It’s official: NMC accepts OET as proof of English proficiency

Finally, Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) in the United Kingdom has accepted Occupational English Test (OET) as an alternative evidence of English language competency for overseas nurses joining the register.

In a news release issued on Wednesday, October 18, 2017, NMC announced that the changes in English requirements will take effect starting November 1, 2017.

“I am happy to announce that we will align our English language evidence requirements for all nurses and midwives who want to come and work in the UK from 1 November. We will also now be accepting the Occupational English Test (OET), alongside the International English Language Testing System (IELTS) and will continue to review other English language tests with a view to expanding the list of tests we accept,” said Emma Broadbent, NMC Director of Registration and Revalidation.


Here’s the official release from nmc.org.uk:

NMC to amend English language requirements for applicants trained outside the UK


The Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) is making alternative options available for nurses and midwives, trained outside the UK, to demonstrate their English language capability.

The Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) is making alternative options available for nurses and midwives, trained outside the UK, to demonstrate their English language capability.

From 1 November 2017, we will accept the Occupational English Test (OET) in addition to the International English Language Test System (IELTS), as proof of a nurse or midwife’s English language competence. While this provides an alternative way for nurses and midwives to demonstrate their English language capability, applicants will still be required to meet our existing English language standards.


Nurses and midwives who have qualified outside EU/EEA will now also be able to demonstrate their English language capability by providing evidence that they have:

  • undertaken a pre-registration nursing or midwifery qualification taught and examined in English. 
  • registered and practised for a minimum of one year in a country where English is the first and native language, and a successful pass in an English language test was required for registration.


These alternative forms of evidence will bring the options available for nurses and midwives trained outside the EU/EEA more closely in line with evidence that we accept for those trained in the EU/EEA.

NMC has been using IELTS as language requirement since 2007, but a lot of nurses say that it is too difficult, especially the written subtest. It has been blamed by some for holding up trust’s ability to get overseas recruits onto wards and even for deterring applicants.

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