NMC announces new online system for overseas applicants

7 October 2019

From today (7 October 2019), nurses and midwives applying to join the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) register from overseas will find the process quicker and more accessible than ever 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.

From today, applicants will be able to apply through an online system, rather than paper, which will provide them with a personal account to track their progress instantly.

Other key improvements include 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.

There will also be 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.

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 has made making these changes 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 from today 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, 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.”


Health and Social Care Secretary, Matt Hancock said:

“Nursing and midwifery is at the heart of our NHS and the social care sector, and it is important that we make those joining the health service, whether from at home or abroad, feel as welcome as possible.

“With an increasing number of applicants from around the world, this secure and efficient online service from the NMC will make it quicker for highly trained midwives, nurses and nursing associates to be able to provide compassionate care to their patients.”

“My grandmother worked in the NHS as a nurse, and I so know just how much commitment nurses put in to caring for their patients every day and night.”


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.



Notes for editors

  1. For media enquiries, please contact NMC press office on 020 7681 5415 or email media@nmc-uk.org
  2. More details on these changes and future plans can be found on our website.
  3. The NMC will also be launching a new competency test in line with the new future nurse education standards from June 2020. More details will be posted on our website as they become available
  4. Registration data is available on our website.
  5. There are around 700,000 nurses and midwives, and nursing associates (for England only), registered with the NMC to work in the UK. Around 10% of those are from overseas (outside the EU).
  6. In addition to the changes list above, earlier this year the NMC also reduced the cost of the computer based test (CBT) that overseas nurses, midwives and nursing associates must take to work in the UK. It went from £90 to £83 on 1 October – a 36% reduction in the total cost since 30 March 2019.
  7. Last year the NMC made changes that enabled nurses and midwives from outside the EU to apply to work in the UK immediately after qualifying, rather than a 12 month waiting period. Read more about the changes.
  8. Last year the NMC also made changes to the requirements for nurses and midwives from outside the EU taking the Internal English Language Test System (IELTS) and improved the supporting information available to applicants. Read more about the changes
  9. In response to the 9 September Home Office press release on a simpler process for nurses, midwives, doctors and dentists coming to the UK, our Director of Registration and Revalidation, Emma Broadbent said:

    “We only have to look at our latest registration data report to see that nursing and midwifery professionals from overseas form a vital and highly valued part of delivering better, safer care for people within the UK’s health and care workforce. This Government change – removing barriers and making the process more straightforward – is therefore welcome news for everybody involved.

    “This measure also chimes well with the NMC’s continued efforts to streamline the way overseas registrants join our register. I am delighted we will be announcing our own further improvements in the coming days.

    “We will continue to work closely with the Home Office, and all our partners, across the health and care system, to help ensure the recruitment process for nurses, midwives and nursing associates is as efficient as possible.”


About the NMC

As the professional regulator of nurses and midwives in the UK, and nursing associates in England, we work to ensure these professionals have the knowledge and skills to deliver consistent, quality care that keeps people safe.

We set the education standards professionals must achieve to practise in the United Kingdom. When they have shown both clinical excellence and a commitment to kindness, compassion and respect, we welcome them onto our register of nearly 700,000 professionals.

Once registered, nurses, midwives sand nursing associates must uphold the standards and behaviours set out in our Code so that people can have confidence that they will consistently receive quality, safe care wherever they’re treated.

We promote lifelong learning through revalidation, encouraging professionals to reflect on their practice and how the Code applies in their day-to-day work.

On the rare occasions that care goes wrong, or falls short of people’s expectations, we can step in to investigate, and take action when needed. But we want to prevent something going wrong in the first place. So, we promote a culture that encourages professionals to be open and learn from mistakes, gives the public an equal voice and where everyone involved is treated with kindness and compassion.

If we’re to play our part in making sure safe, high quality and consistent standards of care can be delivered, we need to continue to improve. That is why we are working with people, professionals and our partners to co-produce a new long-term strategy, one that’ll help us to support nurses, midwives and nursing associates to deliver even better, safer care.