Nursing in the UK FAQ

Need more information about working as a nurse in the UK? Read our FAQs below.

Nursing in the UK
Salary & Benefits
Registration with the NMC
Current Opportunities

How do I register as a nurse in the UK?

You can make your initial inquiry in a number of different ways, HealthStaff Recruitment processes applications through our quick contact us form here or over the phone, using our free call numbers:

  • Ireland: 1800 422 011
  • UK: 0800 047 0924
  • New Zealand: 0800 223 381
  • Australia: 1800 330 533
  • Canada: 1866 286 7349
  • Rest of the world: +61 3 9827 4433

For an initial assessment, HealthStaff Recruitment will need a detailed CV.

You should commence the process by registering as a nurse, mental health nurse, midwife or sick children’s nurse with the Nursing and Midwifery Council NMC.

What does Band 5, 6 and 7 mean?

The system of pay bands used in the UK. There is a Salary for each band – please see the NHS current pay scales

Am I eligible to register in the UK and apply for a job through HealthStaff Recruitment?

To ensure you are eligible for registration in the UK, please refer to the Nursing and Midwifery Council website.

How will HealthStaff Recruitment assist me?

  • We advise each candidate on a number of Nursing Vacancies, these vacancies are specific to each application and are discussed in detail to enable you to decide which one or more to apply for.
  • We liaise between the chosen hospital and the candidate throughout the entire process the candidate is updated and informed of developments.
  • We will assist, where appropriate in your application to register as a nurse or midwife with the NMC in the UK.
  • We assist with your visa application where appropriate and are always on hand for advice or information.
  • Finally, we liaise with on site staff in the UK Hospitals, to organise each candidate’s “meet ‘n’ greet” a warm welcome and orientation is given to each candidate on arrival.

Can you tell me about visas for my family?

If your family will be travelling with you to the UK, then they will require visas. To understand the type of visa appropriate for your family, and for detailed information on visas, it would be a good idea to refer to this Government Services and Information page from Gov.UK. 

I need a detailed CV, how much detail is required?

When applying for a post outside your own country, those reading your CV may not be familiar with your hospital or the system of nursing in your country. Therefore it is important to  describe your working environment and the duties you carry out at work. HealthStaff Recruitment will give you a template and sample to follow.

How do I register as a nurse in the UK?

To learn more about registering as a nurse in the UK, please refer to the Nursing and Midwifery Council website. It will provide you with the latest processes and procedures for registration.

I am not sure whether I want to apply or not, can I have information first?

Yes, much of the information you require is on this website, however if you require more information, please feel free to call us, and we will discuss your options further to help you make an informed decision.

How long do I have to commit to?

We recruit to “perm” posts so a minimum of one year is expected. However all posts are permanent posts so you can stay as long as you want. If you are a non EU passport holder you will need to maintain your visa.

Will there be housing for me / my family on arrival?

Yes, however initially, you may have to take what is available at the time, and may not be able to select the location or type of accommodation. Depending on availability, and circumstances accommodation is arranged by either the client hospital or HealthStaff Recruitment through an on-site agent in the UK.

Who pays for the housing?

You will pay the rent for the housing but as always HealthStaff Recruitment will be on hand for detailed information, and advice on the best way to settle into your new locality. Sometimes the Hospitals will pay the first month rent if you are planning to stay for one year. There is a penalty clause that you would need to repay these costs if you fail to complete at least one year with the Trust. This benefit varies from Trust to Trust you will be informed on any benefits at enquiry stage.

What happens if I want to work in another hospital after I arrive?

If you are an EU National it is easy to move hospitals however you should complete the time you committed to. For Non EU your new employer would have to sponsor your work permit and visa.

Will my children get free schooling?

Free schooling will depend on the package from the position for which you are applying. In the event your children’s schooling is not covered, the UK has a number of leading schools. To learn more about your child’s education options, please refer to the links below:

I am going alone with my child. Is there childcare available?

Some hospitals have childcare facilities; however, there can be a waiting list for places. Each candidate’s personal circumstances are reviewed prior to arrival, and a personalised and detailed plan for UK integration is outlined. After the personalised integration plan is formed it is our job to ensure that everything is in place for the candidate when they arrive.

Will my partner be able to get a job?

The UK has a variety of options for you partner, should you decide to pursue employment in the UK. if you are curious about the job opportunities available, please refer to the UK job seeking sites listed below:

Do I get a free flight?

Generally Trusts will pay your mobilisation flight. Sometimes a return flight is paid. Never are holiday flights paid. Each Trust will have its own benefit package your HealthStaff recruiter will advise you the benefits of each post.

Do my family get free flights?

No, you get the same benefits package whether you bring a family or not.

Do I have to take an English Language test?

EU applicants

You will be tested at interview to determine whether your English language skills are adequate for safe and effective practice.

You will also be required to sit a literacy test and numeracy test at interview.

Non EU applicants

All non EU trained applicants to the nurses or midwives part of the register must complete, and provide evidence of the International English Language Test (IELTS) before submitting their application to the NMC.

