The MTI Scheme Explained

MTI (Medical Training Initiative) is a two-year sponsorship scheme providing an entry route to a limited number of international medical graduates (...

MTI (Medical Training Initiative) is a two-year sponsorship scheme providing an entry route to a limited number of international medical graduates (IMGs) who wish to train and develop their skills within the NHS. After completion, the graduate returns to their home country equipped with their new-found knowledge and experience. 

Several Royal colleges and Institutions, including the Royal College of Physicians, offer the scheme to improve healthcare in other countries while filling skills gaps and vacant NHS positions in UK hospitals. 

The scheme operates under a Government Authorised Exchange Visa (previously known as the tier 5 temporary worker visa), allowing overseas nationals to enter the UK to undertake education initiatives sponsored by government departments. NHS Professionals provide the immigration sponsorship on behalf of the Department of Health.  


This video explains everything you'll need to know and you can skip ahead using these chapters: 

  • 00:00 - Introduction 
  • 00:31 - What is the MTI Scheme? 
  • 01:20 - Should I apply for the MTI Scheme? 
  • 02:20 - How to apply for the MTI Scheme? 
  • 03:35 - Government Authorised Exchange Visa Application 
  • 05:09 - Which route to take for GMC Registration? 
  • 07:17 - Summary 

Useful Links

For a full written article on the MTI Scheme you can check out our comprehensive guide

Get in Touch

BDI Resourcing are experts in international recruitment for the NHS. We've helped thousands of IMGs find their dream role in the UK. If you are hoping to make that move then please email your CV and we'll be happy to discuss your options. 


You can read the full transcript of this video as follows:


00:08 Most IMG doctors when they're moving to the UK,

00:11 think of either the PLAB or the Royal College

00:13 examination routes to prove their clinical skills and knowledge.

00:17 But there is a third route

00:19 which doesn't require any clinical exams.

00:21 It's called the MTI.

00:23 The Medical Training Initiative.

00:25 And in this video, we're going to explain all about

00:27 what that is and how you can possibly achieve it.

What is the MTI Scheme?

00:34 The MTI scheme is an initiative set up between

00:37 the GMC and the rural colleges across the United

00:40 Kingdom with the aim of providing training and skills

00:44 to international doctors who can then take them back

00:46 to their native healthcare systems whilst also plugging vital

00:50 gaps in the NHS.

00:51 So the idea is that international doctors can

00:54 apply to the royal colleges, receive sponsorship to

00:57 get their GMC registration and then come to

00:59 the UK for a maximum of two years.

01:01 During that time, they'll do work service

01:04 job in the NHS, as well as

01:06 working towards often a royal college qualification.

01:09 So they're gathering and gaining skills whilst they're

01:11 here, which they can then take back to

01:13 their home country after that two year period

01:16 and benefit the healthcare system overseas.

Should I apply for the MTI Scheme?

01:23 It's generally aimed at doctors who

01:25 are at a more junior level.

01:27 So the objective is that you've done at least

01:30 one year in your chosen field of specialism.

01:33 So it might be that you've done your internship, plus

01:36 one or two years of experience in, let's say, medicine.

01:40 And one of the key criteria is that

01:42 you've studied towards some kind of qualification already.

01:45 So you might have done MRCP Part 1

01:48 or DNB or something along those lines.

01:50 And then the objective, of course, is that you

01:52 come to the UK to finish those clinical exams.

01:55 So if you've done MRCP Part 1, the objective might be

01:58 during the two years to complete Part 2 and PACES.

02:01 So it is aimed at more junior doctors.

02:04 If you are a senior level doctor, it's probably

02:07 not going to be the pathway for you.

02:08 You might be better off, better suited to something

02:12 that includes a role college, completion of all exams

02:15 before coming to the UK through that pathway.

How to apply for the MTI Scheme?

02:22 For the application process, you'll

02:24 make the whole thing online.

02:25 So visit the aomrc's website, you pay £125 and you

02:31 can submit your CV, your IELTS application and a cover email

02:36 to the Royal College that you wish to apply to.

02:39 You'll then receive a response

02:40 back inviting you to interview.

02:42 And there is an interview process which costs

02:45 £725 and obviously it will be subject

02:48 to availability and where there is a demand

02:50 for your services at that point in time.

02:54 It's a traditional examination suited

02:57 to a junior doctor.

02:59 So you'll be asked clinical scenarios about your

03:01 ambitions to work in the NHS, your suitability

03:03 for the programme and so on.

03:06 Once you've completed that, it'll be up to

03:08 ten days to wait for the outcome and

03:12 hopefully, if you are successful, you'll then be

03:14 able to make your GMC application online.

