Enquiries: 01305 251150

Updated 10 April 2024

This page will help you if you are coming to work for our hospital from overseas – from how to get your visa to finding somewhere to live. We want to do all we can to help you settle in and start your new career.

Curious about what life in Dorset is like? Click here to find out more. A lot of our staff have relocated from across the country and even from across the world. Read their stories here.

A healthy and happy workforce is important to us. We therefore offer a range of initiatives, both internal and external to the Trust, to help support staff health and wellbeing. Click here for more information.

If you have any queries or concerns, please email international.recruitment@dchft.nhs.uk

Depending on whether you are coming to work at DCH through one of our dedicated international recruitment schemes, or if you have applied directly to the Trust, there will be a difference to how much the Trust helps you with obtaining a Visa (and opening a bank account).

You can find all you need to know on current UK Visa and Immigration requirements on the UK government webpages.

Further information about applying for jobs in the UK from abroad is available on the government webpages here.

We offer accommodation on the hospital site for up to six months. This can only be provided for you and not any family members (although we recommend you do not move any family to the UK until you have passed your OSCE test).

Choosing where to live
You may want to take into consideration the following when choosing where to live:

  • Commuting time (how long it will take you to reach your place of work)
  • Public transport links
  • Car parking facilities
  • Your proximity to hospitals and any other services that are important to you
  • The relative expense of renting or buying in different areas, or in areas further afield

Dorset County Council provides information on local schools, including term dates, admissions, and special educational needs. The UKCISA also provide information on schooling for your children.

Your colleagues may also be able to give you useful information about Dorchester, and other matters such as schools, childcare, cost of living, public transport, commuting times, shops, and other facilities.

Finding a property
For a short stay (up to 3 months)
There are very few places that offer short-stay accommodation. Discover Dorchester provides some accommodation information for visitors (as well as other information like things to do and places to shop).

Renting (for up to 6 months)
If you rent accommodation, you will enter into a contract with a landlord, known as a tenancy agreement. This agreement sets out the basic terms of the rental, such as the amount of rent, the length of the tenancy and other mutual rights and responsibilities between you and your landlord.

Depending on the arrangement, you may also be liable for utility bills, such as gas, electricity, water, telephone and internet bills and council tax.

Long-term rentals (over 6 months)
In the UK, a tenancy is usually agreed for a fixed period of time, with the opportunity to renew your agreement after this period expires. Your rental will normally be an ‘assured shorthold tenancy’ for a fixed term, typically lasting 6 or 12 months.

Finding a property
There are various ways to find suitable accommodation.

Generally, properties will be advertised by an estate agent. This is a registered person or company that arranges the selling, renting or management of properties. Estate agents act on behalf of, and are paid by, the seller or the landlord.

Agents who specialise in renting are sometimes called 'letting agents'. They deal with administration, rent, contracts and property repairs. You might never meet the person who owns your property. This is standard in the UK.

Some of the local estate agents include:  

You can also use online property search websites, including:

Make sure you check the location carefully as many properties listed as being in 'Dorchester' are in the surrounding villages and have limited transport links. 

Your rights and tenancy agreements
Familiarise yourself with tenants’ rights in the UK, as these may be significantly different from those in your home country. You should sign your tenancy agreement before you move into the property, and you should check it very carefully before signing it. Don't sign the tenancy agreement if you don't fully agree with its terms or if you don't fully understand it. If you're in doubt, you can get advice in person from the Citizens Advice Bureau, which has branches throughout the UK. You do not need to be a UK Citizen to access this service.

A landlord may also ask you to sign an inventory, which is a list of all the items found in the property (furniture, kitchen items, and so on).

Check that it's correct and that any existing damage to these items is included in the document before you sign it. Make sure you get a copy of the document too.

If your landlord doesn't provide an inventory, it's best to make one yourself and send a copy to the landlord. This can prevent later disputes about the contents of the property.

Paying rent
Rent is almost always paid in advance in the UK. Payment of a deposit, in advance, is also standard practice, but always ensure you get a receipt. You may also have to pay agents or letting fees.

Your landlord is under a legal requirement to put your deposit into one of the Government-backed Tenancy Deposit Schemes. This ensures that your deposit is protected if your landlord refuses to refund it without a good reason or makes unreasonable deductions. Every scheme provides a free dispute resolution service.

Further information
The Trust may be able to help you with accommodation for a short while when you first arrive, before you find your own accommodation.

Our accommodation team has also put together this guidance about renting property in the UK. This guidance covers essential information like government rules around the number of people who can live in a property, and current average rental prices to help give you a realistic idea cost of living in the UK.

You may also find this NHS Step by Step Guide to Renting in the UK helpful and this Dorset Market Rent Summary.

Council Tax
Council Tax is a system of local taxation collected by local authorities and is used to pay for local services such as street lighting, road maintenance, rubbish collection and some education and social services.

Most people have to pay Council Tax on the property they live in, although you may qualify for a discount or be exempt from paying altogether. Council Tax has to be paid directly to the local council.

Utility bills (gas, electricity, and water)
In the UK, the tenant is normally liable for utility bill payments. The costs for gas, electricity and water may differ between providers. When you move into the property check and write down the gas, electricity, and water meter readings. You should also do this when you leave a property.

Check with your landlord whether the property is currently being supplied with electricity, gas, and water. If not, you should make supply agreements with the providers before moving into the property. You can find a provider on price comparison websites (see below).

You will usually get a bill every 3 months, although you can also pay for your bills by monthly direct debit from your bank account. Make sure you take a reading regularly (e.g. monthly) and tell your providers when you move out so you don't overpay.

