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Working overseas

This section provides general information on opportunities for UK dentists to practise overseas, describing the steps that would need to be taken in order to gain registration in various countries, and covers the immigration rules. This information is intended only as an outline so that individuals can understand the systems overseas. For further information and for precise details of the opportunities that may be available you should contact the relevant bodies in the countries in which you are interested.

To start with, there are two fundamental questions to consider:

  1. Am I eligible to register as a dentist overseas?

  2. What immigration rules do I need to comply with?

These depend on the laws of each country and both are vital. You cannot rely on complying with one criterion because if you do not satisfy the other one as well you could be prevented from practising.

Registration

You will have to register with or be licensed by the appropriate regulatory authority. Dentistry is highly regulated in every country ensuring that only those who have been properly trained and are competent to practise dentistry are able to do so. Regulations and the regulatory authorities differ widely, however. In some federal countries the rules will also differ from region to region within the country. Nevertheless, there are some general guidelines that you should bear in mind:

  • You must have a recognised qualification

  • Many countries will only recognise their own qualification or those of countries with which they have special links or treaties

  • You might have to do extra exams.

To find out about each country in detail, contact the dental association in that country. The FDI (World Dental Federation) has some global dental information on its website.

Immigration

In addition to registration requirements, you need to comply with the country's immigration rules.

You might need a visa or work permit from the government of the country in which you wish to work. Check with their embassy in London, which will tell you the immigration requirements and may be able to issue visas and other necessary papers.

As with many laws, immigration rules can be complex. You must ensure that you have the right to stay in a country and the right to work there. Many visas are principally for tourists and if you rely on them to take up employment you may be contravening that country's law. Generally, the kind of criteria that countries require include:

  • That immigrants have a specific skill (for example dentistry)

  • That there is a need for their skills

  • That they will be able to support themselves and their dependants without relying on welfare payments.