International registration reforms

The Dentists, Dental Care Professionals, Nurses, Nursing Associates and Midwives (International Registrations) Order 2023 (the 2023 Order) made amendments to international registration provisions of the Dentists Act 1984.  

The amendments were designed to increase the flexibility that the GDC has to set rules and to amend routes to registration for professionals with overseas qualifications, providing a legal framework that will enable us to modernise the processes for the registration of those who qualify outside the UK.  

We now plan to develop a comprehensive framework of routes to registration for professionals who have qualified overseas, facilitating access to the UK registers, while maintaining the standards that ensure public safety.

Developing this framework will take some time, during which we need to continue to enable access to the register for appropriately qualified professionals. In the short term, this means continuing with current arrangements – the Overseas Registration Examination (ORE) for dentists, and assessed applications for dental care professionals (DCPs).   

The 2023 Order:  

  • Retained the current Rules governing the ORE for one year.  
  • Amended the provisions in the Dentists Act governing the process for dealing with applications from DCPs who have qualified overseas.  
In 2023, we will be consulting on two sets of new Rules: one to replace the current ORE Rules, and one to set out the process for dealing with applications from DCPs who have qualified overseas. We anticipate that these new Rules will come into effect in 2024.  

Until such time as we have concluded those consultations and the new rules take effect, we will continue with the previous criteria applied for processing applications from DCPs with qualifications obtained overseas, save that applications to the DCP register are only open to those with DCP qualifications. Individuals seeking to rely on a qualification as a dentist are no longer able to apply to the DCP register.   

We will of course engage with and consult stakeholders as we move forward with the development of the longer-term plans for the comprehensive framework.