Sponsorship for Overseas Nurses UK | Guide

Sponsorship for Overseas Nurses UK: What You Need to Know

The United Kingdom is an attractive destination for overseas nurses seeking to advance their careers. With a diverse culture and a world-renowned healthcare system, the UK offers an exciting opportunity for growth and development. However, navigating the sponsorship process for overseas nurses can be daunting. This blog post will guide you through the essentials, from obtaining visa sponsorship to successfully registering with the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC).

Short Summary

  1. Secure sponsorship for overseas nurses in the UK by obtaining a Certificate of Sponsorship, meeting eligibility criteria, and allowing up to three weeks for visa application.
  2. Visa sponsorship requires successful English language proficiency tests, passing an NMC CBT exam, and completing an OSCE assessment.
  3. Prepare for arrival in the UK with travel arrangements, induction training programs, and necessary documentation before submitting your visa application.

Securing Sponsorship for UK Nursing Positions

For overseas nurses aspiring to work in the UK, securing visa sponsorship is a crucial step. Without a valid visa, you will not be able to practice nursing in this country. Visa sponsorship entails obtaining a Certificate of Sponsorship from your prospective healthcare employer in the UK, such as an NHS Trust, which will enable you to apply for a Health and Care Worker Visa. Understanding the eligibility criteria for sponsorship is essential to ensuring a smooth visa application process and paving the way for a successful nursing career in the UK.

The UK government has implemented a points-based system to determine visa eligibility for skilled migrants, such as nurses. To be eligible for UK visa sponsorship, you must attain a minimum of 70 points, which includes having a job offer from an approved sponsor, satisfying the English Language requirement, and meeting the minimum salary threshold of £20,480 per year.

Processing the visa application typically takes up to three weeks, so it is important to plan your journey accordingly.

Visa Sponsorship

Visa sponsorship is a process in which a UK-based individual or organization, such as a healthcare employer, agrees to support the visa application of a foreign national, like an overseas nurse, and furnish the required documentation to the government. Upon the approval of your visa, and after passing the required English language test, you will be able to begin your journey to the UK and embark on your nursing career.

A Certificate of Sponsorship is a crucial document issued by your healthcare employer in the UK. It serves as proof that you have a legitimate job offer and are eligible to apply for a visa and work in the country. It is important to maintain close communication with your employer and the international recruitment team to ensure a seamless process in obtaining your Certificate of Sponsorship and, ultimately, your visa.

Eligibility Criteria

As mentioned earlier, to be considered for UK visa sponsorship, you must score a minimum of 70 points. This involves having a job offer from an approved sponsor, meeting the English Language requirement, and satisfying the minimum salary threshold. Demonstrating your English language proficiency is a key aspect of the eligibility criteria and is typically done through the completion of an approved language test. Reputable recruitment agencies can offer support and guidance in this process.

The minimum salary threshold for visa sponsorship is £20,480 per year, which ensures that overseas nurses are fairly compensated for their work in the UK. By fulfilling these eligibility criteria, you can successfully secure visa sponsorship and make your dream of working as a nurse in the UK a reality.

The NMC Registration Process for Overseas Nurses

In addition to securing visa sponsorship, overseas nurses must also complete the NMC registration process to practice nursing in the UK. This process ensures that you meet the necessary standards to provide safe and effective care to patients. The NMC registration process involves demonstrating English language proficiency, passing a Computer-Based Test (CBT), and completing an Objective Structured Clinical Examination (OSCE).

Understanding and preparing for each stage of the NMC registration process is crucial for a smooth transition into your UK nursing career. In the following sections, we will discuss the English language proficiency requirements, the CBT, and the OSCE in more detail.

English Language Proficiency

To demonstrate your English language proficiency, you must provide evidence of your language skills by completing an approved test, such as the International English Language Testing System (IELTS) or the Occupational English Test (OET). Both the IELTS and OET assess your reading, writing, speaking, and listening abilities, ensuring that you can effectively communicate in a healthcare setting.

Preparing for these tests can be challenging, but with proper guidance and dedication, you can achieve the required scores. It is important to thoroughly read the instructions, familiarize yourself with the test structure, and practice with sample questions. Additionally, honing your speaking and writing skills is crucial, as these are essential components of the tests.

Computer-Based Test (CBT)

The NMC Computer-Based Test (CBT) is an essential part of the registration process for overseas nurses. This multiple-choice examination gauges your comprehension and familiarity with the NMC Code, ensuring that you adhere to the professional standards expected of a nurse in the UK. To be eligible for the CBT, you must have met the English Language criteria and possess the required qualifications.

Adequate preparation is key to passing the CBT. You should study the material thoroughly, familiarize yourself with the format of the test, and take practice tests to ensure success. This will not only help you pass the CBT but also equip you with the knowledge necessary to provide high-quality patient care in the UK.

Objective Structured Clinical Examination (OSCE)

The Objective Structured Clinical Examination (OSCE) is a practical assessment that evaluates your clinical competencies, such as history taking, physical examination, diagnosis, communication, and counseling. This hands-on examination is designed to ensure that you can effectively apply your nursing skills in a simulated clinical setting, guaranteeing patient safety and the delivery of quality care.

To excel in the OSCE, it is important to practice and refine your clinical skills, as well as familiarize yourself with the competencies that will be assessed during the examination. By demonstrating your clinical proficiency through the OSCE, you can confidently embark on your nursing career in the UK.

International Recruitment and Support Services


Navigating the process of securing a nursing position in the UK can be complex and overwhelming. International recruitment and support services can play a vital role in guiding you through this journey. These agencies or organizations facilitate the recruitment of international workers, such as nurses, for employment in a foreign country. They offer assistance with visa applications, language training, cultural orientation, and other relevant support services, ensuring a smooth transition to your new career in the UK.

