Overseas healthcare professionals now only need to pass one language exam to work in the UK.
The changes, which affect doctors, dentists, nurses and midwives, were introduced on 1 October and are part of a move to make it easier for UK health services to recruit much-needed healthcare professionals from overseas.
Under the previous system, healthcare professionals were required to sit two English language exams – one set by the appropriate regulatory body (e.g. GMC, NMC or GDC), and the other devised by the UK Visas and Immigration Service.
However, with overseas healthcare professionals integral to the development of the country’s healthcare service, the former, which requires hopefuls to pass an IELTS or OET exam, remains in place as it is considered to be the more comprehensive of the two tests. Meanwhile, the latter has been scrapped.
These new rules were announced by immigration minister Seema Kennedy, who commented: “Overseas doctors, dentists, nurses and midwives are an integral part of our national health service, our social care sector and our local communities. That is why I have made it easier for them to apply to work in the UK.”
Ms Kennedy continued, stating: “My message is clear. If you are a talented nurse or doctor, if you are a gifted midwife or dentist, then I want you to choose to work here and to be a part of our country.”
Despite the number of language exams required to work in the UK being halved, the Home Office insists that healthcare professionals looking to live and work in the UK must still possess good English skills.
These language test alterations follow amendments which were made to the IELTS Writing exam in December 2018.
If you are a doctor, nurse or allied healthcare professional who is keen to live and work in the UK, contact our dedicated UKPerms team via email or call 0203 096 4590 during office hours.
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