What is the MTI?

The Medical Training Initiative (MTI) scheme allows overseas doctors to undertake up to two years of training and experience in the UK.

Under the supervision of a fully qualified NHS medical consultant, trainee doctors on the MTI scheme receive core and/or specialty medical training to the same standards as UK national trainees. Wherever possible, the training programme is tailored to suit the MTI doctor’s educational objectives and will take into account the type of work that will be done by the doctor upon returning home.

In addition to receiving up to 24 months of specialised medical training, doctors on the MTI scheme have the opportunity to attend a variety of workshops and seminars, gain fellowship to their relevant medical royal college and in some instances, sit their Medical Royal College Part 2 examination.

Minimum criteria for acceptance onto the MTI scheme

Minimum Criteria for acceptance onto the MTI Scheme

  • Appropriate postgraduate medical qualification
  • Part 1 College Exam or equivalent (to UK version, check with your relevant royal college)
  • Three years minimum postgraduate experience (four years for Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists)
  • International English Language Test System (IELTS) or Occupational English Test (OET)
    • A score of at least 7.0 in each of the testing areas of the academic test (speaking, listening, reading and writing)  as well as  a  score of  no less than 7.5 overall in IELTS or a grade of B or above in each testing area in OET.
  • References from home nation (?) Supervising Consultants/Fellows of the appropriate royal college
  • Resident overseas at time of application
  • Willing to return to your home country following completion of the MTI training in the UK.

Scheme prioritisation and allocation

The primary purpose of the MTI scheme is to contribute to improving the quality of healthcare in developing countries. Whilst doctors from developed countries can apply, the main intention of the scheme is to provide doctors from developing countries with a period of training and development in the NHS before returning to their home countries where their patients and colleagues can benefit from the skills and experience they have obtained in the UK.

The mechanism demonstrates support for the Department for Health’s main focus, which is for doctors from the lower income countries to benefit from the scheme. In order to fulfil this aim, applications will be accepted in the following order of priority based on the categories of (1) Low income, (2) Lower middle income, (3) Upper middle income, and (4) High income countries as listed by the World Bank.

Within each category, applications will be processed by the Academy in order of receipt.

Once we have received all the required information, we will endeavour to process applications for new Tier 5 Certificates of Sponsorship according to the timescales given below, all subject to availability of allocation of certificates provided by the UK Visas and Immigration Department of the UK Government.

Low-income countries – within five business days of acknowledgement of receipt.

Lower middle-income countries – within two weeks of acknowledgement of receipt.

Other Countries – within three weeks of acknowledgement of receipt where there is capacity following issuance for the above two groups of countries.


What organisations should I know about?

Medical royal colleges

Each UK medical royal college  is responsible for a different speciality within the medical field. Their work includes:

  • Improving standards in clinical practice
  • Supporting consultant and trainee doctors through education and training
  • Supporting international development in the medical field.

Every doctor who applies to the MTI Scheme must gain written sponsorship from the relevant medical royal college international scheme or relevant NHS employing organisation that runs an international recruitment scheme prior to their Tier 5 certificate of sponsorship application.

For more information see the relevant medical royal college website.

General Medical Council

The General Medical Council (GMC) registers doctors to practise medicine in the UK. Their purpose is to protect patients and improve medical education and practice in the UK by setting standards for students and doctors.

Every doctor who applies to the MTI scheme must first register with the GMC and obtain a full licence to practise. This is done through the relevant Royal College or NHS organisation during the process of applying to their international sponsorship scheme.

Medical Deaneries

The deaneries are responsible for the management and delivery of postgraduate medical education and for the continuing professional development of all doctors and dentists.

This includes ensuring that all training posts provide the necessary opportunities for doctors and dentists in training to realise their full potential and provide high quality patient care.

The deaneries are also responsible for trainers, educational supervisors and educational leaders, their training needs and educational development.

Commonwealth Scholarships Commission (CSC)

The CSC is an executive non-departmental public body, sponsored by the Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office and the Scottish Government (for developed Commonwealth countries) in conjunction with UK universities.  It awards funding for candidates from low and middle income countries. to around seven trainee doctors a year for specialty training on the MTI Scheme.

The National Advice Centre for Postgraduate Dental Education

For dentists applying to the MTI scheme it is worth noting that there are major differences regarding registration, sponsorship and availability of posts.  Potential candidates should contact the National Advice Centre for Postgraduate Dental Education for further information.