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PLAB test versus the medical training initiative

Written by: BMJ Careers
Published on: 25 Oct 2019

plab test vs mti

Download the BMJ Guide for Indian Doctors to Working in the UK here.

There has never been a better time for Indian doctors to consider moving to the UK to work. The NHS is short-staffed and reliant upon overseas doctors. As a result, the UK government has relaxed its cap on Tier 2 visas and provided more resources to training schemes for overseas doctors.
However, many find the different routes and options confusing to navigate. With this in mind, BMJ Careers have produced an in-depth guide for Indian doctors on working in the UK.
The first decision is whether to attempt to secure a place on a time-limited training scheme for international doctors or take the Professional and Linguistic Assessments Board Test (PLAB) to gain registration with the General Medical Council (GMC). Doctors cannot work in the UK without being registered.
Training schemes
The Medical Training Initiative is run by the Academy of Royal Colleges and is the best known of the international training schemes in the NHS. Others are also available via the British Association of Physicians of Indian Origin (BAPIO). 
The advantage of these training schemes is that doctors can apply for and
undertake the initial tests at various locations in India, after which they are matched with ‘training’ jobs in the UK. This is the swiftest way to progress your career. The Academy also takes care of your registration with the GMC and provides an extensive support network.
The big disadvantage is that these schemes are time-limited. Doctors on Tier 5 visas are expected to return home after two years.
PLAB test
If not on a training scheme, then Indian doctors must pass the PLAB test as well as
an English language test. These tests are unlikely to be difficult for Indian doctors, as their medical education will be similar to UK doctors. However, the second part of the exam must be taken in the UK.

Indian doctors with a UK job offer will be given Tier 2 visas, which means they are sponsored by the employer. These last up to five years, after which doctors can apply to settle permanently in the UK. However, the jobs are unlikely to have teaching elements or protected time for study (so called non-training jobs). This means it can take longer to progress your career.
Would you like more information about the PLAB test and tips for applying for jobs in the UK? Download the guide for Indian doctors wanting to work in the UK.