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Getting a work permit

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What do I need to know?

If you are not a UK citizen, and qualified as a nurse or midwife outside the UK, this page answers some frequently asked questions that should help you to get a job in the UK, in relation to getting a work permit.

What is a work permit for?

The work permit scheme permits British employers to employ people from outside the EU or EFTA; who would otherwise be prevented from working in the UK. Work permits are issued only where there is a clear benefit to employment and the economy in Britain.

Typically, they are only issued for senior managers and highly skilled professionals or personnel with rare technical skills and where the employer can show that they cannot fill the vacancy with a British, EU or EFTA national. The current shortage of nurses and midwives in the UK means that most overseas applicants are unlikely to have problems getting a work permit.

Who needs a work permit?

Everyone except:

European Free Trade Area (EFTA) nationals, which includes British citizens, nationals of member states of the EU or Iceland, Norway, Gibraltar and Sweden.
Commonwealth citizens given leave to enter or to remain in the UK on the basis that a parent or grandparent was born here.
How does it work?

A work permit is only issued for a specific employer and post. If you apply for a post with a different employer or for a different occupation, then your new employer must make another application (for change in status). To apply for a work permit for a prospective employee the employer must:

be able to give reasons why they have not been able to recruit within the EC
have advertised the post nationally (within the last 6 months) in a national newspaper or in a recognised trade or professional journal.
provide the advertising details and the response rate, with reasons why other prospective candidates were not suitable.
Once the need for a work permit has been established, the employer will then arrange the application for the permit. Applications typically take between 6-8 weeks to be processed. If there is any doubt over a person s work status, the employer will not make the application, as it is unlawful to employ someone without a valid work permit. So the paperwork, however complex, must be completed correctly.

Contact Address:

Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC)

23 Portland Place,

London, W1B 1PZ

Tel: (+44) 20 7637 7181


This information may change without notice, so you are urged to check with the sources cited in the text.

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