Working as a volunteer abroad

Many physiotherapists want to undertake short periods of overseas practice working as a volunteer. The CSP PLI scheme does have terms and conditions affecting overseas work. Remember, the CSP PLI scheme covers physiotherapy activities. Members wishing to undertake general overseas development, humanitarian or voluntary work should seek separate insurance.


Do I need to register to work in the country I wish to volunteer in?

The CSP PLI scheme requires you to register in any overseas country that you wish to work as a physiotherapist in, if registration to practise is required by that country. We know it can be difficult to find details of the relevant registration authority, but where information exists that registration is required then you must register.

If you are providing volunteer telemedicine (e.g. online, telephone or other digital) services, some countries require specific registration for this activity within their territory even if you are based outside the country. Please see our webpage on website, digital and print issues.

Is registration always on a ‘Physiotherapist’s Register?

No. In some countries physiotherapists are registered on a general medical register alongside medical practitioners. It is your responsibility to find out which is the relevant registration body for the country you wish to visit and to register accordingly.

I’m only volunteering on a short term basis, say two weeks. Do I still need to register?

Yes. Regardless of how long you are volunteering for, you must register if the country you are visiting requires registration to practise. This is to ensure you comply with the terms and conditions of the CSP PLI scheme.

I’m volunteering through an NGO or other official agency – do I still need to register?

If you are being employed or otherwise engaged by an NGO for your overseas physiotherapy volunteering, you should check with the NGO what arrangements they have in place for insurance for your work. They also may have measures in place to expedite and/or be exempt from local registration where you are required to have it.

My overseas volunteering only involves delivering workshops and teaching. There is no direct patient contact. Do I still need to register?

Yes. Practising your profession involves more than just direct clinical work. It also includes leadership, management, teaching, educational and research roles. If you wish to volunteer in any professional capacity in a country that requires local registration to practise, then you must register in order to comply with the terms of the CSP PLI scheme.

What if I decide not to register?

Where information exists that registration is required to practise in an overseas country, you will not be covered by the CSP PLI scheme if you do not register locally as you will be working outside the T&C of the policy.

How long can I work overseas for under the PLI scheme?

You can undertake 180 days of temporary overseas work. If you are working overseas for longer than 180 days, or you are permanently based overseas, you are not covered by the CSP PLI scheme and you must seek alternative insurance for your work.

Further Information

For specific enquiries related to the CSP insurance policy or for advice on your own insurance needs please contact the CSP insurance brokers:

James Hallam
Saxon House
Duke Street
Essex CM1 1HT

01245 321185


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