IELTS Press release

European nurses must prove English language ability to practice in the UK

Nurses and midwives from Europe will need to prove they have the required English language skills to practise in the UK, under new rules coming into force today.

If nurses and midwives cannot provide evidence of their English language skills - such as having trained or worked in an English-speaking country – they will need to take an officially recognised English language test, according to the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC).

Under current rules, medical professionals from outside the European Economic Area (EEA) are required to take a test in order to register as practitioners in the UK. Many thousands take the International English Language Testing System  (IELTS) each year to prove their English proficiency.

John Gildea, Head IELTS at the British Council commented;

“As a secure and reliable test of the four skills - listening, reading writing and speaking - IELTS will also be an ideal choice for nurses and midwives who want to prove their English language ability. Our 50+ IELTS test centres across the UK stand ready to provide access and support to any medical staff wishing to test their English skills – and we hope that this will help to increase levels of public confidence in all medical staff working in the UK”.

According to the BBC, the NMC has more than 690,000 nurses and midwives on its register. Around 66,000 of these come from non-EU countries and 33,000 from the EU.

IELTS continues to be the world’s most popular English language proficiency test for education and global migration, and is accepted by over 9,000 organisations worldwide, including schools, universities, employers, immigration authorities and professional bodies.

IELTS is jointly owned by the British Council, IDP: IELTS Australia and Cambridge English Language Assessment.