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Streamlining the Path for Global Nursing Talent: NMC’s Transformative Reforms on IELTS, OET, and Registration in 2024

The Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) in the United Kingdom has implemented significant changes in 2024 concerning the International English Language Testing System (IELTS), the Occupational English Test (OET), and the registration process for nurses and midwives. These changes aim to streamline the registration process and make it more accessible for overseas nurses, while also maintaining high standards of language proficiency necessary for safe and effective practice in the UK healthcare system.

In this Article:

IELTS Changes and Updates

The IELTS exam, a major requirement for nurses and midwives planning to work in the UK, has maintained its format into 2024 but with notable updates in its administration and acceptance:

  1. Exam Format and Structure: As of 2024, the IELTS exam continues to assess candidates on four skills: Reading, Writing, Speaking, and Listening. The format remains divided into IELTS Academic and IELTS General Training, catering respectively to those seeking higher education and those migrating for work.Nursing Abroad Why Critical Thinking Is Important in Nursing FB
  2. Validity and Scoring: The validity of the IELTS scores for registration with the NMC remains at two years. This standard ensures that the language skills of candidates are up-to-date and relevant to current professional demands.
  3. Changes in Score Acceptance: Notably, the NMC has ceased requiring candidates to send physical copies of their test results, simplifying the verification process. This adjustment aligns with the NMC’s move towards digital operations and faster processing times.

OET Adjustments

The OET, specifically designed for healthcare professionals, also saw adjustments in 2024:

  1. Exam Content and Format: The OET continues to evaluate English language proficiency across reading, writing, listening, and speaking, with content tailored to the healthcare environment. The format is designed to reflect real-life tasks that healthcare professionals might face.
  2. Registration and Result Submission: Similar to IELTS, the NMC now allows for digital submission of OET results, expediting the registration process for candidates and reducing the bureaucratic burden.

NMC Registration Process Enhancements

2024 brought significant enhancements to the NMC registration process for overseas nurses and midwives:

  1. Streamlined Online Application: The NMC introduced a more user-friendly online portal, which simplifies the submission of necessary documents and personal information. This new system is designed to be accessible on various devices, including smartphones and tablets.
  2. Reduction in Processing Times: The overall time for assessing applications has been reduced. Previously, the assessment could take up to 70 days, but with the new system, it aims to complete the process within 35 days.
  3. Elimination of Physical Documents: In a significant shift, the NMC no longer requires physical copies of certain documents, such as proof of passing the IELTS or OET. This change not only speeds up the process but also reduces the environmental impact associated with paper use.Nursing Abroad Hiring Ugandan Nurses 1024x683 1
  4. Adjustments in English Language Requirements: The NMC has revised its English language requirements, allowing more flexibility in proving proficiency. It has extended the period for combining test scores from six months to one year, providing candidates with additional time to meet the required standards.
  5. Support for Internationally Educated Nurses: The NMC has put measures in place to support internationally educated nurses through changes in the registration process, ensuring they meet UK standards without unnecessary barriers.


The NMC’s updates in 2024 reflect a commitment to improving the registration process for international healthcare professionals while maintaining the rigorous standards necessary for patient safety and effective communication in the UK healthcare system. These changes are expected to attract more skilled professionals to the UK, ultimately benefiting the overall quality of healthcare services.

For those looking to apply or learn more about these changes, it is recommended to visit the official NMC website or contact their support center for detailed guidance and up-to-date information.

Also Read:

How to Register with the UK Nursing and Midwifery Council: A Step-by-Step Guide for Nurses, Midwives, and Nursing Associates

How to Practise as a Nurse, Midwife or Nursing Associate in the UK: A Complete Guide

Requirements for International Nurses who want to Register as a United Kingdom Registered Nurse (UKRN) with UK NMC

Step by Step Process of Becoming A United Kingdom Registered Nurse (UKRN)

The Quickest Path to Becoming an RN in the United Kingdom in 2024 Without Taking Language Tests

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