Requirements for nurses wanting to work in the UK

Overseas nurses wanting to work in the UK need to register as a nurse with the NMC (Nursing & Midwifery Council). Below are the requirements & steps you need to take:

TRAINING: Overseas nurses must be registered nurses in own country and have undertaken minimum of three years of nursing training.

EXPERIENCE: 1 year’s minimum experience as registered nurse.

PAPERWORK: All paperwork needs to be complete:

  • Valid passport
  • Birth certificate
  • Qualification certificate(s)
  • Registration certificates from each jurisdiction where the applicant has practised and/or been registered
  • Two employment references confirming the applicant’s post-registration practice of at least 12 months, their competence and character
  • Verifications from all jurisdictions where the applicant practised or where the applicant has been previously registered
  • Transcript of training for all relevant nursing or midwifery programmes completed by the applicant. These must be calculated in hours or be accompanied by a letter from the training institution with a key to how the credits translate to hours
  • A good health declaration from the applicant’s general practitioner or the occupational health department at their place of work
  • A police clearance certificate from all countries where the applicant has lived since the age of 18

LANGUAGE: The NMC accepts two language tests as evidence of your ability to communicate effectively in English:  (OET). Test scores are valid for two years.

  • IELTS (International English Language Test System)
    If you have completed an IELTS Academic examination you must provide an IELTS certificate that confirms:
    - At least 7.0 in the listening and reading sections
    - At least 7.0 in the writing and speaking sections
    - At least 7.0 overall
    - You can achieve the acquired marks across two sittings if the tests are taken within six months of each other, and all scores in both sittings are above 6.5 and you achieve 7.0 or higher in all four fields when the results of both sittings are viewed together
  • OET (Occupational English Test):
    If you have completed an OET examination you must provide a certificate that confirms:
    - At least a B grade in listening and reading
    - At least a B grade in writing and speaking
    - You can achieve the required mark across two test sittings if all grades in both sittings are above Grade C+ and you achieve Grade B or higher in all four fields when the results of both sittings are viewed together

INITIAL ASSESSMENT: Applicants must complete an online self-assessment (https://ireg.nmc-uk.org/Login.aspx) of their eligibility to apply to work as a nurse in the UK.

CBT (Computer Based Test): The CBT is the first part of the NMC Test of Competence. It is an online test of 120 multiple-choice questions and can be taken at a Pearson VUE (https://home.pearsonvue.com/) test centre in most countries around the world. Questions will be on professional values, communication & interpersonal skills, nursing practice & decision making, and leadership management & team working.

  • Applicants may sit the CBT twice as part of one application.
  • If an applicant is unsuccessful at their first CBT they must wait a minimum of 28 working days before they can sit the test again.
  • If an applicant is unsuccessful after their second CBT, their application will close. They will be required to wait six months before submitting a new eligibility application to take the test again.

OSCE (Objective Structured Clinical Examination): The OSCE is the second part of the NMC Test of Competence and will take place in the UK at one of the approved test centres. Nurses and midwives will act out scenarios which they are likely to encounter when they assess, plan, carry out and evaluate care. Each separate clinical examination is known as a ‘station’ and candidates will visit all the stations within a set time.

Each of the six stations has standardised marking criteria against which all candidates are assessed. Candidates are assessed by a panel of examiners and will be filmed for quality assurance purposes. Candidates are expected to demonstrate safe and effective practice.

  • The average OSCE pass rate is 56%.
  • Applicants may sit the OSCE up to three times as part of one application.
  • If an applicant is unsuccessful at their first OSCE, they must wait a minimum of 10 working days before they can take the examination again.
  • If an applicant is unsuccessful at their second OSCE, they must wait a minimum of three months from the date of their second attempt before they can take the OSCE for the third time.
  • If the applicant is unsuccessful after their permitted attempts, their application will close. They will be required to submit a new application but will not be able to sit the OSCE again for a minimum of six months.
  • You must complete the entire application process within two years of passing the CBT. If you are unable to do this, you will need to re-sit your CBT and begin a new NMC application.

Immigration requirements for non-EU/EEA nurses and midwives

All overseas trained nurses looking to visit the UK to take the OSCE must meet UK immigration requirements to make sure that there are appropriate provisions in place.

Already sponsored by a UK employer?
It is expected that the sponsorship will formally start from the date of the scheduled OSCE, with arrival permitted up to 14 days ahead of that date. The sponsor may choose to continue to offer sponsorship in cases where the individual needs to re-sit the OSCE.

Not yet sponsored by a UK employer?
For those without sponsorship who wish to travel to the UK to take the OSCE, a visitor visa provision is being put in place to allow nurses and midwives to enter the UK on a six-month visitor visa specifically to take the exam.

Healthperm Ltd works closely with each employer in the UK and with the individual nurses to ensure all the necessary UK visa requirements are met.