Nurses and midwives trained abroad

Depending on their country of training, nurses and midwives are admitted to our register through different routes 

If nurses or midwives trained in countries outside the European Union (EU) or European Economic Area (EEA) and have been admitted to our register, you can be sure that we have been able to check the education and practice experience of the new applicants. We will also have been able to verify their good character and language competence.

We require an IELTS 7 (which is the proficiency level of the International English Language Testing System) for all applicants to our register who trained outside of the EU, regardless of which country they are from or whether they came from an English speaking country.

June 2015 update

We've published an update for employers on the international test of competence, and common errors seen in EU and overseas applications

Nurses and midwives from the EU or EEA

EEA countries include the 28 member states of the EU, as well as Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway. The same rules also apply to Switzerland.

The process of recognising qualifications from the EU and EEA is governed by strict legislation based on the principle of freedom of movement.

Due to EU law, we cannot:

  • systematically test the language competence of nurses and midwives who trained within the EU or EEA
  • request transcripts of training or test the knowledge of applicants trained within the EU or EEA, who meet EU requirements for direct entry to the register
  • check whether a nurse or midwife who meets the EU requirements for direct entry to the register has undertaken any professional experience since they originally qualified, regardless of how long ago they qualified
  • check whether a nurse or midwife, who trained before their country joined the EU or EEA, has met the standards of knowledge and competence expected of UK and overseas trained nurses and midwives.

Your duty as an employer

As an employer you have a duty to ensure that the people you employ are fit for purpose. Always make sure the person you’re employing is competent and has the skills required for the specific job role.

EU legislation does not prevent you as the employer from assuring yourselves that the nurse or midwife you recruit is competent, safe to practise, has up-to-date and contemporary knowledge, and has the necessary language and communication skills. It is your responsibility to ensure that your recruitment systems are robust, and only those applicants who are able to carry out the full duties of a nurse or midwife are employed.