Objective Global migration of healthcare workers places responsibility on employers to comply with legal employment rights whilst ensuring patient safety remains the central goal. We describe the pilot of a communication assessment designed for doctors who trained and communicated with patients and colleagues in a different language from that of the host country. It is unique in assessing clinical communication without assessing knowledge. Methods A 14-station OSCE was developed using a domain-based marking scheme, covering professional communication and English language skills (speaking, listening, reading and writing) in routine, acute and emotionally challenging contexts, with patients, carers and healthcare teams. Candidates (n = 43), non-UK trained volunteers applying to the UK Foundation Programme, were provided with relevant station information prior to the exam. Results The criteria for passing the test included achieving the pass score and passing 10 or more of the 14 stations. Of the 43 candidates, nine failed on the station criteria. Two failed the pass score and also the station criteria. The Cronbach's alpha coefficient was 0.866. Conclusion This pilot tested ‘proof of concept’ of a new domain-based communication assessment for non-UK trained doctors. Practice implications The test would enable employers and regulators to verify communication competence and safety in clinical contexts, independent of clinical knowledge, for doctors who trained in a language different from that of the host country.