IELTS, OET score relief opens UK’s door for more nurses

Times are good for nurses dreaming of landing a job in the UK with the Nursing and Midwifery Council making changes in the English proficiency test scores.

Published: 01st November 2022 08:11 AM  |   Last Updated: 01st November 2022 08:11 AM   |  A+A-


Image used for representational purpose only. (File Photo)

Express News Service

KOCHI:  Times are good for nurses dreaming of landing a job in the UK with the Nursing and Midwifery Council making changes in the English proficiency test scores. The changes will come into effect in 2023. Another good news for those in medical profession is the memorandum of understanding signed by NORKA and one of the partners of the Integrated Care System (ICS).  Shoby Joseph, president of the United Nurses Association (UNA), said for nurses from the state, unlike in the past when they made a beeline for the Gulf countries, now the preferred destinations are the UK, Australia, New Zealand, Ireland and some of the European countries like Germany.

“On average around, 3,000 to 4,000 Malayali nurses from not only Kerala but also other states are getting recruited to these countries in a month,” he said. “Other than the recruiting done by government agencies, private agencies are sending trained nurses from Kerala to foreign countries,” he added. Till now, the difficulty in clearing the IELTS and OET has been a bit of a deterrent. “But with the changes being brought in by the Nursing and Midwifery Council the test scores, the chances have become very high for the nurses to get placed in the UK hospitals,” he said.

‘Strong foundation of Kerala nurses reason for demand’

Among the nurses who migrated from Kerala in 2012, 38% were working in the US, 30% in the UK, 15% in Australia and 12% in the Gulf. The trend changed in 2016 and among the emigrant nurses, 57% were found to be working in Gulf countries. According to ‘Review of international migration of nurses from the state of Kerala, India’, a study conducted by WHO, the migration during 2020–2021 was twice the numbers in 2018–2019, though there was a 25% dip in 2019–2020. “During this period, migration to the UK and the UAE increased by 15.4 times and 3.3 times, respectively, but declined to Saudi Arabia to about one-third,” said the study.

“That is true,” said Shoby. According to him, now, there is an increased demand for Kerala nurses in European countries like the UK, Ireland, Germany and Italy, and Japan but less demand in KSA and the USA.

 According to a NORKA official, nurses from Kerala are in demand because they have a strong base due to the course module they are taught in the nursing colleges.“The medium of teaching, which is English, also helps,” he added. However, what the state government aims for is a triple-win situation, he said. According to Sheeba George, a nurse working in a hospital at Worcestershire in the UK, another good news is a proposal  to allow the nurses working in the UK for four years to directly apply to become registered nurses. “They don’t have to write the OET or any other language proficiency courses. As such, the nurses coming from Kerala are well-versed in English since the mode of teaching in all schools in the state is English,” she said.   “There is also a huge number of vacancies,” she added.

What’s new in terms of IELTS, OET score?
Currently, if you don’t pass the first time, you can resit and combine scores from two test certificates. You can’t combine test scores if you achieve less than 6.5 IELTS or C+ / 300 or above OET in any part of the test. As this is already the required score for writing, it means there’s no flexibility for this part of the test.

But from early 2023, this will change. The candidate must still achieve the required test scores for each domain. But to combine test scores, they will need to get no less than 0.5 IELTS or half a grade OET below the required score for every domain. This means they will be able to combine their scores as long as they achieve 6 IELTS or C / 250 or above (OET) score in writing, and 6.5 IELTS or C+ / 300 or above OET score in the other three domains.


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  • Rupa shrestha

    What about if we take first oet exam in 2022 and second in 2023???it will be grateful if you let me know
    2 months ago reply
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