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Coming to Work in the UK from Abroad

OperatingPet Doctors welcomes applications from qualified veterinary surgeons of all nationalities providing you:

  • have been fully qualified for two or more years
  • have worked in a small animal practice in the UK for at least two years
  • are able to communicate fluently in English

Before applying, you also need to consider the following:

Does your degree get you immediate RCVS registration?

This is an essential requirement.

Applicants must allow adequate time for their applications to be processed before intending to start work.  In a straightforward case this may take approximately six to eight weeks.

The entitlement to be registered as a member of the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons (RCVS) is determined by the Veterinary Surgeons Act 1966.

The Act provides that only those named on the RCVS Register may practise veterinary surgery in the United Kingdom and that they must have the requisite knowledge and skill to do so.  This knowledge and skill must also meet or exceed the minimum EU training requirements.

Cat spayEligibility for registration is based either on having a recognised qualification or passing the RCVS Statutory Examination for Membership.

Qualifications currently recognised are listed below:

  • Degrees awarded by the six veterinary schools in the United Kingdom
  • European Union qualifications listed in the Directive 2005/36/EC:  Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark,  Finland, France, Germany, Greece,  Ireland, Italy, Lithuania, Luxembourg,  The Netherlands, Norway,  Portugal,  Spain, Sweden, Switzerland,
  • Accession Countries:  Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Poland, Slovakia,  Slovenia, Romania, Bulgaria
  • Foreign and Commonwealth qualifications recognised by RCVS Council which are also shown to meet the minimum EU training requirements for practice only within the United Kingdom, which currently are:  Australia, New Zealand , South Africa , USA and  Canada


Nationality is not a factor in determining eligibility to be registered, except in relation to those with EU qualifications, who must be nationals of an EU member state or community rights entitled persons.

Inelligible applicants

Graduates of veterinary schools and colleges from a country that is not listed above, and non-EU nationals or those without a community rights entitlement with EU degrees, are normally required to sit and pass the RCVS Statutory Examination for Membership

Veterinary SurgeonIn exceptional circumstances, veterinary surgeons who are ineligible for registration in the UK, may be granted Temporary Registration (refer to RCVS website) in order that they can carry out specific veterinary-related activities in a restricted capacity.

Do you need a work permit?

If you are from outside the *European Economic Area (EEA) and Switzerland we may be able to assist you with your Tier 2 application to enter, stay and work in the UK under the new points-based system introduced by the Home Office at the end of November 2010.  Please refer to the Tier 2 (General) page on the UK Border Agency website

You will need to show that you meet all the requirements of the immigration rules and in particular that you have enough points to qualify.  Points can be scored in different ways and will be awarded to reflect your ability, experience, age and the level of need within the veterinary sector that you will be working. 

On accepting a position with us, following a successful interview, and, subject to satisfactory references being obtained, you will be given every support with your Work Permit application.  We have recruited many Veterinary Surgeons from overseas in the past and will continue to do so, as we recognise that there are not enough homegrown graduates to satisfy UK demand.

To find out what vacancies we currently have available, within Pet Doctors, please click here.

* European Economic Area (EEA)
Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Irish Republic, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, United Kingdom.  Iceland, Liechenstein and Norway are not members of the European Union (EU) but citizens of these countries have the same rights to enter, live and work in the United Kingdom as EU citizens.