In this new blog series, Lara shares her experience as an oversea-trained physiotherapist working in the UK. From guidance on the HCPC registration process to discussion around UK and international physio news, she hopes to provide help to foreign physios looking to work in the UK - and to connect with those of you who already are!
It is still very much up in the air... We can't ignore the big elephant in the room that is Brexit - especially when you are considering a big change, like leaving everything behind to work and live in a different country.
There is a lot of theories, rumours, and unfortunately vague facts about what is going to happen. The main purpose of this entry is to explain what we currently know and tell you a little bit about what I have experienced. All the information is sourced from both British and international newspapers, and UK regulators that have contacted me indirectly (yes, I have done my homework...).
In June 2016, Britain was called for a referendum to vote yes or no to the question 'Should the United Kingdom leave the European Union?'. The answer, as we all know, was yes to 51.9%. Since then, a complex negotiation process has taken place. The UK did not leave the EU straight away; both parties still have to come to an agreement on the leaving terms before implementing them (and even then these might still take some time to be fully in place).
Against the popular feeling of uncertainty and darkness, the outlook for EU professionals working in the UK still looks very positive. If I've learnt something working here, it's the modelling role that the British community has against discrimination. Without undermining some horrid events that took place after Brexit, my experience has been completely the opposite.
Not only my experience has been super good, but also those around me who have, like me, came to work in the UK. If anything, I have been encouraged to keep growing as a professional and, when the thought of 'maybe I'm not good because I am foreign' threatened my confidence, all my British friends and colleagues were there to dissipate it completely.
Back to Brexit - this is what we currently know:
- The set day to leave the EU is March 29th in 2019. However, it looks like there is a common desire to have a transition period of an additional 3 years to implement what has been agreed as part of the new regulations.
- EU citizens who have been living and working in the UK for 5 years or more before the cut-off date (yet to be announced) can apply for 'settled status' and continue to live here.
- EU citizens who, by the cut-off date, will have lived and worked in the UK for less than 5 years, will be allowed to stay on transition bases and then apply for the 'settled status' once they have lived in the UK for 5 years.
- They will obviously allow new comers to work in the UK. It is not yet clear the regulations for new comers, but it is expected that a permit system similar to the one already in place for non-European workers will be put in place.
Although this is still uncertain as the deal hasn't been made yet, I still think the UK is a great career choice to develop as a health professional. As a European physiotherapist, I also know some non-EU physios that still manage to work and live here. A bit more paperwork but still worth it - otherwise they wouldn't be here! (Watch out for some of these stories in my future entries).
The Chartered Society of Physiotherapy (CSP) and the NHS have been very good in supporting current European physiotherapists and in general members of staff. I have even received an email from both my employer and the CSP expressing their support and role in protecting us against discrimination.
My last advice is to not let fear stop you from following your dreams, like I said in my first post (see here) nothing is impossible.
If you have any queries on how to work in the UK as a foreign-trained physio, don't hesitate to email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or send us a line on messenger via the button below.
About the author
Lara is a Spanish physiotherapist who has been working in the UK for the past 3 years. She's been able to learn from a wide range of physio specialties having worked as a rotational physiotherapist over here; however it hasn't always been easy finding her way and adjusting to the UK system. Since going through the process, she's helped other foreign-trained physios to do so; firstly through her own blog, and now as a QP blogger!