Application of EU/EEA Community Preference to Postgraduate Medical Training Programmes

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Changes are to be made to the application of EU/EEA Community Preference to postgraduate medical training programmes which will make it easier for non-EU citizens to progress their careers.

This is a significant policy change which will provide greater career opportunities for non-EU/EEA doctors who contributed significantly to our health service. Up to now, EU/EEA community preference was applied by the Postgraduate Medical Training Bodies at the request of the HSE and Department of Health as part of the national policy of self-sufficiency. This was in keeping with World Health Organization (WHO) recommendations on national self-sufficiency in the production of doctors.

Application of EU/EEA Community Preference to Postgraduate Medical Training Programmes

The Minister for Health, Stephen Donnelly TD said:

“I have long recognised the significant role that non-EEA nationals play in the Irish health service and, in November 2020 I announced changes to the Medical Practitioners Act 2007, which removed the barriers faced by some non-EEA doctors in applying to national training programmes.

“Today’s changes reflect my ongoing commitment to recruiting high quality medical trainees, which is essential to providing high quality patient care for citizens. I am delighted to announce that this policy change will apply to the July 2022 postgraduate intake recruitment process that will take place this autumn.

“The policy change is supported by our training bodies, the chief academic officers at our hospital groups and many advocates for equality in our health service. I will continue to work with the HSE and the Postgraduate Medical Training Bodies to increase the number of available training places in line with medical workforce planning requirements.”

This decision is based on a review of the policy undertaken by the Department of Health. The Minister now intends to amend the policy to include all Stamp 4 Visa* Holders.

From now on, available specialist training places will be allocated in the first instance to those candidates who, at the time of application, are citizens of Ireland or nationals of another Member State of the European Union, Stamp 4 Visa Holders and UK nationals.

*Holders of a Stamp 4 visa have permission to stay in Ireland for a specified period, subject to conditions.

Stamp 4 is reckonable as residence when applying for citizenship by naturalisation.

  • you can take up employment and are not required to hold an Employment Permit
  • you can work in a profession, subject to conditions of the relevant professional or other bodies provides information about postgraduate courses and study in Ireland. We list virtually every postgraduate course in Ireland in Ireland, so you can search for the course of your choice.


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