Students who require a visa in order to work in the UK after graduation should read the following information carefully.
In order to practice as a pharmacist in the UK, students must complete the MPharm programme successfully, undergo one-year pre-registration training and pass the licensing examination conducted by the General Pharmaceutical Council.
From 6th April 2012, arrangements were introduced enabling overseas students to switch to a Tier 2 (General) visa for pre-registration training. There is a minimum salary requirement for Tier 2 posts (see https://www.gov.uk/guidance/immigration-rules/immigration-rules-appendix-j-codes-of-practice-for-skilled-work, Table 2) At time of writing (April 2018) this is set at £22,128 per year for a 37.5 hour week for both public and private pre-registration pharmacist posts. Hospital pre-registration placements usually pay at this level.
If the employer (e.g. hospital) is registered with the UKVI as a Tier 2 sponsor then an overseas student can be sponsored for a Tier 2 visa by the employer in order to undertake the pre-registration training. Students must be aware that these pre-registration places are limited and are awarded competitively at the discretion of the employer. The posts will be open to all MPharm graduates so students needing Tier 2 sponsorship should be aware that Home and EU students will probably also be applying for these places. Students should also be aware that the minimum salary band is regularly reviewed by the UK government and is subject to change.
Students needing a Tier 2 visa will also need to meet other eligibility criteria. For more information please visit the UK government website at www.gov.uk/tier-2-general/overview
Tier 5 Youth Mobility Scheme
Students from the following countries may be eligible to apply for a two year work visa under the Tier 5 Youth Mobility Scheme:
- Hong Kong
- New Zealand
- Republic of Korea
This scheme is also available to holders of British Overseas Territories passports and British Nationals (Overseas).
To apply under Tier 5 (Youth Mobility), you must be aged between 18 and 30, and you must have £1,890 in your personal bank account on the date on which you apply for entry clearance.
For further information visit: https://www.gov.uk/tier-5-youth-mobility/overview
Other options for international students
There may be other options for international students and students may wish to take professional advice to discuss individual circumstances. There is also a useful fact sheet produced by the Pharmacist Support charity which can be found at www.pharmacistsupport.org/fact-sheets/international-students-immigration-issues/
Students joining the MPharm programme should have no issues with post-graduation visa requirements if they either have the automatic right to work in the UK (for example, as UK or EU passport holders) or will be able to undertake pre-registration back in their respective home countries in order to qualify as a practising pharmacist after completing the UK MPharm degree. However, overseas students who join the MPharm programme and hope to carry out pre-registration training in the UK must be aware that Tier 2 visa opportunities will inevitably be limited and cannot be guaranteed by the UCL School of Pharmacy.
If you have any further questions please contact the UCL School of Pharmacy Student and Academic Support Office (SASO) at firstname.lastname@example.org or on +44 (0) 20 7753 5831.