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NMC, UK announces flexibility for foreign Nurses in IELTS English exam

Nursing & Midwifery Council (NMC) has announced changes in its International English Language Testing System (IELTS) requirements for nurses and midwives coming on to the register from overseas and within the European economic area.

This is aimed at making it more flexible for overseas Nurses to acquire the required IELTS score while still ensuring that the appropriate minimum standard is met to carry out their jobs successfully.

Under the previous system, applicants were required to achieve the IELTS Academic Test Level 7 in reading, writing, speaking and listening in a single sitting. Under the new protocols the NMC still requires applicants to achieve Level 7 in all areas, but this can now be achieved over two sittings of the tests. Both tests must be within six months of each other and no single score must be below 6.5 in any of the areas across both tests.

Nurses trained within EEA/EU can take any version of IELTS Academic Test as they currently do not need any work visa to come and work in the UK, however overseas Nurses from outside EEA who want to come and work in the UK must take the UKVI version of the IELTS Academic exam as its needed for processing their Tier 2 General visa.

Separate test sessions are held for UK Visas and Immigration applicants. You must ensure you register for an “IELTS for UKVI” test date.  The IELTS test for UK visa purposes is designed to meet certain administrative requirements that are specific to UK Visas and Immigration. Test Report Forms will be slightly different, to show that test takers have taken the test at an IELTS UK visa session.

There are no differences in the test format or questions. The actual test taken is the same – same content, examiners, format, level of difficulty, scoring and so on. For further details and to book please visit:  http://takeielts.britishcouncil.org/ielts-ukvi/book-ielts-ukvi

We at UK Visa Works specialise in providing immigration and recruitment services to the healthcare sector in the UK. If you are an overseas nurse trained wishing to work in the UK then please get in touch using our contact form. You can also follow us through our facebook page.


  1. I would like to ask what UKVI academic ielts score is required for nurses anout to take osce?

  2. Egbule Judith

    Please, which ielts exam type is required for NMC registration, normal or ukvi?

    1. NMC will consider both for registration purpose; however for getting the Tier 2 General visa, you will have to submit the UKVI version so please take that exam as it will meet both purposes.

  3. Please, I just took my ielts academic version in June. I never knew there was ukvi version. Can I prove my English language in other way or i must sit for ielts ukvi?

    1. Mary there are other options such as if you are a national of a English Speaking country or you can prove your knowledge of English by having a degree that was taught or researched in English.

      (If you have a degree from a UK university, you only need your original degree certificate.
      If your degree isn’t from a UK university, you’ll need your original degree certificate and one of the following:

      * an original letter or certificate from UK NARIC confirming the equivalent level of your degree, plus an official letter from your university with your name and degree confirming that your degree was taught in English
      * an original and official certificate from your university confirming the degree was taught or researched in a majority English-speaking country (except Canada))

  4. Greetings!

    I would like to ask something about combined IELTS. I took IELTS UKVI Academic and scored Listening 7, Reading 7, Writing 6.5, Speaking 6.5; however, I’m planning to take another exam to meet the needed minimum band score. Can I take the Regular IELTS Academic instead?

    This needs urgent response because I’m planning to take it as soon as possible. Thank you!

    1. You will need to take IELTS UKVI Academic in order to be eligible for combining the score with the one you have already taken; as NMC criteria to assess English of overseas qualified Nurses is through the IELTS Academic version and not General.

      Based on the IELTS UKVI Academic scores you have posted above you will need to score at least the following: Listening 6.5, Reading 6.5, Writing 7, Speaking 7. Thank you

  5. Greetings, I want to understand clearly the ielts test to take as a nurse wanting to work in the UK.is it UK vi academic?

    1. Thank you for contacting us.

      Yes any Non-EU national Nurse who wishes to come to UK and work on work visa must take the UKVI version of IELTS.

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