With geographic boundaries becoming less of a barrier to employment than ever, many medical professionals are starting to look abroad for working opportunities.
As a result, more and more doctors and nurses are considering whether Middle East healthcare jobs could be an appealing option for them. While previously this may have been considered an unconventional choice, it is now an extremely viable and attractive option with medical staff from all parts of the world flocking to the region to find work.
However, before making the move, healthcare workers should give due consideration to all the positive and negative factors associated with relocating, as well as the requirements they will need to fulfil.
Where in the Middle East could I work?
As an important emerging economy on the global stage, the Middle East is seeing major growth at the moment, with strong demand for medical staff being observed in many of the Gulf States.
Opportunities for qualified medical professionals in oil-rich nations such as Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and the United Arab Emirates (including Dubai and Abu Dhabi) have always been plentiful, but now up-and-coming countries such as Bahrain and Oman are also seeing growth as they start to play a larger role in international politics and attract increased investment from abroad.
Many of the leading hospitals in these regions have links with universities in the West, meaning those who take up placements in the Middle East will often be able to further their education through their work.
What benefits can I expect to experience?
There are a whole host of benefits to working as a medical professional in the Middle East in personal, professional and financial terms. In career terms, these nations offer numerous opportunities for progression and development, as well as the opportunity to work in world-class, internationally-accredited establishments.
Medical staff from Britain will be at an advantage in many ways, as the professional language used in most facilities is English, while working methods are often modelled after those employed in Europe's top hospitals.
Doctors can also expect to see significant earnings during their time abroad, as the base salary is provided tax-free, while additional perks such as free accommodation, travel allowance, generous annual leave, medical cover and bonus schemes on completion of contracts are also available. Many of these benefits are also available to family members in certain cases.
Finally - and perhaps most importantly - though the Middle East represents a significant move, it also presents a fantastic opportunity to live and work in an unfamiliar and fascinating culture alongside colleagues from all over the world.
What are the requirements for working in the Middle East?
Those who are interested in taking advantage of these opportunities will need to ensure they possess the proper qualifications and meet all of the necessary requirements. Doctors need to provide evidence of an American specialty Board Certificate, a UK Certificate of Completion of Specialist Training, an inclusion in the GMC Specialist Register or equivalent qualifications. Additionally, a minimum of five years experience at consultant level for consultancy roles is required.
Nurses must be registered with the NMC with a minimum of two years experience. Allied health professionals, meanwhile, must have a BSc degree in a speciality from an accredited college with a syllabus of no less than three years, plus at least two years experience in an acute care setting.
If registered with the American Registry of the appropriate speciality, the Canadian Association, UK HPC or equivalent, four years' acute care experience is required.
Finally, anyone moving abroad will need to check up on the immigration laws of the country to which they are travelling.
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