Are you a nurse from South East Asia looking to relocate to the UK? With tens of thousands of vacant nursing jobs in the UK, both in the NHS (National Health Systems) and at private hospitals – the opportunities for nurses in the UK are aplenty. But, before you can land your dream jo, there are several steps to be followed.
Here, in this blog post, we walk you through the various steps you need to do before you can start working as a nurse in the UK. By the time you finish reading this post; you’ll have a clear idea of what you should do to become a nurse in the UK and how to do it, to land your dream job. Buckle up, and let’s take the first step in making your UK relocation dream come true.
Before you begin your overseas application as a nurse, you must meet the following requirements:
- Hold a valid nursing degree/diploma from a certified institution in India.
- Hole a current nursing license or nursing registration without any restrictions.
- Meet the required English language eligibility requirements.
Overview of Eligibility Requirements for Indian Nurses to work within the NHS in the UK
To be eligible for working as a nurse within the NHS, you have to first obtain an NMC (Nursing and Midwifery Council) registration. To obtain this registration, from anywhere outside the EU (European Union), you have to show proof of your English language skills by taking the IELTS or OET Test. The next step is to show evidence of your knowledge and skills by taking the CBT (Computer Based Training) and OSCE (Objective Structured Clinical Examination).
Note that, the CBT can be taken from India, while the OSCE can be taken only from the UK, as the exam centres are located only in the UK. The Tier 2 visa process was changed in March 2015 to allow nurses to enter the UK before taking the OSCE. This means, once you have completed the registration with the NMC and completed the other steps, you can start working as a nurse/healthcare assistant in the NHS. You are given three months in the UK, before taking the OSCE.
Now, that you get the overview of the steps involved, let’s take a closer look at the eligibility requirements of each step.
Step-by-step Guide to Work within the NHS as a Nurse in the UK
Step 1: Obtain the Qualifications needed for NMC Registration
To be eligible for NMC registration, you have to demonstrate the following:
1. English Language Skills
Via any one of the following methods:
- The IELTS – a minimum score of 7 in each component and an overall score of 7 or more
- The OET – A minimum grade B in each component
- Previous registration and practice (of at least one year) at a country where English is the native language, and that required an English language assessment for registration
For many nursing aspirants, clearing the English language eligibility requirements is a major hurdle. This is why, here at Dynamic Health Staff, we offer regular, weekend, and online OET training under the guidance of experts and mentorship by nurses, practicing in the UK. Register for our OET training courses and polish up your English language skills and ace the test with ease.
2. Subject Knowledge and Associated Skills
- CBT (Computer Based Training)
The CBT is an online exam that tests your knowledge and skills as a nurse. It has a total of 140 MCQ (Multiple-choice Questions). There are several centres where you can take the CBT. All questions are marked either as correct or incorrect, and there are no partial marks for a question. Of the 140 MCQ, a few are considered critical, and the applicant must get the critical questions right to qualify the test. The critical questions are related to patient and public safety.
Step 2: Apply for Pre-Registration as a Nurse/Healthcare Assistant Posts within the NHS
Once you have cleared the IELTS/OET Test and nursing competency tests, you are eligible to apply for the pre-registration nurse/healthcare assistant posts. You need to provide a CV and resume for this step.
You have to pay the registration fee and upload the required documents – passport copy, birth certificate, proof of qualifications, and police clearance in the portal. Additionally, you have to courier the following documents to the NMC’s office in the UK – employee references, transcript of your nursing training, declaration of good health from a certified GP, and verification from your nursing school.
All documents have to be bar-coded, and you can download the bar-code from the NMC portal. Once the NMC receives your documents, it will be uploaded to the portal (usually takes around 15 days).
The NMC verifies your documents and then issues a decision letter along with your posting in a hospital within the NHS. This step is the longest and can take anywhere from around 40 – 60 working days.
Step 3: Tier 2 Visa Application
Once you complete step 2, you are likely to get offers for vacant nursing jobs in the UK. After passing the interviews, the hospital you have been selected for will grant you the CoS (Certificate of Sponsorship) that is issued by the UK government. Once you receive the CoS, you can start the tier 2 visa application process. The tier 2 visa is the visa that allows skilled workers with a job offer to immigrate to the UK.
Step 4: Arrive in the UK and Take the OSCE
Once your visa has been approved, you can pack your bags and leave for the UK, to take up the job offered. However, remember that you have to take the OSCE within three months of starting the job. If you don’t clear the OSCE on the first attempt, you have to retake the exam within a maximum of eight months, from the starting date of your visa. You can retake the OSCE for a maximum of three times.
The OSCE is offered in the following locations in the UK:
- Oxford Brookes University
- University of Northampton
- Ulster University, Northern Ireland
Step 5: The Final Step – Identification Verification
You’ve come to the final step. Once you clear the OSCE, you will be invited for a face-to-face identification verification interview. This interview is usually held on the same day as the OSCE exam. During this interview, you will be asked to submit original copies of all the required verification documents. Previously during the registration process (step 2), you would have submitted only the copies of the required documents.
Once you complete the identification verification, you are successfully registered as a nurse in the NMC (Nursing and Midwifery Council), UK. You will be issued an NMC pin, which qualifies you to continue working as a nurse within the NHS.
That’s it. These are the five steps that you have to complete before you can start working as a nurse in the UK. If you are looking for nursing jobs in the UK, let us help you find the best suitable position for you. Get in touch with our team, and we’ll help you land your dream healthcare job in the UK.