NMC – English Language Requirements


In March 2015 new UK legislation (The Health Care and Associated Professions Order 2015) was approved which introduced new requirements relating to English language competence for certain professions including nurses and midwives. The NMC ran a consultation period between 1st June 2015 and 21st August 2015. The NMC has now published new requirements of evidence of language competence for all EU Trained nurses and midwives wishing to join or re-enter the register from 18th January 2016.

Who will this affect?

  • All EU trained nurses and midwives will need to provide evidence they have the necessary knowledge of English as a prerequisite for registration with the NMC from 18th January 2016.
  • All nurses and midwives seeking readmission following a lapse in Registration who originally trained in EU countries.
  • Nurses who have a Fitness to Practice action or allegation who already have registration, where concerns are raised about their knowledge of English. In theory this could apply to any EU nurse or midwife currently registered and working in the UK if concerns are raised. Guidance will be released for decision makers and fitness to practice panels to ensure fairness.

How will it be assessed?

Applicants who have trained in the UK will automatically satisfy they meet the requirements. All EU nurse and midwife applicants from January 18th 2016 trained outside the UK will be required to demonstrate they have adequate language skills in order to complete the registration with the NMC. The NMC will only ask for evidence once the initial application has been approved in terms of eligibility to register for the NMC. Therefore language controls will only be carried out after the recognition of a professional qualification, but before registration. The NMC will accept the following as demonstration of language competence:

  • ILETS with a minimum score of 7.0 and at least 7.0 in reading, writing, listening and speaking (valid in the last 2 years) or if the certificate is older than 2 years if the registrant can prove their language skills have not deteriorated in that time. Evidence may be completing post graduate study taught and examined in English, or evidence that they have practiced as a nurse or midwife in a country where English is the first and native language.
  • Evidence of a pre -registration course taught and examined in English. The course must be composed of at least 50% clinical interaction. At least 75% of the course’s clinical interaction with patients, service users, their families or other health care professionals must have taken place in English.
  • Evidence of registration and two years of registered practice with a nursing and midwifery regulator in a country where English is the first and native language where a language assessment was required for registration.

Find out more about the new language requirements in the following links:

Free online courses:

In this section you can access online free courses we selected to help you understand and practise for IELTS ( International English Language Testing System).

IELTS – International English Language Testing System – http://www.ielts.org/

Understanding IELTS: Techniques for English Language Tests – https://www.futurelearn.com/courses/understanding-ielts

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