You must complete the academic version of the IELTS test and achieve:

  • At least 7.0 in the listening and reading sections
  • At least 7.0 in the writing and speaking sections
  • At least 7.0 (out of a possible 9) overall

We will not accept applicants who score lower than this standard.

Frequently asked questions about NMC IELTS requirements

If you have more questions regarding the NMC IELTS requirements, please refer to the IELTS website for further information.

Do I have to pay for medical care?

You are entitled to NHS treatment, you will be able to use a GP (doctor), and other GP services (eg visiting a clinic) for free. You will also be able to get treatment in a hospital (both emergency and non-emergency).

What is the National Health Service (NHS)?

The NHS is the UK’s state health service and provides medical treatment through three main routes:

  1. General Practitioners (GPs – Doctor) Surgery, Clinic or Health Centre: When you arrive, you should register with a GP’s (doctor) surgery in the area in which you live. Your GP is usually the first point of contact for medical treatment. Most illnesses and other problems can be treated by a GP, but if you need to see a specialist, the GP will refer you to the appropriate hospital department.
  2. Hospitals: If your GP refers you to a hospital for treatment, you will usually be sent an appointment to see a specialist doctor at a hospital. You may be seen as an in-patient (where you stay at the hospital for treatment) or as an out-patient (where you visit the hospital each time you require treatment).
  3. Accident and Emergency (A&E) Departments:  Some (but not all) hospitals have A&E departments. These departments are open 24 hours a day and deal with patients needing emergency treatment. If you have an accident or urgent medical problem you can go to the A&E department – you do not need to make an appointment, but you may have to wait for more than an hour before being seen by a doctor.

Dealing with medical emergencies

If you need immediate medical assistance (for example, because of an accident) telephone 999. The call is free.

Am I entitled to free NHS treatment?

The following NHS treatment is free to anyone:

  • Treatment in an emergency (but not follow-up treatment)
  • Treatment of certain communicable diseases
  • Compulsory psychiatric treatment
  • Family planning services

EEA national students and any accompanying family members should obtain a European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) in their country of residence. This form entitles the holder and his or her family to full NHS treatment.

Non-EEA nationals and any accompanying family members, will not be entitled to free NHS hospital treatment, except in emergencies. GP’s may agree to treat you for free, but this will usually be limited to urgent treatment that cannot be delayed until you return home. You will have to pay for any other treatment as a private patient. It is therefore very important that you take out medical insurance for the duration of your visit to the UK. If you do not have insurance, private treatment could prove very expensive.

Reciprocal Health Care Agreements

The UK has reciprocal health care agreements with the following countries:

  •  Nationals of countries in the European Economic Area
  • Nationals of Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, Georgia, Yugoslavia ie Serbia & Montenegro, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Macedonia, Moldova, New Zealand, Romania, Russia, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Ukraine and Uzbekistan.
  • Residents of Anguilla, Australia, Barbados, British Virgin Islands, Channel Islands, Falkland Islands, Gibraltar, Iceland, Isle of Man, Montserrat, St Helena, Turks and Caicos Islands.

Reciprocal health care agreements will usually cover hospital treatment although you should check with your home country health authority for full details.

Please note that this list can change, please visit the Department of Health website for up to date information.

I am entitled to NHS treatment, what does the NHS provide free of charge?

If you are entitled to NHS treatment, you will be able to use a GP (doctor) and other GP services (eg visiting a clinic) for free. You will also be able to get treatment in a hospital (both emergency and non-emergency).

You may need to pay for some GP services (eg certain vaccinations), dental and optical treatment, medicines prescribed by your GP or prescription medicines. Some groups can get free prescriptions (see UKCISA guide below). If you cannot get free NHS prescriptions, and you will be receiving prescriptions on a regular basis, you could reduce your costs by purchasing a prepayment certificate. This is a certificate that allows you to make unlimited number of NHS prescriptions. If you think you will have to pay for more than 5 prescription items in 4 months or 14 items in 12 months, you may find it cheaper to buy a prepayment certificate (PPC). You can get a prepayment certificate application form from most Post Offices or apply for a prepayment certificate online.

You may also be able to claim for help towards health costs on the grounds of low income. Ask your GP surgery for a HC1 form (also available at ISAS and the ARC). Health benefits are not classed as ‘public funds’. Your immigration status will not be affected if you claim and receive any help with health costs.

For information on Private Health in the UK please see Private Health.

Can I bring my dog or cat?

The Defra website provides information on bringing pets into the UK.

How much will the process cost me?

HealthStaff Recruitment does not charge a recruitment or placement fee. We are paid by the hospitals  You will need to pay for:

  • IELTS exam
  • NMC exams (if applicable)
  • Certifying documents for NMC
  • Police clearance certificate
  • Certificate of good standing from all registration authorities you are registered with
  • Medical
  • Visa

Do you provide a meet and greet service?

Yes every candidate is offered a meet and greet service.