Number of non-EU nurses seeking UK registration soars

Applications to join the NMC register from nurses and midwives outside Europe more than treble in two years.

The number of applications to join the Nursing and Midwifery Council’s (NMC) register from professionals trained outside Europe more than trebled in the past two years. 

NHS needs a proper workforce strategy, says RCN’s Susan Williams Photo: Barney Newman

The NMC said the rise was due to nursing being placed on the government’s shortage occupation list. The profession will remain on the list until July 2019 when its position will be reviewed. 

In 2015/16, the NMC processed 2,145 applications from nurses and midwives trained outside the European Economic Area (EEA). This was up from 665 applications in 2014/15, according to the regulator’s annual report.

UK applications down

There was an increase in applications in the same period from people trained inside the EEA, from 7,744 to 9,389, but a fall in UK applications from 20,334 to 19,133. 

RCN senior international adviser Susan Williams said: ‘We clearly are dependent on these EEA and non-EEA nurses to deliver our health service. 

Look to the long term

‘For the short term, nursing needs to remain on the shortage occupation list but as we keep saying, the long-term issue is having a proper national health workforce strategy so we are not reliant on EEA and non-EEA nurses.’

A Department of Health spokesperson said: ‘We are already delivering our plan to train more homegrown nurses.’

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