nurse with patients

Nursing Jobs in the UK: Advice for Overseas Nurses

nurse with patientsThe UK welcomes fully trained and hard working nurses from overseas. The British National Health Service (NHS) currently employs 1.3 million health professionals, with over 370,000 being qualified nurses.

In this article I share some advice on how you can get a job in the NHS and live and work in the UK. If you are still only considering a career in nursing, read 10 reasons to become a nurse.

The NHS

nhs-logo-imageThere are 2,300 hospitals across the UK, 8,000 GP practices, 10 ambulance trusts, 34 community providers, 56 mental health trusts, 160 acute trusts, and 211 clinical commissioning groups.

For overseas nurses looking for jobs here in the UK, the job market is currently diverse and exciting but the application process can be competitive and challenging.


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Working for the NHS is extremely fulfilling and also rewarding in many ways. Becoming an NHS employee will give you many public sector perks such as overtime pay and other pay enhancements, automatic approval for the NHS pension scheme, annual reviews and great job progression for staff members, and the benefit of having 27 holiday days a year plus eight public holidays.

If you are an overseas applicant, it’s important to familiarise yourself with the application process. Follow these steps to apply:

Register for the Nursing and Midwifery Council

To work in healthcare services in the UK, you need to be on the NMC register. To do this, you will need to complete these stages:

  1. Download an information pack – Visit the NMC online to download an information pack. This will detail all the documents required to apply for the register.
  2. Send your documents off – as detailed in the pack, send all necessary paperwork and your payment to the NMC for assessment.
  3. Await the decision – the NMC will assess your overseas qualifications against its own NHS grading equivalent in the UK.
  1. Search and Apply for Jobs

If you are accepted onto the NMC Register, it’s time to start searching for the right jobs. The NHS post jobs onto their website regularly but you can also use healthcare personnel websites such as nursing-personnel.com (search here). Make sure you register with the nursing-personnel.com website so you can apply easily online and also get job alerts direct to your email. This is the time you also need to think about which areas of the UK you would like to live/work in – and always set aside enough time to do your applications without any distractions.

Preparing for Your Interview

If you have been invited to an interview, always be prepared before the day comes. Research your job role, revise your job description so you know exactly what is required, familiarise yourself with the NHS and its policies, always use examples of how you have excelled at work or in education, and make eye contact with your interviewers. Read more on the NHS website about how to manage your interview well.

If you are applying from outside of the European Economic Area and Switzerland, a points based system will be used to assess your eligibility. This system is designed to place applicants in the most suitable routes of employment or education and can be distinguished via different tiers.


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The ways in which points will be awarded varies between job roles and tiers. Tier 1 applies to highly skilled individuals whilst Tier 5 applies to youth mobility schemes, temporary workers or exchange schemes. To understand the different tiers and how they affect your job application, read more on the NHS Careers page.

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