Non-EEA pharmacy graduates will require a work visa to enable them to undertake pre-registration training in the UK.
Current MPharm Students
Graduates with a Tier 4 student visa cannot use this for their pre-registration training as their Tier 4 visa does not allow them to work for the full 12-month period of pre-registration training. Most, but not all, non-EEA pharmacy graduates use Tier 2 (General) visas for pre-registration training. Some pharmacy graduates will already have another type of visa that enables them to work in the UK e.g. a spouse visa.
Pharmacy graduates wishing to switch from a Tier 4 visa to a Tier 2 (General) visa must have a masters level degree from a registered UK higher education institute plus sponsorship from a licensed sponsor. The sponsor will issue the applicant with a certificate of sponsorship (CoS) assuming that they meet all the eligibility criteria and the applicant can then apply for the Tier 2 visa within three months before the day they are due to start work in the UK.
The Resident Labour Market Test (RLMT)
Part of the process of issuing a CoS involves the sponsor demonstrating that there are no suitable applicants from the UK, EEA or with settled status (indefinite leave to remain) who could fill the post by carrying out a Resident Labour Market Test (RLMT).
Sponsors of students wishing to switch from a Tier 4 visa to a Tier 2 visa are exempt from carrying out a Resident Labour Market Test. This is as the applicant falls into the category of having graduated from a UK university with a recognised degree (MPharm or MSc OSPAP) and is making an in-country switch from Tier 4 to Tier 2.
This is a once only exemption to the RLMT at the point of switching from Tier 4 and the applicant must be in the UK at the time. If the sponsor was subject to carrying out the RLMT, they would be required to allocate the CoS within six months of the date that the job vacancy was first advertised.
Overseas Pharmacists Assessment Programme (OSPAP) students
OSPAP students who are undertaking an OSPAP MSc and who have a Tier 4 student visa are eligible for a Tier 2 visa and can be treated in the same way as UK or EEA applicants.
OSPAP PGDip students are not eligible for a Tier 2 visa as they are studying for a diploma and therefore will not score highly enough within the points based immigration process to be eligible for a Tier 2 visa.
Please visit The UK Border Agency for the most up to date information on immigration policy and we would advise all applicants with visa requirements to refer to the UK Visas and Immigration website.