How long does it take to be able to work as an AHP in the UK when moving from Australia??

So mid 2015 I did something a bit crazy…my partner and I decided to pack our bags and move from sunny Australia to the United Kingdom. We both had the travel bug and decided what better to cure it than moving to the UK where we could travel around Europe for next to nothing  and work our dream jobs.

By this stage I was a qualified dietitian with about 12 months experience and I had no idea where to start or what kind of job I would be able to get. I spoke to a few colleagues working abroad who told me that the money (and the travel) is in locum work and they hooked me up with an agency.

What I didn’t realise at the time is how long the whole process could take, so I thought I would write a blog post to point my fellow potential travelling allied health professionals in the right direction.


1. The HCPC process ~ 6 months (link to: )

For anyone travelling to the UK from abroad and is looking to transfer their degree over BEWARE! This process does take A LOT of time, there is potentially, a lot of sending of documentation back and forth and that’s not even to mention the cost!

It costs around $1000 AUD (£500) to get them to look at your documentation and then there is a further fee to register which I think is around $350 AUD (£125). I would recommend getting this one started well in advance of you leaving home to avoid any stress when you’re on the move and you want to start applying for jobs. You will also be required to collect a lot of information from your University and past employers so need to be at home to do this ideally, this adds time on top of the 6 months it takes to process everything, so take that all in to account.

2. Compliance

Once you contact an agency, RIG Healthcare in my case, your consultant will send you a list of all the documentation you need to work as an Allied Health Professional in the UK. These types of things include forms, VISA’s, passport photos, public liability insurance, immunisations and HCPC membership. I found it really helpful to get in touch with them a few months before coming over so I could get it all sorted, not have to worry about sending forms, docs etc once on the road and also to get an idea of the job market.

3. Visa’s (link to:

You can apply for a working visa approximately 3 months prior to leaving for the UK, check the website to see if you are eligible.


Once you are all registered and ready to go it pays to be flexible as to where you initially want to work so you can secure something to step straight in to once you arrive so you don’t end up working in a café or shop for minimum wage and wasting your skills. This flexibility also allows you to explore the different areas of the UK and make a choice as to where you might settle for a while, if at all….

I have been working at an incredible job in Exeter (which is down in the South West of England.)  I am gaining  an incredible amount of clinical experience compared to what I would be getting back home and the best part is I get to go on a 2 month trip around Europe for the summer without having to worry about applying for annual leave. I’m meeting great new people and building my life experience at the same time – what’s not to love?!


Jess Luongo

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