With a growing populace of 63.2 million and a nursing population of approximately 400,000, now is the time, more than ever, for overseas-qualified nurses to make the most of an opportunity to travel to the United Kingdom and begin the life of an overseas qualified UK nurse.
The scarcity of nurses has meant that the position of nurse, including district nurse, practice nurse, psychiatric, staff and student nurse, as well as any other associated health care professionals such as mental health practitioners are greatly sought after in the UK. These job titles appear on the UK’s list of Skilled Employment – a list which provides a comprehensive list of jobs in the UK for which migrant workers may obtain a UK visa. By appearing on this list, the UK’s immigration rules provide an opportunity for overseas nurses to travel to the UK to take employment and has resulted in the creation of the Overseas Nursing Programme for all nurses applying as Tier 2 (General) Migrants.
The Overseas Nursing Programme has led to an increase of overseas-qualified nurses successfully finding employment in the UK from 2,306 in 2009 to 4,521 in 2013. However, whilst all of the above, makes it seem that any overseas qualified nurse can simply apply to travel and subsequently work in the UK, there are still stringent requirements which must be met to ensure a successful application!
To qualify for the Overseas Nursing Programme all applicants must have successfully registered with the Nursing and Midwifery Council – the UK’s authority on nurses and widwives. To register with the Council, applicants must meet the following criteria:
- Completing a Nursing degree and registering as a qualified nurse in a country outside of the UK;
- Obtain at least one year’s experience post registration;
- A minimum of level 7 in all of the IELTS categories.
Once registration has been completed, the applicant must make a successful application for employment with a UK registered sponsor, such as an NHS Trust Institution or any private care home, nursing home or hospital. This sponsor will sponsor them throughout their adaption to reach UK qualified nurse status and their subsequent employment. Once these requirements are met, the applicant is all set to make their application to travel to the UK as a Tier 2 (General) Migrant undertaking the Overseas Nursing Programme.
Upon obtaining a successful visa, the applicant will first undertake an adaption during which they will be classified as a supervised practice nurse and studying and working at the same time. During their adaption period of three to nine months they will earn a minimum salary of £16,271 per annum after which they will earn a minimum salary of £21,388 per annum and be practising as a fully qualified nurse here in the UK.
After five years stay in the UK as a Tier 2 (General) Migrant, the applicant will be eligible to apply for Indefinite Leave to Remain and British citizenship thereafter, along with any dependants that have brought with them during their stay as a Tier 2 (General) Migrant.
For more information on the Overseas Nursing Programme or to discuss making an application to enter the UK, or remain in the UK as an overseas-qualified nurse, please contact us at [email protected].
Or start your ONP Application with us now.