How to get a work permit in the UK: A guide for overseas nurses

how to get a work permit in UK

How to get a work permit in the UK: A guide for overseas nurses

To get a work permit in the UK and work as a nurse or midwife, you must obtain registration with the NMC (Nursing and Midwifery Council). Registration with the NMC will enable you to secure long term employment under a Tier 2 work visa (UK work permit).

Why come to the UK?

The UK offers an excellent standard of living with world-renowned school system, free healthcare for UK citizens and many career opportunities. It is a great place to settle permenetly and to have a family. 

The UK are currently experiencing a huge shortage of nurses across the public (NHS) and private healthcare systems. The demand for nurses is so large that the UK now rely more than ever, on overseas nurses to help fill the gaps. 

How to work in the UK as an overseas nurse:

All UK nurses must be registered on the Nursing and Midwifery Council registrar. Below, we’ve outlined the steps to achieve NMC registration and a job in the UK.

1. Be a qualified nurse in your home country 

Specific qualifications can vary from country to country, but generally it involves being qualified to bachelor degree level in Nursing. You should be able to practise legally in your home country with your current qualifications. 

2. Get recognised English Test

  • OET:  Grade B (Reading, Listening, Speaking Grade B, Writing C+). Read more about OET requirements here.
  • IELTS: Overall 7.0 (7.0 in call components)

Both of these courses can be taken at Foyle International. In addition, Foyle is an official OET exam test centre, so nurses can take the test at the school at the end of their course. 

OET is preferred by healthcare professionals as the language is directly related to their job experience. For nurses who wish to study an OET course or IELTS course at Foyle International (or anywhere in the UK), they must apply for a UK Study Visa. 

Read: Why the OET is your best route to UK employment 

3. Complete the CBT (Computer Based Test) 

This can actually be done before, during or after securing a recognised English test, but it must be achieved before preparing for the OSCE 2.

4. Interviews with employer 

At the end of the OET exam course, Foyle International will prepare nurses for interviews with employers, and arrange interviews with potential employers at private care homes in Northern Ireland.  

Nurses on the programme will benefit from this as they will actually see their new place of work, and meet their employer face-to-face. Most importantly, this will strengthen their Tier 2 Employment Visa application.

5. Apply for Tier 2 Employment Visa 

This is a work permit issued by the new employer, and will need to be applied for from the nurses home country, outside of the UK.

6. Take work experience and pass the OSCE 2 

Foyle’s International Nursing Programme provides nurses with an 8 month PAID placement – during which they will prepare for and take the OSCE 2 practical examination. 

  • OSCE 2 can be taken in Derry, at Ulster University (one of three UK locations)
  • Nurses have 3 attempts over 8 months to pass the OSCE 2
  • Nurses who are enrolled on Foyle’s International Nursing Programme can visit the OSCE 2 centre in Derry, and will get a 15 hour OSCE 2 preparation module.

7. Register with the NMC

Nurses will then have the following qualifications to achieve registration with the NMC: 

  • Qualified nurse in home country
  • Recognised English Test (OET Grade B)
  • CBT
  • OSCE 2

8. Obtain a 2-3 year employment contract in the UK (private healthcare) 

Foyle International will ensure each nurse who completes the International Nursing Programme and obtains NMC registration will receive a long term employment contract in private healthcare in Northern Ireland or across the UK.

Our International Nursing Programme equips nurses with all 3 qualifications that they need for NMC registration, and helps them every step of the way. From achieving OET Grade B, to preparing for and arranging interviews with employers, to OSCE 2 preparation modules. 

For more information on this programme, click here. 

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