Amends English test requirements for Nurse registration in Ireland

The Nursing and Midwifery Board of Ireland (NMBI) today announced that it would immediately apply Amends English test requirements for Nurse registration in Ireland to its International English Language Testing System (IELTS) and the Occupational English Test (OET) requirements for nurses and midwives who did not complete their qualifications through English. These amendments, which are the result of a review that began in 2019, better relate to requirements for day to day practice while ensuring that the appropriate standard of English language is still achieved. They also bring Ireland in line with other international health regulators who have also recently reviewed language standards.



Under the previous system applicants were required to achieve the IELTS Academic Test Level 6.5 in reading and listening, and a 7 in writing and speaking, in a single sitting. Under the new protocols the NMBI requires scores of 7 in listening, reading, and speaking but a 6.5 in writing. Regardless of the recent amendments, the overall IELTS required score of 7 remains. We believe that the decrease in writing level from 7 to 6.5 will enable suitably qualified nurses and midwives to enter the Irish system. OET score requirements reflect a similar decrease in the writing requirement (please see tables in notes).

Amends English test requirements for Nurse registration in Ireland
Amends English test requirements for Nurse registration in Ireland

IELTS and OET are well-established and internationally recognised methods of testing English language ability and are used by many healthcare regulators in English-speaking countries. IELTS and OET scores that NMBI will implement from today are achieving positive feedback among our peers in the UK and internationally.



  • Review that began before COVID-19 will prove beneficial in its application now, supporting further nurses and midwives of quality to enter the Irish system

  • New protocols better support nursing and midwifery communication requirements – half-point decrease (7 to 6.5) in writing score supports registration for many suitable candidates

  • New protocols apply to those who have taken the language test in the last two years wef 08/04/2020. We can apply these new protocols to an IELTS or OET test result.  Those who previously applied for registration who were deemed ineligible on the basis of not meeting the language requirements can be considered under the revised requirements.

  • NMBI review aligns Ireland’s language test requirements for registration with similar healthcare professions worldwide.

  • There is some flexibility in the scores listed above. An applicant may achieve 6.5 or grade C+ in any one of the four subtests/components other than in the writing subtest/component where 6.5 or C+ is the lowest score acceptable.