Applicants may sit the second part of the test of competence, the OSCE, up to three times as part of one application.
The overseas nurse registration process requires applicants to sit a test in the UK before they can legally practice as a nurse, how does this work with the Tier 2 visa process?
The NMC introduced a new process for overseas nurse registration in October 2014, which includes the requirement for applicants to complete a practical test (OSCE) in the UK prior to gaining registration. In March 2015, the Tier 2 visa process was amended to reflect the need for nurses to gain entry to the UK in order to sit the OSCE, prior to officially commencing employment as a nurse. This amendment enables pre-registration nurse candidates to now enter the UK and prepare for the OSCE, while working as a pre-registration candidate, for up to three months.
See our web section on recruiting overseas nurses for more information.
From which date does the applicant have three months to sit their first OSCE attempt - is it the date they enter the UK or the date on the CoS?
The applicant has up to three months from the employment start date noted on the CoS to sit the OSCE exam. If a candidate fails the OSCE at first attempt they will need to re-sit the test within a maximum of eight months from the start of their visa. As of 6 April 2017, applicants can sit the OSCE up to three times as part of one application. Employers must notify UKVI within 10 working days when a re-sit date is confirmed.
If a candidate fails their permitted number of re-sits, or if there are other reasons that the sponsorship / employment will not be pursued any further, the individual will lose their right to remain in the UK.
Please visit our OSCE information page for more details.
Are there any plans for new test centres, especially a more northern location?
The NMC opened an additional test centre at Ulster University in Northern Ireland to join the test centres already at Oxford Brookes University (both their Oxford and Swindon sites) and The University of Northampton is now also holding the OSCE in a new, larger venue which almost doubles the capacity for OSCE tests.
OSCE waiting times and the booking process can be time consuming – what is being done to help with this?
The additional OSCE test centre at Oxford Brookes University (Swindon and Oxford locations) and larger OSCE test venue at the University of Northampton will help with the availability of OSCE test dates.
For more information and help with the booking process please visit the OSCE information pages for:
The University of Northampton
Oxford Brookes University
Are there plans to increase the capacity for OSCE test date appointments?
The University of Northampton is holding the OSCE in a new, larger venue which almost doubles the capacity for OSCE tests. The new test centre at Ulster University along with the choice of two locations at Oxford Brookes University (Oxford and Swindon) is helping increase OSCE test date capacity.
Why are the OSCE pre-course preparation materials only provided to candidates and not to trusts?
At the moment the NMC OSCE test centres do not have the necessary permissions for this information to be shared with trusts. However, candidates who are enrolled on the course have full access to all preparation materials.
If a nurse fails OSCE, in the 60 day grace period, can they find an alternative sponsor (without leaving the country)?
Yes, however this does not extend the overall eight month time limit between starting work in Tier 2 as a pre-registration nurse (with the first sponsor) and needing to obtain NMC registration.
If an employee fails their OSCE, do employers get a notification of when the 60 day grace period ends?
Sponsors are not currently notified when an individual’s curtailed leave expires. If you have notified UKVI that an individual has failed to pass the OSCE within the 8 month deadline, you should check with the individual when their leave will end.
Can you apply for a Tier 2 CoS for an applicant who is currently employed elsewhere on a Tier 2 visa, within their first eight months of employment and who has not yet passed their OSCE?
Yes. However this does not extend the overall eight month time limit between starting work in Tier 2 as a pre-registration nurse (with the first sponsor) and needing to obtain NMC registration (passing the OSCE with eight months).