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Tier 2 Visa Applications: updated support information from NHSE

Tier 2 Sponsorship for International GP Trainees qualifying in 2020

Tier 2 is an immigration route for GPs from outside the European Economic Area (EEA) and they each require a sponsor in order to live and work in the UK. These Drs must be sponsored by an organisation or company that holds a Tier 2 licence. A licence is a permission given to an organisation to sponsor workers in its business and last for 4 years. The organisation is known as a sponsor.

NHS E/I are aware that there are a number of non-EEA GP Trainees who qualify each year in February and August that are looking for practices who are able to provide them with Tier 2 sponsorship. However, the number of GP Practices who are currently Tier 2 Visa sponsors is limited and often non-EEA GP Trainees will be forced to leave the region or return to their home country if they are unable to find employment with a practice that can continue their sponsorship. Tier 2 sponsorship therefore is an opportunity for practices that are having difficulty recruiting to vacant GP posts, to employ migrant doctors who will generally have completed their training in the UK. It doesn’t guarantee that the vacancy will be filled, but it opens up a new pool of doctors who are then able to apply for vacancies.

NHSE/I will support non-EEA GP trainees by matching them with vacancies at practices that hold visa sponsorship licences in their preferred locations (Please note that standard recruitment processes then apply for the roles within these practices). They have now started to work with a number of GP Trainees qualifying in the February 2020 cohort.

If practices want to be in a position to recruit these doctors, they need to be starting a sponsor application as soon as possible. The funding is only available until the end of March 2020 so if you want to be ready to recruit in August it’s advisable to become a sponsor now while there is funding available.

How to apply to become a sponsor

NHSE/I has produced the following resources (attached):

  • A slide pack which advises about obtaining the Certificates of Sponsorship for each individual doctor
  • Certificates of sponsorship slides
  • Reimbursement form

Sponsor approval can take up to 8 weeks so it is advisable to apply sooner rather than later. Due to recent changes to immigration rules GPs are included on the Shortage Occupation List. This means that practices no longer have to complete a Resident Labour Market test before employing an international candidate.


NHSE/I is offering a package of funding to support any practice who wants to become Tier 2 Visa sponsors. Funding available includes reimbursement of sponsor license fee (even if unsuccessful), Certificate of Sponsorship fee, first 2 years of Immigration Skills Charge, Visa fees for GP trainee and their family. Funding is only available until 31 March 2020.

If you are interested in becoming a Tier 2 Sponsor Organisation and would like further information, please contact the IGPR Programme Lead Lindsey Bell The IGPR Programme Team are happy to talk through the process with you either over the phone or in person.

January 2020

The voice for NHS GPs and Practice Teams across North Yorkshire, the City of York, Bradford, Airedale, Wharfedale & Craven districts.