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European nurses and midwives must now show English proficiency to work in UK

by Ray Clancy on January 28, 2016

Under new rule nurses and midwives from Europe will need to prove they have the required English language skills to practise in the UK.

If they cannot provide evidence of their English language skills, such as having trained or worked in an English speaking country, they will need to take an officially recognised English language test.

Union Jack

“The new requirements will act to together to strengthen public protection and ensure that we are compliant with recent changes in EU legislation,” said a spokesman for the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC).

The Council pointed out that those from outside the EU must also be able to prove their language skills. “As the regulator for the nursing and midwifery professions, the NMC ensures that everyone on our register is capable of practising safely and effectively,” the spokesman explained.

“Our processes for admitting nurses and midwives who have trained outside the EU are clear, robust and effective. Applicants must be able to demonstrate that they have the knowledge, understanding and application of professional skills at the right level and they must also go through a full identification check as well as meet the English language requirements,” he added.

Nurses have been put back on the Shortage Occupation List in the UK on a temporary basis. “We understand that placing nursing on the Shortage Occupation List may prompt a significant increase in the numbers of overseas-trained nurses wishing to join the NMCís register. We are confident that we have the resources and capacity to process an increased volume of applications over the coming months,” said NMC chief executive and registrar Jackie Smith.

“Once we have all the completed documentation we aim to process applications from non-EU trained nurses within 70 days and we are currently meeting that target. We will monitor this timescale carefully to ensure that we are continuing to meet expectations,” she added.

Many thousands take the International English Language Testing System (IELTS) each year to prove their English proficiency when applying for a job in the UK. It is a secure and reliable test according to John Gildea, head IELTS at the British Council.

The British Council, the UKís international organisation for education and cultural relations, has over 50 IELTS test centres across the UK.

Candidates are tested in listening, reading, writing and speaking. All tests are scored on a banded system from one, which is the lowest, through to nine which is the highest band.

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