Cost of test to join NMC register for overseas applicants to be cut

The computer-based test will now cost £90 and the practical exam £794.

Ian Snug
25 March 2019
nursing and midwifery council

The cost of the test for overseas nurses to join the NMC register is to be cut by more than 20%.

The cost of the professional test of competence that overseas nurses, midwives and nursing associates must take to work in the UK will reduce by more than 20 percent, the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) has announced.


The change, agreed with the organisations who provide the test, will take effect on 1 April 2019 – reducing the cost of the computer-based test from £130 to £90; the full cost of the practical examination from £992 to £794 and the resit cost of the practical examination from £496 to £397.

At a time when many of the ambitions for health and social care developments rely on nurses, midwives and nursing associates in order to be a success, this is one of a number of new proposed measures from the NMC to make it as straightforward and cost-effective as possible for people with the right skills to join its register.

Additional new proposals could make it easier for nurses wanting to re-join the register. Nurses will be able to choose a test of competence to demonstrate that their skills and knowledge are up to date, rather than undertake a course, which can take between three and 12 months to complete.

Furthermore, where people do choose a return to practice course, the NMC will no longer state the minimum length of the course. Educators will now be able to consider the skills and experience of the applicants and design the courses accordingly, increasing flexibility.


‘Challenging times’.

Andrea Sutcliffe, Chief Executive and Registrar at the NMC, said: “these are challenging times for health and social care with high vacancy and turnover rates – including over 40,000 current vacant nursing posts in the NHS in England alone – and around 5,000 nursing vacancies in social care.

“We know this has a direct and too often detrimental impact on the environment that nurses, midwives and nursing associates work in and the quality and experience of care people receive.

“By proposing a new way for even more people to get back to work after a break, and reducing the cost of the overseas test, we can enhance the numbers of professionals with the right skills coming onto our register. These are people we know are committed to providing the best and safest care possible.

I hope both of these changes show that the NMC is playing its part in positively addressing the nursing and midwifery shortages that exist in health services, adult social care services and within local communities across the UK.”


‘Recruiting more nurses’.

Danny Mortimer, Chief Executive of NHS Employers, said: “We know NHS organisations will need to continue to recruit more nurses from outside the UK as well as increase the UK supply. The openness of the NMC during the last 18 months to deliver changes to their processes has been welcomed by employers.

“The planned reductions in test fees and the proposed changes to how nurses and midwives can re-enter the register after a break from practice will be welcome news to our teams and patients. Including suitable nurses and midwives on the register as quickly as possible whilst upholding the necessary standards is critical in a competitive global market for nurses.

“Process improvement is continuous and NHS Employers looks forward to working closely with the NMC on the different reviews underway.”

UPDATE (27/03/2019 18:03): We incorrectly published that the cost of a practical examination would change from £794 to £992.