Frequently Asked Questions

If you are excited about the possibilities of working in Northern Ireland, we will be delighted to hear from you. We promise a very warm welcome to everyone who joins our teams, and we will do everything to ensure your move here is seamless, and you and your family quickly settle and feel at home.

When will I be paid?
Your salary is paid directly into your UK bank account on the third clear banking day before the end of each month.

How is my Tax paid?
Everyone in Northern Ireland must pay income tax and National Insurance on all earnings. For doctors employed in the HSC this is deducted at source from your salary before you receive it

How much Tax will I pay? Most people are entitled to receive a tax free allowance. This amount is determined by Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs (HRMC), but for the 2016/17 tax year, the basic tax free allowance is £11,000. This means the first £11,000 of your earnings is tax free. Any earnings over the tax free allowance will be taxable.        

Each month, tax will be deducted from your pay.  Typically this deduction will be 20% of your earnings above the tax free allowance.

More information regarding income tax can be found at: 

Please note: you do not typically receive your tax free allowance in your first months’ pay. This is because HRMC must communicate the appropriate tax free allowance to the HSC Payroll Department.  Once HSC Payroll have received this information they will recalculate your tax to ensure that you have not over contributed.    

How much National Insurance will I pay?
National Insurance contributions are currently paid at the following rates:        
Monthly Earnings   
Between £672 and £3583: 12%      
Over £3583: 2%    
More information on national insurance can be found here: 

When can I bring my family with me?
It is recommended that you make the move to Northern Ireland and gain your NMC registration before you bring your family. This will also give you time to find suitable accommodation. You will be responsible for organising the Visa requirements for your family members which will be subject to Home Office requirements and approvals.

When can I seek Permanent Residency?
You will initially come with a 3 year visa after which you can apply for an extension. In most cases,
based on current rules, you can apply for Permanent Residency after 5 years. All applications are subject to Home Office requirements and approvals.    

How much Leave will I have?
Specialty Doctors in full time appointments are entitled to 25 days’ annual leave per annum upon commencement, rising to 30 days’ annual leave per annum after 2 years’ service in the Specialty Doctor gradeIn addition, Specialty Doctors are also entitled to 12 Statutory / Public Holidays which are set days throughout the year as follows:

  • 1st January - 1 day
  • 17th March: 1 day
  • Easter: 2 days (dates change each year)
  • May Day: 1 day (first Monday in May)
  • Spring Bank Holiday: 1 day (last Monday in May)
  • 12th & 13th July: 1 day
  • August Bank Holiday: 1 day (last Monday in August)
  • 25th, 26th & 27th December: 3 days

Please note: the above may be subject to local variation where up to 2 of the stated days may be converted to annual leave.

Annual leave and Statutory / Public holidays are calculated pro rata for part time staff. 

Also, if you start part way through the year you will receive a proportionate amount of annual leave for that year according to the number of months remaining. 

If you are required to work on a statutory / public holiday you will receive time off in lieu at mutually convenient time for both you and the service. 

When can I take my annual leave?
Annual leave can be booked through your line manager. You will normally be expected to give at least 6 weeks’ notice of annual leave requests, particularly if you are wanting a block of time off. You will be able to check your individual Trust arrangements on arrival.

Is there any difference in pay rates across the Trusts for a Speciality Doctor?
No, all Trusts are required to pay salaries according to the Medical and Dental Pay Circular issued by the Department of Health (Northern Ireland). The pay-scales within the circular apply equally to the whole of Northern Ireland.

Can I move to another Trust after a few months? No, your visa and associated Certificate of Sponsorship (COS) is for a single employer which will not permit you to move Trusts. If on the longer term and whilst you remain on a COS, you apply to a new position in another Trust it would be subject to you obtaining a new COS. The COS can only be issued where the post is on the shortage occupation list and where there is no suitable worker in the resident labour market. Once you obtain permanent residency then you will be free to apply for positions as you wish.

Can I apply for senior positions in Northern Ireland?
Yes, providing you meet the essential criteria specified for the post.All Trusts in Northern Ireland work to ensure Equality and Diversity in Northern Ireland. This means that there is equality of opportunity. Whilst you are in Northern Ireland under a Certificate of Sponsorship (COS), you will be restricted to posts for which you can have a COS issued. The COS can only be issued where the post is on the shortage occupation list and where there is no suitable worker in the resident labour market.

If I don’t stay for the full 3 years of my initial visa what will I have to repay?
The HSC is offering you a permanent post subject to Home Office restrictions. If you choose to leave the employment of the HSC prior to the expiry of your first 3 year visa you will be expected to repay
the support that has been afforded to you. This will include the training for your IELTS, your CBT examinations and the OSCE examinations. Full details would be discussed with you should this situation arise.

Who pays for the Visa Application?
The visa application is covered under an arrangement between TTM and the HSC. The Health Surcharge which must be paid as part of your visa application will initially be paid for you, however, this cost will be repayable to the HSC over an agreed period following commencement of your employment.

Can I visit family in the South of Ireland?
There are restrictions in place for those who enter the UK (which includes Northern Ireland) on a Tier 2 Work Visa. The UK and Ireland combined form the ‘common travel area’ (CTA). If you enter the CTA as a tourist, you can travel anywhere within it. However if you enter the CTA on a specific work visa (such as a UK Tier 2), then you can only work and visit the UK. You cannot enter the Republic of Ireland as a tourist without a specific visitor visa, as you cannot switch visas once you have entered the CTA. This means that to enter the Republic of Ireland you will need to obtain a specific tourist visa which may or may not be possible when on a Tier 2 Visa.
(We are currently seeking clarification on the ability of someone on a Tier 2 Visa to obtain a visitor’s visa for the Republic of Ireland).

Are the contracts permanent?
The offers being made for Specialty Doctor posts are permanent but as you will be subject to Home Office restrictions in line with your visa then your employment must be managed in accordance with those restrictions. However, providing that you have leave to remain in the UK then the posts will remain open to you.  If you obtain permanent leave to remain then you will be confirmed into a permanent post (subject to satisfactory performance). 

Who pays for airfares?
This will be covered through arrangements between TTM and the HSC.

Date of Issue: 23rd November2016

Regional Lead for International Recruitment in Northern Ireland
Project Manager for International Medical Recruitment

The answers to these questions are correct at the date of being published. Any changes will be notified through updates to this publication.