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NMC-UK-English Language Requirement Updates.

The Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) has today announced that it is making alternative options available for nurses and midwives, trained outside the UK, to demonstrate their English language capability. The changes will come into force on 1 November 2017.

Nurses and midwives who have qualified outside EU/EEA will now also be able to demonstrate their English language capability by providing evidence that they have:

Types of evidence that we will accept

Evidence type 1: You have recently achieved the required score in IELTS or OET. You must achieve the required score in each of the four areas of reading, writing, listening and speaking

  • We will accept a recent overall score of 7 in the academic version of the International English Language Testing System (IELTS). You must achieve no less than 7 in each of the four areas of reading, writing, listening and speaking.

  • You may provide two IELTS test certificates to meet the above requirements, but must not have scored below 6.5 in any categories, in either of the test sittings. The two test sittings should be taken within six months of each other to be considered.


  • Grade B in OET maps onto IELTS level 7.0.

  • Applicants would need to get a grade B in all four areas of the test (reading, writing, listening and speaking).

Evidence type 2: A recent pre-registration nursing or midwifery programme that has been taught and examined in English.

  • If you have completed a NMC approved pre-registration nursing or midwifery programme at a NMC approved educational institution you shall be able to satisfy the Registrar that you have the necessary knowledge of English.(List of approved universities will be published later)

Evidence type 3: Registration and one year’s practice with a nursing or midwifery regulator in a country where English is the first and native.

  • Nationals of the countries listed below are considered to be from a majority English speaking country and automatically meet the English language requirement:

  • Antigua and Barbuda

  • Australia

  • The Bahamas

  • Barbados

  • Belize

  • Canada

  • Dominica

  • Grenada

  • Guyana

  • Jamaica

  • New Zealand

  • St Kitts and Nevis

  • St Lucia

  • St Vincent and the Grenadines

  • Trinidad and Tobago

  • The United States of America

This list will be updated on a later stage

  • We may require employment references from each of your employers confirming that the practice you undertook was in English.

Views on the IELTS level:

Despite the fact that the IELTS level we have set is not in the scope of this consultation, there has been considerable comment about it from a range of stakeholders. There were a small number of stakeholders who were opposed to our proposals to extend the evidence for demonstrating English language competence that the NMC would accept, as they felt that we should simply lower the IELTS level required from 7.0 to 6.5, particularly for the written element of the test. Several other stakeholders, while supportive of the proposals overall, were keen to express the view that the IELTS level could be lowered. They believed that such a move would make it easier for applicants trained overseas to gain registration in the UK, without compromising patient safety.

However, this view about reducing the IELTS level was not unanimous; there were three organisations which were not in favour of an immediate reduction in the IELTS level. For example, the representative of one of the patient organisations said that they were opposed to any lowering of the score, as they felt that this might result in patient safety issues. The issue of a possible reduction in the IELTS level will be explored in more detail in the next phase of reviewing our English language requirements.

Next steps :

This has been the first stage in our review of English language requirements for nurses and midwives who want to work in the UK. We are committed to exploring other aspects of these requirements and the next stages will include reviewing other types of evidence which we could accept as demonstrating English language competence. However, for now, applicants from outside the EEA can only submit evidence type 1, 2 or 3. The next stages of our English language review include evaluating other types of evidence, developing additional support for applicants and exploring the writing element of IELTS.

If you are an overseas qualified Nurse ,looking forwards to work in the UK or if you meet the above NMC criteria please email your Curriculum Vitae to or Apply online

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