August 28, 2018

How Oversea Trained Allied Health Professionals Can Live and Work in the UK

Anyone wanting to work in the UK as an allied health professional must register with the Health and Care Professions Council. The allied health professions cover a broad range of careers such as podiatry, occupational therapy and speech and language therapy. A career in the allied health professions makes you highly employable, allows you to help people every day and gives you the flexibility to live and work anywhere.


The Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC) is the body that regulates allied health professionals (AHPs) in the UK. The HCPC sets standards of professional training, performance and conduct and hold a register of health professionals who meet the registration standards.

The allied health professions incorporate a number of professions including physiotherapists, radiographers, practitioner psychologists and speech and language therapists. For a full list, visit the HCPC website.

Each of the regulated professions has a 'protected title' and anyone who uses one of these titles must be registered with the HCPC. Each application submitted to the HCPC is looked at on an individual basis by registration assessors. All applicants will be required to meet the standards of the HCPC and must provide both character and health references and in certain circumstances applicants may be asked to provide clinical references.

There are different requirements for registration for AHPs who trained in the UK to those trained outside the UK. Registration with the HCPC does not provide the right to work in the UK. You will need permission from UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI) to work in the UK.

Voluntary registers

There are also voluntary registers managed by the relevant professional body for those AHP professions not currently regulated by the HCPC. Registration with these organisations is sometimes a condition of employment in the NHS. Individuals will need to contact the relevant professional body for further information. To find your relevant professional body in the UK, please search this website by your profession.

Communicating in English

The ability to communicate effectively in English is included as a requirement in the standards set by the HCPC to become registered to practise as a health professional in the UK. Applicants can be asked to provide information about their ability to use English and all applicants applying through the international registration process will be asked to do this unless:
  • English is your first language
  • you are an EEA national
Where an applicant is required to demonstrate that they meet the language requirements of the HCPC, evidence of the completion of a recognised English language proficiency test such as the International English Language Testing System (IELTS) must be included with the application. Applicants will need to take the 'Academic' test and not the 'General' test. See the HCPC website for a list of the English language proficiency tests it can accept.

Applicants from both the EEA and non-EEA countries who are applying to register as speech and language therapists are required to meet a higher standard in English language proficiency than other professions as communication in English is a core professional skill.

Applicants whose experience and/or training were gained outside the UK must complete the international registration form. Find the form on the HCPC website.

EEA nationals

EEA nationals will need to complete the registration process. EEA applicants whose experience and/or training were gained outside the UK must complete the international registration form. This can be found on the HCPC website.

Temporary registration

Only individuals who are established elsewhere in the European Economic Area (EEA) or Switzerland can apply for temporary registration. Temporary registration applies to those applicants who wish to provide professional services in the UK on a temporary and occasional basis. Initial registration will be one year in duration and may be renewed annually.

Applicants must complete a temporary registration declaration form and must meet the HCPC standards of conduct, performance and ethics.


The NHS employs psychologists in the following disciplines:
There is a basic requirement in each discipline to have completed the Graduate Basis for Chartered Membership (GBC) before undertaking further accredited training at doctorate level.

Find out more about GBC and accredited training on British Psychological Society website.

Related reading: Guide to live and work in the UK for medical and allied health professionals

The above article is reproduced from material entitled 'Information for overseas allied health professionals' as provided by NHS Careers. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.

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