In addition to helping you secure a nursing position, international recruitment and support services also provide pastoral support to assist you in adjusting to your new environment. In the following sections, we will discuss how to find a reputable recruitment agency and the benefits of pastoral support services.

Finding a Reputable Recruitment Agency

Identifying a reputable recruitment agency is essential for a successful overseas nursing career. A reputable agency will have a strong track record of placing successful candidates, be transparent about their fees and vetting procedures, and be registered with the applicable regulatory bodies.

To find a reliable recruitment agency, you should conduct thorough research, seek recommendations from fellow nurses, and verify the agency's credentials. Working with a reputable agency ensures that you are placed in a suitable position, receive fair compensation, and are provided with the necessary support and guidance throughout the process.

Pastoral Support Services

Pastoral support services provide emotional and practical assistance to international workers, such as overseas nurses. These services may include counseling, mentoring, and other forms of support, helping you cope with the challenges of adjusting to a new country and work environment.

The benefits of pastoral support services are multiple. They can offer emotional and spiritual assistance, help you manage challenging situations, and provide guidance and comfort. Additionally, they can help reduce stress and anxiety while fostering a sense of community and belonging, making your transition to the UK that much smoother.

Preparing for Your Arrival in the UK

Once you have secured your visa sponsorship and successfully registered with the NMC, it is crucial to prepare for your arrival in the UK. This includes arranging travel and accommodation, as well as participating in induction and training programs. The Trust's wider teams, such as the Onboarding Team and the Practice Development Team, will provide support throughout your relocation process, ensuring a smooth transition into your new nursing role in the UK.

In the following sections, we will discuss travel and accommodation arrangements, as well as the induction and training process for overseas nurses in the UK.

Travel and Accommodation

The Onboarding Team is responsible for arranging travel and accommodation for overseas nurses. They will ensure that you have a comfortable place to stay during your initial months in the UK, providing single accommodation for the first three months.

In addition, the Onboarding Team will also collect you from the airport and provide transportation to your accommodation, ensuring a stress-free arrival in the UK.

It is important to maintain close communication with the Onboarding Team and ask any questions you may have regarding your travel and accommodation arrangements. Their support will be invaluable as you settle into your new life in the UK.

Induction and Training

Upon your arrival in the UK, you will participate in an induction and training process designed to prepare you for your nursing role. This process includes a pre-departure orientation program, professional registration with the Nursing and Midwifery Council, a minimum of three months of supervised practice, and support from the Trust's wider teams when you arrive in England.

The pre-departure orientation program is crucial in managing your expectations about UK culture and your upcoming role, as well as introducing the values and objectives of the organization. Additionally, it provides any necessary training to meet UK standards, ensuring that you are well-prepared to begin your nursing career in the country.

Visa Application Tips and Guidance

Successfully applying for a UK visa is a critical step in your journey to becoming an overseas nurse in the UK. To ensure a smooth application process, it is essential to be familiar with the required documentation and to be aware of common pitfalls to avoid.

In this section, we will provide tips and guidance to help you navigate the visa application process with ease.

Required Documentation

For a successful UK visa application, you must provide a range of documents, including a valid passport with at least six months remaining validity and blank visa pages, a photocopy of the passport's data page, bank statements, credit card statements, a driving license, educational certificates, evidence of car ownership, personal photographs, notarial certificates, business cards, and proof of finances.

It is essential to carefully review the list of required documents and ensure that you have gathered all necessary items before submitting your application. By doing so, you will minimize the chances of delays or complications in the visa application process.

Common Pitfalls to Avoid

When applying for a UK visa, it is important to be aware of the potential pitfalls that may arise, such as not providing all the required documents, not accurately completing the online application, not paying the fees on time, or not obtaining a certificate of sponsorship from your employer.

To avoid these common pitfalls, take the time to thoroughly research the visa application process and ensure that you understand all the requirements. Being well-prepared and vigilant throughout the process will increase your chances of a successful application and pave the way for a rewarding nursing career in the UK.


In conclusion, the journey to becoming an overseas nurse in the UK requires diligence, persistence, and preparation. By understanding the visa sponsorship process, successfully registering with the NMC, engaging with international recruitment and support services, and preparing for your arrival in the UK, you can make your dream of working as a nurse in the UK a reality. With the right guidance and determination, you will be on your way to a fulfilling and rewarding career in the UK's world-class healthcare system.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is the UK still recruiting international nurses?

Yes, the UK is still actively recruiting international nurses. The Department of Health and Social Care continues to work with partner organisations such as the World Health Organization (WHO) in order to increase the number of qualified healthcare professionals across England.

How can a nurse get a Permanent Residency in the UK?

In order to receive Permanent Residency (PR) in the UK as a nurse, you must be a qualified nurse in your home country, have English language proficiency, pass the Nursing and Midwifery Council self-assessment test, go through an NMC Application Assessment, and complete a Computer Based Test (CBT) and Online Job Interview.

The first step is to ensure that you are a qualified nurse in your home country. You must have the necessary qualifications and experience to be eligible for PR. You must also have a good command of the English language, as this is a requirement for all applicants.

The next step is to pass the Nursing and Midwifery Council self-assessment test. This is a multiple-choice test that assesses your knowledge.

How to apply for a Nursing position in the UK from abroad

For those wishing to pursue nursing in the UK from abroad, the process involves completing the NMC Eligibility Assessment, taking the recognised examination, taking the computer based test, completing a registration application and searching and applying for jobs. This process is much better handled in association with MMA nursing recruitment

With careful preparation and research, you can make your dream of becoming a UK nurse a reality.