriate year of training for their experience.
On completion of training, they will obtain either a UK Certificate of Completion of Training (CCT) or Certificate of Eligibility for Specialist Registration (Combined Programme) or (CESR (CP) .
It is important to note, however, that the competition is fierce as there are very few posts in the UK at ST3 level and above.
Find out more
For more information, please visit the GMC website .