A step by step approach

1./ IELTS Accreditation

This is the stage where Language Training Solutions can help most. Many people have needed up to 18 months or more at this stage. However, assuming a reasonable starting level of English language proficiency, the timeline here can be 3-9 months.

2/ CBT (Computer Based Testing)

The Computer Based Test aims to test nurse clinical competency as a nurse. The testing is in a multiple-choice format, covering 120 questions over a four-hour period. Testing is available in many locations outside the UK. The objective is to test overall general competency for the nursing register applied for, either general nursing, children’s, learning disability, mental health or midwifery. It is recommended that preparation for the examination is completed, the suggested timeline here is 0-3 months.


3/ NMC Registration

Registration with the Nursing and Midwifery Council(NMC) can be commenced after the IELTS and CBT stages have been completed. The first part will be to gather all documentation for submission in relation to your nursing education, experience and background. You will also need to demonstrate ‘good standing’ I relation to all the nursing regulatory bodies where you have worked formally. Your education will be assessed in terms of the course content and clinical hours, based upon transcript. Official translation of documentation may also be required. Timeline here should be 4-9 months

4/ Visa Application

The visa application is processed in conjunction with the Employer. They will need to obtain a COS (certificate of sponsorship) in relation to each nurse. Nurses now however are a ‘shortage occupation’ for visa purposes. This will be processed once the nurse reaches the appropriate stage in the NMC process. It should be recognised that Employers are also liable for the ‘migration levy’ with respect to international nurses. Overall their investment in a new nurse, will be very considerable.


Timeline 0-3 months.

5/ Travel

Once the visa is issued the candidate may travel. Candidates will work in a nurse assistant role typically until successful in the OSCE examination. During this time, considerable resource should be applied to learning for the OSCE examination.

6./ OSCE

OSCE is the Objective Structured Clinical examination. It differs from the CBT which is more a theory based examination, in that it is practically based and simulates patient interaction in a variety of settings. Currently the examination is administered at the University of Northampton, Oxford Brookes, and the University of Ulster in Northern Ireland. Preparation in depth is very important and should be coordinated with the Employer as recently the pass rate experience has been around 50%. Also, it is both expensive and difficult to rebook within the timeline of the initial visa. Only two sittings are anticipated under the current framework, though to avoid the risks of needing to return home, it is far better if success can be achieved at first sitting.


Timeline: 3-6 months.

Overall Timeline

With an assumed IELTS/CBT pass within 9 months, a further 6 months to travel is realistic and thereafter 3 months for the OSCE in the case of a committed nurse following the process in a methodical and successful manner. In these circumstances, a timeline of 18 months ought to be a realistic aspiration to a full nursing role. However, it should be borne in mind that delay, especially in the IELTS stage can push this timeline out by anything up to a further 18 months in some cases, even where ultimately successful.
The Employer Job Offer.
Many people currently obtain a job offer before IELTS success and consequently are involved in a long engagement process. The likelihood in the future is that engagement will tend to be more around candidates post IELTS success into the future as more candidates