Choosing to relocate to Ireland and work as a GP is a life-changing decision.
Is it something that you’re thinking about?
We understand that this is not a quick or easy decision. There are lots of things to consider, and a lot of planning and preparation once the decision has been made.
But relocating could be one of the best decisions you ever make. More than 90,000 people chose to do the same in 2018.
That’s why we’re here to help. Take a look at our top 8 tips for relocating and working as a GP in Ireland.
1. Research Living and Working as a GP in Ireland
The first thing to consider is whether moving to Ireland is the right thing to do for you.
Building a life in a new country is extremely exciting and opens up a huge number of new opportunities and experiences. It can also be hugely challenging, daunting, and stressful. Only you can decide if it is the right thing for you to do.
Before you do anything, consider if it’s something that you really want to do. If you can, visit Ireland for a holiday to explore the country, and find out whether it is somewhere that you could see yourself living and working.
Also, consider the realities of working as a GP in Ireland.
There are many reasons to work in the Irish healthcare system. Ireland’s healthcare system was listed as the 8th best in the world by the OECD Better Life Index. Healthcare workers also enjoy high salaries in Ireland. For example, a junior doctor can expect to earn between €43,000 and €51,000 a year.
In Ireland, there is an important focus on work-life balance and employee satisfaction. This showed in an EU-wide Eurobarometer survey in 2018. It found that employees in Ireland are happier with their work-life balance than many others in the EU. Up to 84% of people said that they were ‘very satisfied’ or ‘fairly satisfied’ with their work-life balance.
A survey in 2016 also showed that Irish workers are the fourth happiest in the world.
Take the time to think about living and working in a new country, and make sure it’s a decision that you’re happy to make.
2. Make Sure That You Have a Visa or Work Permit
You may need to get permission to work as a doctor in Ireland. This is done by applying for a work permit or visa.
The Atypical Working Visa allows GPs to work as locums for up to 90 days. It typically takes 8 weeks to receive the outcome of your visa application.
An Employment Permit is required for full-time work for 3 months or more. The current waiting time for this work permit is 13 weeks.
You can check if you need an Irish visa or employment permit here.
3. Register With the Irish Medical Council
Before you can work as a GP in Ireland, you’ll need to register with the Irish Medical Council.
The Medical Council is the regulatory body of doctors in Ireland, with more than 19,000 doctors registered. If you can, it’s a good idea to check that you’re eligible—and complete your registration—before you arrive in Ireland.
You can check that you’re eligible to join the Irish Medical Council quickly and easily here.
You can then complete your application online. You’ll need to create an account on the Medical Council website, which you can do by clicking here.
You’ll then be asked to upload a variety of documents. These could include an application form and a certificate of your current professional status. You may also be asked to pay a fee. This is all clearly explained as you progress through the online application process.
The Irish Medical Council will then review the documents that you have provided. If these meet the criteria that they need, you’ll be asked to send paper copies by post. Your registration will be completed within 6 weeks of the Medical Council receiving your paperwork.
Remember you have to complete this process and register with the Irish Medical Council before you can work in Ireland.
4. Get Professional Indemnity Insurance
Professional Indemnity (PI) Insurance is required if you are working as a GP in Ireland. This gives you legal protection in case you are accused of—or responsible for—a mistake or negligence whilst caring for a patient.
Some practices and hospitals provide their employees with PI insurance. It is highly recommended that you discuss the arrangements in place with your employer.
If PI Insurance is not included in your employment, then it is important that you ensure you are legally protected.
Your employer will be able to discuss this in detail with you. The Medical Protection Society (MPS) is the biggest insurer in Ireland, and it is likely that you’ll be able to easily secure cover with them. They will also be able to provide any advice that you may need.
5. Decide Where You’re Going to Live
Once you’re ready to move to Ireland, you will need to find yourself a home.
What type of areas are you interested in? Would you like to live in a busy city, or in a quieter and more rural spot?
Dublin is the capital of Ireland and is an exciting city to live in. Limerick, Cork, and Galway are also popular cities in the country. But you’ll also find vast areas of beautiful open land in Ireland, if you crave being part of a smaller community amongst nature.
If you’re relocating with your family, it may also be a good idea to look into employment opportunities in other professions for any family members joining you, and local schools if you’ll be moving with children.
Ireland is relatively easy to get around, especially in and between cities where there is plenty of public transport, including buses and trains.
You can also hire a rental car when you arrive. It’s useful to remember that you’ll need a credit card and driver’s license in your name, and there may be certain age restrictions.
6. Apply for a PPS Number
Once you’ve arrived in Ireland and want to begin work, you’ll need to apply for a Personal Public Service (PPS) number. This is like a personal tax number, that allows you to access local services and get paid your salary.
You’ll give this PPS number to your employer. If you don’t, they’ll have to take a lot of tax from your salary.
To get your PPS number, you’ll need to make an appointment at your local Social Welfare Office once you’re in Ireland. You’ll need to give them an address. If you haven’t settled on accommodation yet, or your accommodation is temporary, then you can give your work address.
7. Open an Irish Bank Account
You’ll also need to give your employer your bank account details so that they can pay you your salary.
To set up a bank account, make an appointment with an Irish bank. They’ll need proof of address and an offer letter of employment, to show that you have secured work.
They’ll then be able to open your Irish bank account.
8. Make Sure That You Pay Income Tax
If you’re working in Ireland, you may have to submit a tax return. This depends on the arrangement that you have with your employer and is something that you should discuss with them.
The Irish financial year runs from 1 January to 31 December. You need to make sure that you have paid all of the income tax you are supposed to before the government deadline. Otherwise, you risk an expensive fine.
You can easily submit a tax return form online, and find out about deadlines and requirements.
Working as a GP in Ireland
Working as a GP in Ireland is exciting, varied and hugely rewarding. Like every country, working in the healthcare system is unique. It’ll take you some time to get used to the Irish system, and your new working environment.
It’s likely that you’ll have a lot of patients. On average, GPs in Ireland have 861 patients. There are lots of people who need help, and it will be your job to care for them.
These patients will be from a mixture of public and private healthcare plans. You will probably be working with patients from both, treating a range of symptoms.
Follow these tips to make sure that you’re as prepared as possible to relocate to work as a GP in Ireland. Once you’re there, enjoy your new home and your new job!
If you feel that this is a step that you are ready to take, you can register with us to find job opportunities in Ireland. If you would like more information, take a look at our FAQs or contact us today.