Frequently Asked Questions

The National Health Service (NHS) is the United Kingdom’s premier agency for public healthcare and is funded with government funds. It has been operating since 1948 and is devoted to offering comprehensive, universal and free at the point of delivery healthcare for residents of the UK. In 2017 it employed around 1.7 million people, 691,00 of whom were nurses recruited to work in the UK. The NHS has a budget of £136.7 billion and is the fifth biggest employer in the world.
The NHS workforce is extremely diverse and multicultural. They often look beyond the UK and Europe to attract the best talent. Applications are particularly welcome from professionally qualified healthcare staff from outside the UK including nurses looking to work in the UK. The ‘person specification’ sets out the requirements needed to be considered for a particular job. If you have the relevant experience and qualifications, then you stand a good chance of being recruited into the NHS. Only applicants who demonstrate clearly in their application form that they meet the essential criteria for the post will be considered for interviews. The NHS recruitment process follows the best possible standards in international recruitment practices.
Nursing is on the UK shortage occupation list. The UK faces a shortage of nurses and welcomes well-qualified and experienced nurses from India and other countries. Nurses form the largest staff roster in the NHS and are an essential part of both on site patient care as well as the wider healthcare system. A variety of nursing jobs are available in a wide range of specialisations, skillsets and working environments. Nurses are a vital part of the care team on site, at a patient’s home and as part of the medical team in Emergency or surgery.

Typically nurses from India are recruited for the UK through various recognised nursing recruitment agencies who see to it that potential candidates fulfill all required criteria. They coordinate with the NHS to facilitate a smooth recruitment process, including obtaining the UK visa, as well a smooth transition for candidate moving to the UK from India. Over the years, hundreds of nurses from India have qualified to work in the NHS and have had a successful career in the UK.

To work in a nursing in the UK nurses recruited from India need to be fully qualified with a nursing degree and have at least one year’s experience in a nursing role. In addition, they need to have an IELTS or OET score.

In addition to their basic qualification, nurses recruited from India need to prove that they can speak, read and write English. To prove their proficiency in English, they need to have cleared either IELTS (International English Language Testing System) or OET (Occupational English Test). IELTS requirement is as follows: Writing=6.5/ Speaking=7.0/ Listening=7.0/ Reading=7.0. OET requirement is: Writing=C+/ Speaking=B/ Listening=B/ Reading=B. Both scores are valid for 2 years.

Health Education England (HEE), an NHS partner, offers a 10-12 weeks fully funded English language course which supports nurses to develop their language skills to required levels.

After having cleared IELTS or OET your nursing recruitment agency will set up an interview with you via Skype or a similar platform. Then candidates have to apply to the UK’s Nursing and Midwifery Council, which requires that all nurses working in the UK be registered with it, within two years of passing IELTS or OET.

After passing IELTS or OET the next step to a nursing job in the UK is to take a Computer Based Test (CBT) organised by the NMC. You have to sit for the CBT in your home country and it costs £83. You have two attempts to clear this exam. If you fail you have to wait 6 months before sitting for it again. Once you have passed the CBT you are registered with the Nursing Midwifery Council (NMC).

Nurses from overseas need to have a Certificate of Sponsorship (COS) to work in the UK. Your potential NHS employer will have to obtain the COS for you. This is given once you have received your decision letter from the NMC and submitted it to the NHS. This enables you to leave for the UK to assume your nursing job.

The following documents are required for the COS:

  • NMC decision letter
  • 2 official proofs of address

The NHS hospital employing you will pay the cost of sponsorship which you do not have to pay back. After receiving your COS you can apply for your visa.

After joining your employer in the UK, the next step for nurses recruited from overseas is the Observed Structured Clinical Examination (OSCE), the second test of competence to be able to work in the UK.
Questions in the interviews faced by nurses will be scenario based and depend very much on your current role. Interviews are usually conducted over Skype by an interview panel from an NHS hospital which may consist of a nurse and a member of the HR department. You can state your preferences for your preferred role and they will try their best to accommodate you.

Nurses looking to work in the UK need a wide range of skills to provide the proper care for their patients. These demands will vary according to their role and position – for example, the needs of an elderly patient with a severe illness are different from those of a young child with a broken bone. Nurses at the NHS can go into a variety of specialised areas as they progress through their career. They will also have the opportunity to train and develop their skill sets so that they are capable of working in a range of roles. 

