13 Reasons to Work in the NHS as an Overseas Nurse

Working in the UK’s beloved National Health Service (NHS) as an overseas nurse has many benefits. Not only will you work in one of the world’s leading healthcare systems, but you will also be providing high-quality care that is freely accessible to everyone in the UK. But working in the NHS as an overseas nurse isn’t only about prestige. As an overseas nurse in the UK, you will have the respect of the nation, as well as a healthy pay and benefits package.

By partnering with Medacs Healthcare, you’ll get help with every aspect of the move to the UK. So if you are a nurse in India, the Philippines, or anywhere else in the world, moving to work in the NHS has never been so simple, rewarding and stress-free. Here are the top 13 reasons to work in the NHS as an overseas nurse.


1. A guaranteed long-term contract

Working in the NHS as an overseas nurse, you will be given an initial three-year contract; this gives you the long-term financial security you need to move to, and live in the UK. Also, these contracts often get renewed, with some international nurses working in the same NHS trust for well over a decade.

2. Manageable work hours

Every overseas nurse working in the NHS will have a standard working week of 37.5 hours, affording you a healthy work-life balance; however, if you want to work extra hours, you will be rewarded with pay enhancements for every hour of overtime work. If a nurse chooses to work on bank holidays and Sundays, they will be paid 60% more, while those who opt to work nights and Saturdays will be paid 30% more. Once you have gained six months’ experience within the NHS you will also have the option to register with a recruitment agency to gain new experiences and extra money.

3. An impressive salary

As a nurse in the NHS, you will be rewarded with a Band 5 Staff Nurse salary. Offering a salary in the range of £22,128 to £28,746 — dependent upon where you live and work in the UK — you will be able to live comfortably, with enough money to spend on the people and things you care about.

4. Paid holidays

The NHS offers some of the best paid holidays of any career in the UK. As a new overseas nurse, you will get 27 paid days every year to relax and see new sights. In addition, you will also be paid for eight bank holiday days each year. All in all, you’ll have 35 paid days every year to do whatever you want with. After working for five years this increases to 29 days. And, after ten years of service, your original 27 days increases to 33 days. Working in the NHS, your work-life balance is well catered for.

5. Paid training

As an overseas nurse new to the NHS, you will need to undertake a two-part competency test, which is paid for by our clients. The first part is a Computer-Based Test (CBT) which tests your theoretical nursing knowledge and is completed before you arrive in the UK. The second part is the objective structured clinical examination (OSCE). This tests your practical skills and will be taken when you arrive in the UK.

6. On-site accommodation

Finding and moving to a new home can be stressful, especially when you are relocating to a new country. Because of this, you will be provided with eight weeks free accommodation to help you settle when you arrive, giving you time to explore your new city, familiarise yourself with the area and find a place to call home.

7. Refunded visa costs

If you are new to the NHS, and you’re arriving from outside of the European Union, you will need to apply for a visa that allows you to work in the UK. This can often come with a significant expense. Fortunately, partnering with Medacs Healthcare, your visa costs will be refunded to you by our NHS client.

8. IELTS or OET refund

To work as an overseas nurse in the NHS, you will need to pass either the IELTS Academic English language test, or OET English language test. The cost for the exam you choose will need to be paid for by you, however, many of Medacs Healthcare’s NHS clients provide a refund for one of the language tests taken, paid together with your first month’s salary. Medacs Healthcare also provides advice about IELTS and OET training support in collaboration with our English Partner Schools.

9. Free flights to the UK

When you come to the UK as a new overseas NHS nurse with Medacs Healthcare, your flights will be paid for by our NHS client. So that’s another source of anxiety and expense you don’t need to worry about.

10. A comprehensive induction programme

Starting a new job can be scary, especially when you’re arriving from thousands of miles away. Whilst the caring aspect of nursing will never change, the environment can. Because of this, NHS Trusts provide a thoroughly comprehensive induction programme, aiding your transition into life in the UK and allowing you to be the very best nurse you can be right from the start.

11. A healthy pension scheme

The NHS offers one of most comprehensive pension schemes in the UK. As a new NHS nurse, you will be automatically enrolled from day one. Protected against inflation and guaranteed by the government, your pension contributions — which lie between 7.1% and 9.3% depending on starting salary — are amongst the most secure in the UK, providing you with a healthy and vibrant retirement.

12. A truly personal welcome from day one

When you first arrive in the UK to begin your life as an NHS nurse, support networks can be vital to ensure that you confidently settle into your new career. With Medacs Healthcare, your support network begins while you’re at home preparing to come over. You will be invited to join one of our private Facebook groups to connect with other overseas nurses going through the same process as you. And when you do make the journey, we will meet you at the airport and arrange your first-day transport. Having someone there to guide you will give you the support you need to successfully transition into your new life.

13. First day essentials covered

Whilst the previous 12 points are arguably the most important reasons why you should work in the NHS as an overseas nurse, nothing beats free food. Our NHS clients will make sure you have basics like milk, bread, sugar, etc.; this will help you get your first day off to a great start. And no doubt it won’t be long before you sample the delights of British cuisine — wherever you land in the UK. Black pudding, tattie scones, the full English. Our culinary delights await you!

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