EU nurses could face extra NMC fees if there is a hard Brexit

NMC is preparing for a variety of post-Brexit outcomes for nurses who want to come to the UK

NMC is preparing for a variety of post-Brexit scenarios for nurses who want to come to the UK

EU-trained nurses may face greater competency tests in the event of a ‘hard’ Brexit. Picture: iStock

Nurses who trained in European Union (EU) countries could face more expensive registration and be required to pass competence tests to practise in the UK if there is a hard Brexit.

The Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) said it is preparing for the possibility the existing registration route for EU nurses might disappear if the UK crashes out of the bloc.

This could mean nurses who trained in EU countries would be treated as all other overseas applicants. At present, they merely have to prove their qualifications and English language competence; those from overseas, must also pay for and pass skills assessment.

Examining the options

NMC director of registration and revalidation Emma Broadbent told a meeting of regulator's council last week: ‘We are modelling scenarios and there is an option where the EU route disappears. We are accommodating that into our plans, but it is impossible to predict how likely it is to happen.’

Most EU-trained nurses are able to move freely between member states for work due to automatic recognition of qualifications. They pay £110 to cover their application process, then the same £120 registration fee as UK-trained colleagues.

In contrast, nurses from elsewhere pay a £140 application fee, but also face the additional fees totalling £1,122 on competence tests. Registration costs them £153, bringing the total bill per applicant to £1,415.

Mutually recognised qualifications

The UK is due to leave the EU on 29 March 2019. The government’s white paper on its preferred future relationship with the EU, published on 12 July, includes continuation of visa-free movement, as well as mutual recognition of qualifications.

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