Nurses working for the NHS can expect at least a remuneration of £18,005-£19,337 per annum for a 37.5 hours per week on a shift basis depending on the needs of the department/hospital. Typically nurses who join the NHS start at Band 3 and after registering with the NMC move up to Band 5. Your salary will be paid to you at the end of the month. You can transfer money to your home country through any international money transfer service rather than a bank which will charge a service fee of 2.5-3 per cent.

All NHS employees are automatically enrolled into a pension scheme for which approximately £110 -£145will be deducted if you do not opt out of it.

By joining the Nursing Staff Bank you can work overtime. Overtime pay is more than the normal wage.

As an NHS employee you can expect 27 days annual leave pls 8 days for public holidays. You are also entitled to 52 weeks of maternity leave.

Your NHS employer will pay for your flight to the UK. Their representative will meet you at the airport and take you to your accommodation as well as brief you on all that you need to know about settling in your new home.

The NHS will pay for the visa (£600) and health surcharge fee (£1,200) which you will have to pay back in monthly instalments from your salary.

Yes, you can work a second job if it does not exceed 20 hours a week. It must be a job in the same profession or one on the shortage occupation list.
It’s best to choose an area which is well supported. It is best not to choose a rural area for your first time in the UK. Nurses working in the UK can look forward to a high standard of living. However, the cost of living in the UK is also high.

A nurse who has already been in the UK will be assigned to you as your buddy. They will show you around and help you settle in and get to know the other nurses through WhatsApp and social groups.

Your NHS employer will arrange for a formal induction training programme. You will be given a schedule for it on arrival.

Your NHS employer will arrange suitable accommodation, paid for three months, for you close to the hospital. It will be furnished with food and household items to help you settle in quickly after you arrive. You will usually be recruited together with several nurses from your home country.
Rent varies depending on the location. On average it can be £400-500 per month. This includes the cost of utilities but not Internet and TV.

The climate in the UK varies from season to season. It is warm in summer and cold in winter with intermittent rain through the year. So, you should prepare for sun, rain and snow and take along a warm coat, hat, scarves, gloves and an umbrella as well as trainers or boots. All these items can also be purchased in the UK.

Nurses from India are required to be tested for tuberculosis. There are no other tests required.

You need to collect your biometric card within 10 days of arriving in the UK. You can apply for it in any post office closest to where you stay.

You will need a biometric card to open your bank account as well documents such as proof of address, proof of employment (contract letter), proof of ID and visa.

Once your contract period of three year with the NHS is over you can switch to any another employer. In case you leave earlier you will have to pay any money invested in you by the NHS.

You get permanent residency in the UK once you have worked in the country for 5 years and achieved indefinite leave to remain status, and spent no more than 180 days outside the UK in any 12-month period. After 11 months on indefinite leave status you can apply to be a British citizen. You will be told if your application has been successful within 6 months.

Nurses from India working in the UK can apply for the Tier 2 dependent visa (family visa). Costs of the family visa must be borne by the candidate. The whole process could take 4-6 months. It covers your immediate family only and not extended family.

Your legal partner/spouse can also work in the UK while on the family visa and apply for permanent residency after 5 years of stay in the UK. He/she will have to apply for a National Insurance number before starting work.

Primary and secondary state schooling is free in the UK. You are also entitled to 15 hours free childcare for children upto 4 years old.

You can extend your stay in the UK by applying for renewal of your Tier 2 visa before it expires. But this has certain conditions: 1) You must be in the same job as when the visa was previously issued. 2) You are still working for the same employer who obtained the COS for you.

The Global Learners Programme (GLP) is a three-year earning and learning experience offered by the NHS for nurses from overseas. It is an exciting opportunity to enhance your skills and includes salary, accommodation, and educational support. You will need to complete the ATS, an online application form, when you apply for the GLP. You will also be supported in taking the Objective Structured Clinical Examination (OSCE).

With its expertise in international recruitment and tie-up with the NHS, Bradford Global, as a prime NHS recruiter, is eminently suited to give you the right placement for your career boost. Our dedicated staffs are here to take you through the process effortlessly, answer every question you may have and ensure a smooth transition to the UK.

Once you have enrolled with us, Bradford Global will be in constant touch with your briefing you every step of the way. Before leaving you will have a detailed orientation about working and living in the UK as a nurse.

Candidates recruited by Bradford Global are not charged recruitment fees at any time during the recruitment process.

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