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NMC sees increase in nurses and midwives joining the register from outside EU

We've also announced a wider review of our registration processes for people trained outside the UK

Our latest figures show an 86 percent increase in the number of nurses and midwives joining the UK workforce from outside the EU in the past three months. The average number joining each month increased to 440 between April and June 2018 compared with an average of 237 per month in the previous nine months.

At the end of June 2018 there were 69,425 nurses and midwives on the register from outside the EU compared with 67,534 in July 2017 – an increase of nearly 2,000.

The spike in numbers follows recent changes to our processes and the evidence that we accept from nurses and midwives to demonstrate their English language capability.

Changes included accepting evidence that a nurse or midwife has been trained and examined in English or that they have practised in an English speaking country. Other changes included accepting the Occupational English Test (OET) in addition to the International English Language Testing System (IELTS) language test.

More changes on the way

At our recent Council meeting, we outlined how we intend to further improve and accelerate the application process for nurses and midwives trained outside the UK.

Plans include allowing nurses and midwives from outside the EU to apply to join the register immediately after qualifying – rather than having to wait 12 months, as is currently the case.

A new online system will also be developed, allowing applicants to prepare and submit their application and track its progress as well as an updated test of competence to reflect our new education standards. There will also be improved guidance and support for applicants and employers.

We're aiming to introduce a revised and updated process for all overseas applicants from early 2019.

Emma Broadbent, Director of Registration and Revalidation, said:

“It’s pleasing to see an increase in nurses and midwives from outside the EU joining the UK workforce over the past few months.

“Indications are that the changes we’ve made are making a difference - but it’s very early days and we must wait to see if this trend continues.

“The fact remains that the UK workforce is under significant pressure and it’s vital that we continue to enable the right people with the right skills and knowledge to join our register in the quickest and safest way possible. 

“That’s why the time is right to look at the application processes for overseas nurses and midwives as whole, to ensure that it’s truly fit for the future. Our proposals will make the application process simpler and fairer while continuing to maintain the high standards required to join our register.”

Find out more about the review of registration processes for nurses and midwives from outside the EEA.

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