The Nursing and Midwifery Council has suspended applications from overseas nurses seeking to join the UK register while it carries out a review of its processes.
Announcing the decision, the regulator said the review would lead to a “clearer, better understood and more robust registration process for overseas applicants and will strengthen the NMC’s ability to protect the public”.
The review follows the publication of a critical review from the Professional Standards Authority last year, which found the NMC was not fulfilling its responsibilities “effectively or efficiently”.
The regulator said the review was not due to concerns that nurses trained overseas posed a higher risk than UK nurses, but was part of its “ongoing improvement plan”.
An NMC spokeswoman said a decision had been taken to suspend applications until the end of February in case the review recommended a change in the documentation required from applicants.
Overseas nurses already registered with the NMC will be notified once the review is complete if there are any changes to the process that affect them.