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Information for midwives

Midwives trained outside the UK and EEA

Midwives trained outside the UK and EEA

Anyone wanting to work in the UK as a midwife must register with the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC). However this does not provide the right to work in the UK. To be accepted for registration applicants must have successfully completed an approved programme of midwifery education and must also meet the NMC requirements of good health and good character. The registration requirements for midwives are different depending on where the applicant qualified. Information about this can be found on the NMC website. Registration with the NMC does not guarantee that you will find employment within the UK.

If you are not a UK/EEA national you will need to meet the requirements of the UK Border Agency regulations to gain the right to enter and work in UK.

The NMC sets requirements and standards from midwives outside of the UK and EEA. These must be met by any midwife whose initial training was not within the EU or UK and wishes to apply to join the NMC register.

All applicants to the register must:

  • Provide evidence of completion of an International English Language Test (IELTS) before submitting their application to the NMC. The minimum score for the IELTS must be in the academic range with a minimum score of 7 for each area of testing (listening, reading, writing and speaking)
  • Provide evidence that their pre-registration midwifery programme meets the UK and EU requirements before the NMC will consider the application. No shortfall in length or content of such training will be accepted. The evidence must be submitted in the format required by the NMC
  • Have completed a minimum of one year in midwifery practice following their initial registration before submitting their application to the NMC
  • If an applicant has not practised midwifery in the five years before their application to the NMC, they must return to midwifery practice in their home country before applying to the NMC. This return to clinical practice must be for a minimum of 12 weeks and references will be required from employers to assure the NMC that competence in midwifery practice was achieved by the end of the return to practice period
  • Provide evidence of continuing professional development since their original registration as a midwife
  • Demonstrate they are of good health and good character.

Adaptation programmes

Individuals who meet all the minimum requirements set by the NMC for applicants who trained outside of the UK or EEA will be given approval by the NMC to complete an adaptation programme. Only those midwives who have been given written approval by the NMC to adapt to working in the UK can undergo a midwifery adaptation programme. All applicants must have successfully completed an adaptation programme before the NMC will consider placing them on the Midwives Register. Individuals must have a sponsor (see our information on the immigration application process) in order to enter the UK to complete an adaptation programme, which will lead to employment as a registered midwife. For more information about adaptation programmes, visit the NMC website

EEA nationals

The NMC will compare the training in your country with that required in the UK. Where there are significant differences between the two, the NMC will detail these and you may be invited to make up the differences through a period of adaptation.

Midwives who received their training outside the EEA and have not been registered and practised in another EU member state for three years, will need to apply through the overseas route. This applies equally to overseas trained midwives who hold EU nationality or EC Treaty Rights.

Bulgaria and Romania

Midwives who qualified in Bulgaria and Romania must demonstrate to the NMC they possess relevant and recognised professional qualifications. Not all Bulgarian and Romanian nationals who have been working midwives in their home countries will be eligible to practise in the UK.

Bulgarian midwives will only be able to apply for registration if they hold a specific degree-level professional qualification. Romanian midwives who hold a qualification as an ‘assistant medical obstetrica-ginecologie’ will be able to apply to join the UK register.

More information is available on the NMC website.


Which immigration route will I need to use?

If you are not a British citizen, or a national of a country in the European Economic Area (EEA) you will need a visa and may need entry clearance before you travel to the UK. To obtain a visa or entry clearance you will need to meet all the requirements of the UK Border Agency which is responsible for the immigration process into the UK.

A national from outside the EEA seeking entry to, or permission to remain in, the UK for the purpose of employment will need to meet the requirements of tier 2 the points-based system. This is the immigration system which has replaced the immigration routes, such as work permits.

Will I have to take a health check?

All NHS staff must have a pre-employment health check, which adheres to equal opportunities legislation and good occupational health practice before starting employment. .

Where do I look for job vacancies in the NHS?

NHS organisations in England (and Wales) advertise their vacancies on the NHS Jobs website.