Temporary register reopens to internationally trained nurses

Published on 22 December 2021

From today, employers can nominate international recruits who have started their NMC pathway but not yet joined the permanent register.

In the light of the increasing pressures on health and social care services caused by this new phase of the pandemic, the NMC has reopened its Covid-19 temporary register to people in the UK who have trained internationally as nurses. This is providing that they are already on a pathway to their ‘OSCE’ exam and full NMC registration.

From today, employers can nominate international recruits who have started their NMC pathway but not yet joined the permanent register. Employers will need to assure us that people are fit, proper and suitably experienced to work in the emergency.

From next week, we will begin to assess the employer nominations that we receive. Then we will start to contact people directly, inviting them to join the temporary register voluntarily. Those who choose to join will have conditions of practice, meaning they must:

  • work as a registered nurse in an employed capacity for a health or social care employer
  • always work under the direction of an NMC registered nurse or midwife or other registered healthcare professional who is not on a temporary register.

Employer nomination and assurance is the only route to temporary registration – people cannot apply directly to the NMC. We will accept employer nominations until at least the end of February.

Andrea Sutcliffe, NMC Chief Executive and Registrar, said:

“Nursing and midwifery professionals continue to do amazing things to care for people during the pandemic. But we know Omicron is putting people and services under increasingly severe pressure. Reopening the temporary register to internationally trained nurses is an immediate step we can take to help.

“We’ve made this decision carefully. We feel we’ve taken a measured approach that enables a rapid workforce expansion, and the right assurance that people are suitable to practise during this emergency to protect the public.”

We are also continuing to work with health and care services across the UK to encourage them to employ people already on the temporary register.

Professionals who have recently left the permanent register can continue to join the temporary register if they want to support the emergency response.

Additional information:

  • NMC OSCE centres remain open. We strongly encourage employers to continue supporting internationally trained nurses in their journey toward permanent registration.
  • There are two steps employers must take to assure us that people are fit, proper and suitably experienced to work in the emergency. First, a senior NMC registrant who is on the permanent register must assess each overseas nurse to confirm that:
    • the nurse is suitable to work in the emergency and that they support their entry to the temporary register
    • the nurse's English language is (skills for listening, speaking, reading and writing) sufficient to allow them to practise in the emergency
    • the nurse has no health conditions or disabilities that prevent them from providing safe care or, if they do have a condition or disability, that it is managed so they can practise in the emergency
    • the certifying registrant is not aware of any concerns about their character that prevent them from practising in the emergency
    • the nurse has the skills, knowledge and experience to be able to practise in the emergency
  • Second, the director of nursing or registered nurse leader must confirm they are satisfied that an appropriate, proportionate and objective assessment framework is in place for the senior NMC registrant to follow – and that it has been followed in each instance.

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