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RCVS institutes financial support policy for overseas-trained vets with refugee status

29 October 2020

The RCVS has instituted a new policy to provide financial support for a number of people with refugee status who have obtained a veterinary degree overseas, to undertake the Statutory Examination for Membership.

The policy has been developed with the support of the Refugee Council, a charity that provides support and advice to refugees and asylum-seekers in the UK, and provides financial assistance to support a number of refugees who have a degree that is not currently recognised by the RCVS, to undertake the examination. The examination needs to be passed by those with overseas veterinary degrees not recognised by the RCVS in order for them to join the Register and practice as veterinary surgeons in the UK.

The financial assistance, which would be paid on behalf of the candidate by the Refugee Council, covers the cost of undertaking the Statutory Examination for Membership itself, as well as associated costs such as English-language test fees and travel to examination sites.

Dr Susan Paterson, Chair of the RCVS Education Committee, said: “As a compassionate regulator we thought it was only right to institute this policy to support a number of people with refugee status and with overseas veterinary degrees who, each year, would like to apply to become registered vets in the UK through the Statutory Examination for Membership but for whom the costs involved represent a barrier.

“Many of these people have come from extremely traumatic and challenging circumstances and are looking for a chance to rebuild their lives and professional careers in the UK, so we are happy to do what we can to support them in this endeavour.”

Fahira Mulamehic, Employment Programmes Manager at the Refugee Council, added: “We are delighted that we were able to contribute to the development of the new policy at the RCVS. Providing financial assistance to refugees with a veterinary degree to help with the Statutory Examination for Membership will enable them to obtain the right to practice in the UK. We look forward to supporting refugee veterinarians in collaboration with the RCVS.” 

The policy has been instituted in time for the period of application to undertake the Statutory Examination for Membership in 2021, which opened on 1 October and closes on 14 February 2021. Those with any queries about the exam can also contact Jonathan Reid, RCVS Examinations Manager, on

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