Simpler process for overseas nurses

September 11, 2019

The Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) has announced a simpler process for overseas nurses applying to work in the UK, to support people to come to work in the country.

Nurses, midwives and nursing associates applying to join the NMC register from overseas are set to find the process easier and cheaper than before.

As part of the professional regulator’s commitment to improving its approach to overseas registration, the latest changes have been designed to offer a more efficient and streamlined experience and help ensure qualified nursing and midwifery professionals can get into practice where they are needed.

Coming into effect in October 2019, key improvements include:

  • Moving from a paper to an online application system from 7th October that provides applicants with a personal account to track their progress instantly.
  • Streamlined requirements to confirm a candidate’s competence – for example, instead of asking for training transcripts, the NMC will confirm they hold the qualification that would lead to registration in their home country.
  • A redesigned guidance page on the NMC website, including easy read guidelines and a new pre-application checklist tool that can be shared with employers and recruiters.
  • A further reduction in the cost of the computer based test (CBT) that overseas nurses, midwives and nursing associates must take to work in the UK. This will be reduced from £90 to £83 from 1st October – a 36% reduction in the total cost since 30th March 2019.

Unnecessary delays in registration can mean applicants aren’t able to practice in their chosen profession and it can put them at risk of losing work or, sometimes, having to return home. The NMC is creating this simpler process for overseas nurses to ensure that highly-skilled nursing and midwifery professionals can join the UK workforce as quickly as possible in order to carry out their role of delivering better, safer care for people using health and care services.

Emma Broadbent, Director of Registration and Revalidation at the NMC, said, 'We have listened to people’s feedback and I’m pleased to announce that future nurses, midwives and nursing associates from abroad will benefit from this improved process.

'We want to make sure that those who meet our requirements are able to join our register as quickly and efficiently as possible. We are hopeful that by simplifying the application process, and further reducing the computer based test cost, we will continue to make the UK an attractive option for those coming from abroad.

'This is another example of how the NMC is committed to positively addressing nursing and midwifery shortages that exist in health services, adult social care services and within local communities across the UK.'

The NMC has seen a significant increase – rising from 2,720 last year to 6,157 in March this year – in the number of nurses and midwives joining the register for the first time from outside of the EU.

This follows a number of changes in recent years made by the NMC to better support applicants through the registration process, which included an updated practical examination (OSCE) resit policy (allowing candidates to re-sit only the portion of the exam they failed), improved preparation materials (including a mock examination and marking criteria) and updated English language requirements.


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