NMC sees increase in registrants from outside EU

By Julie Griffiths on 26 July 2018 NMC - Nursing and Midwifery Council Midwives Nurses

The latest figures from the NMC show an increase in the number of midwives and nurses joining the register from outside the EU.

In the past three months there has been an 86% increase – the average number of non-EU registrants joining each month increased to 440 between April and June 2018 compared with an average of 237 per month, in the previous nine months.

At the end of June 2018 there were 69,425 midwives and nurses on the register from outside the EU compared with 67,534 in July 2017 – an increase of nearly 2000.

The spike in numbers follows recent changes to NMC processes and the evidence accepted from midwives and nurses to demonstrate their English language capability.

The changes include accepting evidence that a nurse or midwife has been trained and examined in English or that they have practised in an English speaking country. 

Another change includes accepting the Occupational English Test (OET) in addition to the International English Language Testing System (IELTS) language test.

The NMC has also outlined further amendments. Plans include allowing midwives and nurses from outside the EU to apply to join the register immediately after qualifying – rather than having to wait 12 months as is currently the case.

A new online system will also be developed, allowing applicants to prepare and submit their application and track its progress, as well as an updated test of competence to reflect the NMC’s new education standards. There will be an improved guidance and support for applicants and employers too.

NMC director of registration and revalidation Emma Broadbent said that it was pleasing to see an increase in midwives and nurses from outside the EU joining the UK workforce over the past few months.

‘Indications are that the changes we’ve made are making a difference – but it’s very early days and we must wait to see if this trend continues,’ she said.

‘The fact remains that the UK workforce is under significant pressure and it’s vital that we continue to enable the right people with the right skills and knowledge to join our register in the quickest and safest way possible. 

‘That’s why the time is right to look at the application processes for overseas midwives and nurses as whole, to ensure that it’s truly fit for the future. Our proposals will make the application process simpler and fairer while continuing to maintain the high standards required to join our register,’ Emma added.

The NMC aims to introduce a revised and updated process for all overseas applicants from early 2019.