Recruit Nurses from Overseas

Secure Your Future Healthcare Workforce by Sponsoring Overseas Candidates

Work as a Nurse in the UK

Why Recruit Nurses & HCAs from Overseas?

The current shortage of qualified nurses and healthcare staff in the UK is well-documented and chronic. Staff turnover has always been high in healthcare and retention difficult. The NHS has long been committed to recruiting from overseas, and since Brexit care homes are following suit. Although upfront costs can be significant, sponsoring an overseas candidate usually secures them for a fixed term of between 3 & 5 years. Candidates from overseas are typically much more committed since moving abroad is involved and requires huge dedication. Even HCAs recruited from overseas can be qualified nurses who have fallen short of the requirements to register with the NMC – an attractive proposition for employers who might otherwise recruit inexperienced British nationals.

What is Involved in Sponsoring Overseas Candidates for the Employer?

The first step in sponsoring overseas nursing staff is to apply for a license from the UK governement. This currently costs from £536 depending on your organisation. The process is not difficult if you are thorough & as a CQC registered healthcare provider you are usually eligible. Most of the process is concerned with identifying and verifying you as a company, and ensuring you have a good reason to need the licence. There’s even now a ‘Health and Care Worker Visa’ in recognition of the needs of our industry. Your recruit will need to fill a position in a ‘shortage occupation’ to be awarded a visa. Currently, only nurses and senior healthcare assistants are on this list, but healthcare assistants are soon to be added to it. You should refer to the website for a list of eligible occupations and their salary requirements.

Register Your Interest in Overseas Nurses & HCAs

Nurse Qualifications from Overseas

Degree & diploma nurse qualifications from countries such as India and the Philippines are recognised by the NMC – Nursing & Midwifery Council – and fully transferrable. When registering candidates from overseas, the NMC test for occupational competence and for level of English.

The competence testing is delivered directly by the NMC, and comprises two elements known as the CBT and the OSCE.

The CBT is the computer based test and it is purely theoretical. It tests the candidate’s numeracy and their knowledge as a nurse. The OSCE is a practical test and involves observing a practical situation that is typically simulated.

English testing can be done externally and from the candidate’s home country. Recognised English tests include IELTS and OET. It’s not unusual for candidates to have undertaken their own exams before approaching an agency to find employment in the UK, but the NMC tests must be completed on UK soil.

The good news is it’s possible to test and prepare your nurse candidate before their arrival, and assess their likelihood of passing before committing.

What About the Expenses of Recruiting from Overseas for Employers?

You can set your own boundaries here to an extent, but most candidates will expect a similar package from UK employers. Nurses recruited from overseas will need help not only to qualify & register, but also with the relocation itself. It’s typical for NHS trusts to assist with the relocation costs of their candidates from the cost of flights to accommodation, and even provide pastoral support with bank accounts and amenities. If you’re not able to meet these costs fully, it’s customary to provide support in the form of a loan for example. The candidate is usually responsible for the costs of their visa application, but some employers also reimburse these costs. Although the upfront cost can be quite high, costs can be recovered quite quickly when compared to the cost of agency staffing. It’s important to also consider that your candidate is committed to a longer term of employment than a typical UK employee.

What Quality of Candidate can I Expect from an Overseas Nurse?

It will be ultimately your responsibility to interview candidates and satisfy yourself of their suitability, but you can expect to find candidates with anything from 1 year of experience to 10. There are typically fewer opportunities available locally to overseas nurses – especially positions which compete with a UK salary & prospects. Working in the UK can therefore be a very attractive proposition, even to the best candidates. There are areas of India where nurses are very poorly paid and underappreciated, and a large number of qualified people find their way to employment overseas. It’s not unusual for university graduates from India to be more than willing to take up HCA positions in the UK, and nurses who do not quite meet NMC requirements are also equally willing to work as HCAs until their test scores improve in many cases.

International Nurses in the UK

Secure Staff for 3-5 Years

With sponsorship from overseas, you can retain candidates for between 3-5 years

Find Stronger Candidates

With fewer equivalent opportunities available in their local areas, positions in UK nursing look more attractive to the best candidates from overseas

Invest in Your Nursing Workforce

Once you have a licence to sponsor overseas nurses you’ll have a ready pool of candidates whenever you need new staff

Nursing & Midwifery Council

The Nursing & Midwifery Council is the regulatory body for all nurses in the UK

The UK Government

The UK government issues all licences to sponsor workers from overseas and issues all work visas.

International English Language Testing System

The International English Language Testing System (IELTS) provide testing services for candidates to prove they have the requisite level of English to work in the UK as a nurse.