This article is now outdated, and only kept here for historical information purposes. Please do not make any plans for the future based on this article. For the latest information on how to apply for the UK Foundation Programme, please see this article: Apply for the UK Foundation Programme as an IMG
UPDATED: February 10th, 2020
The UK Foundation Programme (UKFP) is the UK postgraduate training programme for new medical graduates. It’s a 2-year programme consisting of Foundation Year 1 (FY1) which is equivalent to internship, and Foundation Year 2 (FY2) which is an additional year of experience before starting specialty training.
The UKFP office has just released the new eligibility guidance for applications to FY1 starting in August 2020. International medical graduates who wish to join in August 2020 will need to submit the eligibility application this July 2019 so make sure you’re up to date with the guidance! All relevant documents are on the official website here.
Now, the new eligibility guidance has provided some clarification on certain issues that will hopefully clear a lot of confusion. Let’s get started.
In the new guidance
1. Clarification on who should take PLAB for provisional registration
I tend to see quite a lot of questions in the Facebook groups about whether or not IMGs who are EU Nationals are required to take PLAB. The new eligibility guidance has this very useful table:
This clearly shows that EU nationals are magically exempt from PLAB based on nationality alone and do not need to sit PLAB regardless of which country they graduated from.
For UK nationals it’s a different story. PLAB is still required for UK nationals who graduate from a non-EU medical school.
Non-EU nationals need to sit PLAB unless they graduate from a UK medical school.
2. Open to all applicants regardless of nationality
In the past, the UK Foundation Programme Office (UKFPO) prioritised applicants who had Right to Work in the UK AKA RTW. This included:
- UK medical graduates
- IMGs who are British citizens
- IMGs who are EU citizens
- IMG’s married to a British or EU citizen
- IMG’s with permanent residence status in the UK AKA Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR)
Anyone who did not fall under one of these categories was considered to have no RTW. Those without RTW would be automatically rejected or placed on the reserve list even if they had a high application score.
3. OET is still not accepted as evidence of English proficiency
The GMC started accepting the OET as evidence of English language proficiency in 2018 but unfortunately, the UK FP did not. With this year’s new guidance it appears this is still the case.
For 2020, the UK FP only accepts the following as evidence of English proficiency:
- IELTS with a minimum of 7.5 in all sections OR
- Dean’s statement confirming that your medical degree was taught and examined solely in English, and more than 75% of clinical interactions were also conducted in English.
The OET is accepted for any other job that is not part of the Foundation Programme. Read more about IELTS vs OET here.
Update Jan 2020: OET is now accepted by the UK FP in January 2020 which is already too late for August 2020 applicants, but can be helpful for those applying for August 2021. Please take note that the UK FP passing score for OET is 400 in all sections.
Submitting your application for eligibility checking
Applications for eligibility must be submitted online through the Oriel website. You will be asked to complete an online application form and upload your supporting documents.
The eligibility application window will open at 09:00 (BST) on Monday 24th June 2019. All applications must be submitted by 12:00 (BST) on Wednesday 7th August 2019.
Make sure you know all the other requirements for GMC so you make the deadline.
Please take note that these times are very strict. Late applications will not be considered under any circumstances.
What you need at the time of eligibility checking
- Proof of ID
- Signed Dean’s statement
- IELTS with 7.5 in all sections (unless the Dean confirms that your medical school, including the majority of patient interactions, was conducted in English and your school is not this on list.)
- Please note that if you have taken IELTS but do not have the results by the deadline of Wednesday 7th August 2019, your application will not be accepted.
What can be submitted after eligibility checking
- Passing your medical school final exams
- Your medical certificate
- PLAB 1 & PLAB 2
- Provisional GMC registration
Deadlines for the other requirements
|Passing your medical school final exams||31st October 2019||You need confirmation of passing your finals to book PLAB 1. The last day you can book PLAB 1 on 7th November 2019 is 31st October so that is also the last possible day that you can get confirmation of passing your final exams. It is very unlikely however that there will be any available places for PLAB if you book on the last day.|
|PLAB 1||7th November 2019||If you do not book a place on this date then you will not be able to proceed with your FP application.|
|PLAB 2||March/April 2020 (Final date TBC)||If you do not pass PLAB 2 by these dates you may not be able to obtain your GMC registration in time to start FY1 by August 2020. Some leeway may be given depending on the deanery.|
|Your medical certificate and provisional GMC registration||May 2020||You must have your GMC registration by 5th August 2020. The GMC can take up to 3 months to process an application so submitting your application by May 2020 you should give you enough time.|
The new UK FP guidance has clarified some issues relating to the eligibility of IMGs and has confirmed the relevant dates relating to applications. This article points out some of the key information contained in the guidance but do make sure to read the guidance in full.
FY1 is ideal for IMGs who have not yet completed internship. If this doesn’t apply to you, read our article on the best first jobs in the UK to see what an ideal first job in the UK would be for you.
For the full step-by-step guide check our our article Pathway A which outlines the steps for IMGs applying for the UK Foundation Programme.
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