Important guidance - applying for certificates of sponsorship

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08 / 10 / 2015 2.05pm

There continues to be an increased demand for restricted certificates of sponsorship (RCoS). For the monthly certificate allocation process to run effectively we are asking for your help to:

  • only apply for what you need and in small batches that match your flow of candidates through the recruitment, and part one of the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) registration process.
  • only apply when you need them because RCoS must be allocated to an individual within three months of issue, and they must match up with the other recruitment and registration processes.

UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI) is advising employers to apply for RCoS in smaller batches, and at a time when you are certain they will be used. For overseas nurse recruits this may be when the individual has passed the NMC test of competence part one and their supporting documentation has been verified by the NMC.

Recruitment timescales

Earlier this year some organisations were caught out by the time periods required for individuals to pass through new language tests and the NMC registration process. It is important to map out the expected timescales for your international recruitment process so you can apply for RCoS at the appropriate time. This will help you to manage your planning processes and help mitigate against a situation where large numbers of NHS certificates are returned unused.

The rules for sponsors and overseas nurse applicants

  • All overseas nurse applicants must pass the computer-based test of competence in their country of residence and comply with all other initial requirements of the NMC overseas nursing process in order to be eligible to sit the observed structured clinical examination (OSCE) and complete their registration.
  • An individual entering the UK to take a nursing role can be legally employed as a pre-registration candidate for a period of up to three months before they sit the OSCE.
  • The general Tier 2 minimum salary requirement of £20,800 is temporarily removed in these circumstances, though employers are still advised to place nurses in an interim position with a salary at least equivalent to that of a Band 3 role.
  • If an individual fails the OSCE at their first attempt, they will need to obtain a date to re-sit the test within a maximum of eight months from the start date of their visa. This gives potential time for candidates to address development needs and prepare thoroughly for any re-sit.
  • If an individual fails their OSCE re-sit, they will need to leave the country immediately, as they will no longer have the right to work.
  • Upon successful completion of the OSCE and awarding of NMC registration, employers need to commit to ongoing employment of the individual as a registered nurse on a salary of at least £20,500.
  • Employers must be able to provide evidence of the above arrangement if requested.

Employers or individuals with queries about individual NMC registrations are advised to contact the NMC directly.

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