Non EU-trained nurses and midwives will be able to apply to work in the UK immediately after qualifying, following changes by the Nursing and Midwifery Council.

Until 25 September nurses and midwives from outside the EU had to have worked for at least 12 months after qualifying before being able to apply to work in the UK.

However, the NMC has said these changes have now brought applicants from outside the EU in line with their EU counterparts.

The NMC has also introduced “improved guidance and supporting materials” for applicants so that they can be as well prepared as possible to show that they meet the regulator’s requirements.

Emma Broadbent, director of registration and revalidation at the NMC said: “This change will remove an unnecessary barrier, making it as simple and straightforward as possible for highly skilled nursing and midwifery staff to join the workforce.”

The NMC has also proposed new standards regarding returning to practice and readmission to the register.

The proposed standards include:

  • Completing 750 hours of practice in the previous five years
  • Completing 450 hours of practice in the previous three years
  • Completing the equivalent number of registered practice hours while registered with the relevant regulator overseas
  • Successfully completing an NMC-approved return to practice

The NMC is currently seeking views on its proposals that it says would increase options for nurses, midwives and, in the future, nursing associates, to show they are safe to return to work after time away from their profession.