More EU Discrimination – UK Version

As the exodus of doctors and nurses from Croatia to the rest of the EU becomes more and more evident, people have even begun to fight to work without proper UK qualifications. I am currently sitting at work listening to the nurses in Dvor talking about moving and the logistics of working in the UK. These people cannot speak a word of English and are already planning their move to the UK.

A little bit of background story. I grew up mostly in the US, but am not an American citizen. My father was a diplomat and our family started off in McLean, VA when it was a poorer neighborhood of DC. All my childhood friends are from the US and I my mother tongue is English as my parents didn’t really use Malay as a family language. I was never connected to Malaysia and if you asked me to name any of my cousins, I don’t know their names (as they were referred to by nick names). I graduated from NC State University with my Bachelor’s in Biochemistry and after two years, went to University of Zagreb (previously Harvard Medical International) for medical school. I graduated in 2009, passed the Croatian State Exam and got licensed with the Croatian Medical Chamber. I started working on the coast and currently hold a position in the Department of Emergency Medicine Sisak-Moslavina County.

I wanted to specialize in the UK to do my specialization in my mother language. After working in Croatia for years, I would like to live somewhere a bit more normal. All around me, I have seen my colleagues move up north to a better education, better facilities and a more stable life. So I decided to ask the General Medical Council UK and Irish Medical Council about the procedures in which to proceed. Looking only at my nationality, they told me I need to sit for the PLAB or licensing exam again AND take an English language test.

The Croatians have the same qualifications as I do, and having a Bachelor’s Degree in Biochemistry, I’m actually more qualified and have more experience in more facets of medicine.

Dear Sir or Ma’am,

I am confused by the website, because it doesn’t have the information held or it seems unfair for a person in my position. I am a Malaysian citizen who has been living in Croatia for the past 13 years. As a quick background story, my parents were diplomats and I grew up in the USA. Either way, I hope you can see that my English is proficient enough and currently I have to practice medicine in Croatian, which is very difficult.

So I would like to continue my career in the UK. There are a few factors I need answered / addressed. As you know since Croatia joined the EU, there has been a steady flow of Croatian doctors to the EU and some of my colleagues / friends have left and have not needed to pass the PLAB or IELTS. However, I have been told that I need to pass both just based on my nationality and not my qualifications.

I graduated from the University of Zagreb Faculty of Medicine (EU school) as a medical doctor and from North Carolina State University (USA) as a biochemist (pre-med). I hope that I can get information on the bureaucracy of the GMC. I also do not understand the registration to GMC and then the extra fees for registration as a specific type of doctor (GP or specialist).

If I just register to the GMC, does that not mean I’m licensed or is that paying 400 GBP for having my name on a list? Do I still have to pay the 1600 GBP registration fees as a GP, which I assume is a general practitioner?

Thank you for your time in answering my questions.


Dr. Azman


Dear Dr Azman

Thank you for your email about applying for registration.

If a doctor has a European nationality then they have freedom of movement being a member of the European Economic Area (EEA) which is why some of your colleagues who are Croatian don’t need to do the Professional and Linguistic Assessment Board (PLAB) test. However, as your nationality is Malaysian then you are classed as an International Medical Graduate (IMG) and there are four routes to registration:

a. a pass in the PLAB test
b. sponsorship by a GMC approved sponsor
c. possession of an acceptable postgraduate qualification
d. eligibility for entry onto the Specialist or GP Registers.
The annual retention fee for a registered and licensed doctor is £425 per year. The £1600 is an application fee to get onto either the GP or Specialist Register. Once on there then the annual retention fee is the same (currently £425).

If you want to work as a General Practitioner (GP) in the UK then you need to be on the GP register. The application is known as a CEGPR (Certificate of Eligibility onto the GP Register). You would need to read the following specialty specific guidance:

If you would like to discuss this further then please ring our Contact Centre (telephone: 0161 923 6602 (+44 161 923 6602 from outside the UK) who will be happy to help you. We are open Monday to Friday 08:00-18:00 and Saturday 09:00-18:00. Alternatively. please reply to my email.

Yours sincerely


Ann Swire
Contact Centre Adviser
Registration and Revalidation Directorate
Telephone: 0161 923 6602 (+44 161 923 6602 from outside the UK)

It is pure discrimination. I have contacted the EU Ombudsman, but need legal advice to see if I have a case. Since I moved to the EU, I have seen more discrimination, more racism, more segregation of cultures than in North Carolina, one of the southern states.



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