Non-UK nurses must possess excellent levels of English to work in the UK, as your ability to communicate is integral to the safety of yourself, your colleagues, and your patients.

The International English Language Testing System (IELTS)

For nurses relocating from EU countries there are no minimum IELTS requirements to register with the NMC.

However, for nurses outside of Europe, you are required to score a minimum of 7.0 in spelling, listening, reading and writing.

Information about the format of the test, as well as addresses of UK and overseas IELTS test centres and application forms, are available on the IELTS website.


HCL Permanent’s consultants are always happy to talk to nurses interested in relocating to the UK. In most cases upon applying for a vacancy a member of the HCL Permanent team will get in contact with you to discuss your application. This is not just an opportunity for you to discuss your experiences and background, but is also a chance for our consultants to assess your level of English and make a decision on whether your current level is clinically competent and work-safe.

If it isn’t, our consultants will advise you on the best course of action, usually recommending an online language course called ‘iPass’ before taking the IELTS test.


iPass is an online English course provider, who provides English courses at different levels. iPass offers a free test to determine your current level of English before recommending appropriate courses to improve. iPass also offer two specialist courses, which we recommend you purchase – ‘English for Nursing’ and ‘English for Health’. These courses require an upper-intermediate level of English. You will be able to identify if you are ready to take this course from the results of your level test.

To find out more about iPass, please visit:

Helpful websites:

Our consultants can answer any questions you may have about coming to work in the UK.
London Office: +44 (0) 20 7861 8950
Leeds Office: +44 (0)113 2438 200