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Overseas Nurses Programme (ONP)

From 1 September 2005, overseas nurses seeking to register with the Nursing & Midwifery Council (NMC) are able to do so through their Overseas Nurses Programme (ONP). After 1 September 2006, it will be compulsory for them to do so.

Under this Programme all overseas qualified nurses seeking to register with the NMC will be required to undertake a 20 day period of protected learning time to familiarise them with UK health care practice. In addition, the NMC may also require that they undertake a period of supervised practice in a setting that has been audited and quality assured by an education provider approved by the NMC.

Where an overseas qualified nurse has an offer of employment and is required only to undertake the 20-day period of protected learning, they may qualify for the issue of a work permit. After obtaining any necessary Entry Clearance or Further Leave to Remain, they enter the UK or remain on that basis. Work permit applications for such nurses will be processed in the usual manner.

Any extension or change of employment applications for nurses who have already commenced their period of supervised practice, will also continue to be processed in the usual manner.

From 30 November 2005 those overseas qualified nurses required to undertake a period of supervised practice under the ONP should enter the UK as permit-free supervised practice nurses.

Employers considering submitting any initial work permit applications for ONP nurses who are required to undertake a period of supervised practice should use the permit-free arrangements. The Immigration and Nationality Enquiry Bureau (INEB) will be able to provide information about the new permit free arrangements for ONP nurses and can be contacted on 0870 606 7766.

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