03:17 It's a standard GMC application, so you'll do it

03:19 on the GMC's website and you'll be asked for

03:22 the usual things like your certificates of good standing,

03:24 your primary medical qualification and so on.

03:27 And once you've done that, you've obtained your GMC

03:30 registration and it's on to making your Visa application.

Government Authorised Exchange Visa Application

03:37 The visa that you'll apply to is

03:39 called a Government authorised exchange visa.

03:42 You might have heard this called as a Tier 5,

03:44 which is what it was previously known as.

03:46 It's actually a pretty standard visa application process,

03:49 just has a different name attached to it.

03:52 So your employer, this will be the hospital

03:54 that has agreed to offer you a job.

03:56 They will issue you a certificate of sponsorship

04:00 that will contain all of your details for

04:02 your employment, as well as your own individual

04:04 personal details from your passport and so on.

04:07 You'll use that to go to the

04:09 GovUK website, make an online application for

04:12 the Government Authorised exchange visa.

04:15 Processing times are around 3 weeks, so assuming

04:18 you've got all of your documents and your

04:20 certificate of sponsorship in hand, you should have

04:22 that back within 3 weeks.

04:24 It's important to note, though, that the Government

04:27 authorised exchange visas are limited visas, so you

04:31 can think of them almost as student visas.

04:33 So you're enabled to come to the UK for the amount

04:35 of time that's set out on that visa, at which point

04:38 you've got to return back to your home country.

04:41 So that doesn't count towards

04:43 indefinite leave to remain.

04:44 It doesn't mean that you'd be able to count

04:46 the years that you're here towards your residency.

04:48 You're very much here on a temporary basis

04:50 and the objective is that you return home

04:52 at the end of that period.

04:54 So if you're looking to come to the UK for a

04:56 longer period of time, you're looking to settle in the UK,

04:58 then it might be worth considering either the PLAB or the

05:01 Royal College routes, which are a bit more suited to people

05:04 who are looking to stay for the longer term.

Which route to take for GMC Registration?

05:11 A lot of people ask us about the MTI scheme because

05:14 they often see it as a shortcut to GMC registration.

05:18 The reality is, it's the only route

05:20 that doesn't involve any clinical assessment exams.

05:23 So I think a lot of people see it as

05:25 perhaps a more accessible route, an easier route to get

05:28 in GMC, but in reality, it is quite a specific

05:32 and niche programme aimed at a specific type of doctor.

05:35 So if you're a more senior doctor, I don't think the

05:37 MTI scheme is very likely going to be for you.

05:40 If you are a junior doctor that happens to reside

05:43 in a lower income country, which tend to be the

05:45 ones that receive most places, and you've completed MRCP 1,

05:50 or part of your DNB, or part of a training

05:53 programme of some sort, then you're probably at that perfect

05:56 moment where it would be worthwhile.

05:58 That said, don't consider it as an option if you're looking to

06:02 settle long term in the UK, because you are going to be

06:04 asked to return at the end of the two years.

06:06 Now, of course, there's nothing stopping you then

06:08 using that GMC registration to come back later

06:11 on in your career, but the time that

06:13 you spend during the MTI programme wouldn't count

06:16 towards any indefinite leave to remain.

06:18 So I think it's, on balance, one of those schemes

06:22 that is quite limited and actually, a lot of people

06:25 see it as a shortcut, but when they realise the

06:27 ins and outs of it, they think, actually, it's probably

06:30 better to invest the time in either sitting PLAB or

06:33 one of the Royal College exams.

06:34 That said, if it works perfectly for

06:36 you, then it's going to be great.

06:37 I'll leave you with one statistic from the

06:39 Royal College of Physicians website, which states that

06:42 there's only 300 doctors on the MCI programme

06:45 at any given point in time.

06:47 And I think that that is quite telling.

06:49 The 300 doctors is a very, very small

06:51 number for the largest of the Royal Colleges.

06:54 So, yes, there's a chance that you could

06:56 be one of those 300, but also there

06:59 are thousands of doctors that come through the

07:01 PLAB and Royal College routes every single year.

07:04 You've probably got much better odds if you were

07:07 to take the harder route, but find yourself in

07:11 a much better position in terms of finding a

07:13 career and settling long term in the UK.


07:20 If you're a doctor that is interested in working

07:22 in the UK and you're looking to come through

07:24 the MTI or the PLAB or the Royal College

07:26 routes, then please do get in touch with us.

07:28 We're looking to help as many international doctors as

07:31 we possibly can, and we've helped over 1500 doctors

07:34 find roles in the NHS into over 100 trusts,

07:38 so please do get in touch.

07:39 We'll put our contact details up just

07:41 at the end of the video.