In the UK, you will often need to show a recent utility bill as proof of residence. If you buy or rent a property together with a partner it's advisable, where possible, to sign up to providers under both of your names.

Telephone and internet
If you rent a property you will normally need to pay for telephone bills and for an internet connection.

Price comparison websites
It is worth looking at price comparison websites before committing to your bills.

Useful links

Registering for healthcare
You should register with your local doctor (a ‘general practitioner’ or ‘GP’) soon after your move to the UK. You can find out how to do this on the NHS Choices website

You can find your nearest GP here.

There's also information on how to find an NHS dentist.

Further information on opticians and sight tests are available here

Getting medical care if you aren't registered with a doctor
If you are not registered with a doctor but require a medical appointment, you can get treatment from any local GP practice (medical practice) within 14 days of arriving in the country.

GP practice opening hours can vary and they are normally closed over the weekend.

Emergency medical services
The telephone number for emergency medical care services in the UK is 999. If you urgently need medical help or advice but it's not a life-threatening situation, call 111, the NHS out-of-hours non-emergency service.

Transferring money to the UK
Make sure you have sufficient funds when you arrive in the UK. Opening a bank account might take some time, and you will probably need to make some advance payments – for example, a deposit and the advance rent – before you can move into your accommodation.

Your bank in your home country may be able to advise you on how to transfer funds to the UK if you haven't opened a UK bank account yet. There are also many specialist companies that provide money transfer services, such as Western Union.

Traveller’s cheques may be another option. These are special cheques you can buy in your home country and then exchange for local currency when you are abroad, often free of charge. Traveller’s cheques are available in Pound Sterling, US Dollar or Euro. You can use them in banks, Post Offices and Bureaux de Change, and in some shops, hotels and restaurants.

Most shops in the UK accept credit cards from other countries, though your bank may charge you a fee for using your card abroad.

Banking and insurance
Opening a bank account in the UK is not straightforward, but some of the major UK banks, such as HSBC, NatWest and Santander, provide global services that enable you to open a UK bank account before arriving in the UK. However, the requirements differ from one country to another.

Opening a bank account when you're already in the UK
We will transfer your salary into a UK current account. A current account is a private bank account for everyday banking services.

To get your salary you need to have a current account within the UK. At present, there are legal restrictions on opening a bank account from abroad. However, if one or more of the major UK banks also operate in your home country via their global banking services, they might be able to help. If this isn't possible you need to open an account as soon as you can after you arrive.

You may need to provide the following documents to open a current account:

  • your passport
  • proof of employment (for example, your employment contract)
  • evidence of your UK address (for example, your tenancy agreement or a utility bill)

Your bank will tell you if you need any other documents. Once you have opened your bank account, you may need to keep your bank statements for immigration or other purposes.

Contents insurance
You may wish to insure your possessions against damage or theft. Visit price comparison sites listed in the Council Tax and utilities bills section above to find the right insurance for you.

The below links will give you a better idea of the cost of living in the UK. You can also find out what support is available to help with the cost of living. 

Income Tax

Most people in the UK pay Income Tax through PAYE (pay as you earn). This is the system your employer or pension provider uses to take Income Tax and National Insurance contributions before they pay your wages or pension. Your tax code tells your employer how much to deduct.

You can find general information about Income Tax from the (HMRC) website.

National Insurance (NI)
All working people in the UK aged from 16 to the state pension age, who earn above a certain threshold amount (set by the Government), need to pay National Insurance Contributions (NICs). These go towards state benefits such as the National Health Service (NHS) and the state pension.

You can find out more on the HMRC website.

Full-time compulsory education applies to children aged 5 to 16 years (although children will often begin school at the age of 4). If your child was born on or after 1 September 1997, they'll need to remain in some sort of education or training until their 18th birthday.

The UK Government’s Office for Standards in Education, Children’s Services and Skills (Ofsted) is responsible for regulating and inspecting schools and other childcare providers. It produces inspection reports every few years, which it publishes on the Ofsted website for anyone to view.

Dorset County Council provides information on Dorset schools, admissions, pre-school services and other learning services in the city. The Council may also be able to provide other parenting support.

Click here for school application guidance.

There are plenty of shops and supermarkets in the Dorchester area. 

The food shop closest to the hospital is Sainsbury Local (opposite the Robert White centre on Bridport Road). There is a Waitrose (on South Street) which has a bigger selection but is also more expensive. Tesco and LIDL are the largest and cheapest grocery store options. There is also Iceland (which sells mostly frozen foods, and a limited selection of fresh food) and Co-op on Trinity Street. Tesco and LIDL both have an international food section, but for a wider variety there is the Metro Supermarket - also on Trinity street - and the Worldwide Grocery Shop in Weymouth.

You can buy toiletries at the above-mentioned shops, or visit one of the pharmacies on South Street, for example Boots or Superdrug.

South Street also has a few clothing stores, bookstores, stationery shops and toy stores. There are charity stores on South Street and Trinity Street which sell second-hand clothing and household goods: this is a good option for budget shopping and to support at good cause at the same time.

For a bigger selection of clothing stores you would need to visit Weymouth, Blandford, Poole or Bournemouth.

We have good publics transport links within Dorset and beyond.

Dorchester has two stations Dorchester West Station takes you to Bath and Bristol (and Somerset and Devon) Dorchester South takes you to Weymouth, Bournemouth, and London Waterloo.

You can find more information on National Rail.

To travel by bus please visit the below links for more information: 

Click here to see a list of taxi numbers in the local area.

Learning to drive
If you would like to learn to drive in the UK or check if your current license is valid click here.


You can see places of worship in Dorset here.

The weather in the UK is changeable and often unpredictable. Click here for more information.