Travel Nursing to London and/or Africa - page 2

I would like to know if anyone has any information on how to become a travel nurse who works in London. I have met a large number of travel nurses in the hospital I currently work in and would like... Read More

  1. by   newrn93
    Quote from NurseCard
    I actually have an old friend/coworker who traveled to London with an agency,
    to work. She's been over there a couple of years now. I'll try to get in touch with
    her and ask her what agency she is with.
    Thankyou so much! Realize I should have been hitting "quote" and not just reply.
  2. by   Rocknurse
    I'm originally from London. I'd think you'd have to be registered with the NMC so contact them for information regarding licensing:
    NMC Online

    Also, I can recommend a good nursing agency called Nightingale Nursing Bureau. I worked for them for a long time and they were great to work for:
    Nightingale Nursing Bureau, London (Little Russell Street)


    Here's a good resource for locating agencies in the UK. They have lots of info on there for all the information regarding the Home Office and immigration:
    Nursing Agencies List (UK) - Online Nursing Agency Directory
  3. by   Coffee Nurse
    Quote from newrn93
    Wow, your insight has been very helpful. It's unfortunate that international travelling to the UK is dwindling. I'm sure the UK has per diem positioning? Maybe that'd be my best bet, however if they have to prove that they don't have anyone else qualified there then I'd think it'd be near impossible. Thanks for your rebuttal to the doctor's comments, that was giving me second guesses lol.

    I'm thrilled that you were able to have this opportunity and anything anyone terms as "the best decision I've made in my life," is worth pursing for me. Sucks how things were 10x easier back in the day. When you say it's insanely expensive what exactly are the expensive parts? Is it getting licensure there, getting a visa, or just cost of living that you'd consider insanely expensive? Also, if less people are going to nursing school there, where are they getting their nurses from? Other European countries??

    Thanks so much again
    There are per diem positions, both hospital-based and agency-based, but as I said, you need a visa in order to be able to live and work in the UK, and no employer will sponsor an immigrant for a visa to come over and just do per diem work (it would not be cost effective for them). Passing the resident labour market test (proving that there are no acceptable EU/EEA candidates) would actually be the easier component, given the aforementioned nursing shortage. Based on the Home Office rules I quoted in my last post, your options are either applying for a permanent staff job or finding a non-work-based visa that applies to your situation. You could of course always work a permanent job for 3-6 months and then quit, but that would be pretty dimly viewed by the employer not to mention a lot of money down the drain.

    The entire process is expensive, and they overhauled it after I went over to make it even more so (I lucked out there). Currently, for registration alone, the NMC lists these fees:
    -Application for nursing/midwifery £140
    -Part 1 test of competence (CBT) £130
    -Part 2 test of competence (OSCE) £992
    -Admission onto our register £153

    The CBT is a computer-based test, the OSCE is a hands-on skills test. You obviously have to pay for flights and lodging in order to appear in person, and then I've heard many stories about people being failed for little things that deviate from UK standard practice (not things done wrong, mind you, just things that overseas-trained nurses might do differently). The pass rates for the OSCE in particular are pretty dismal, hovering around 55% (NMC).

    Assuming you find an employer to sponsor you for a Tier 2 General visa (the category of work permit applying to nurses), the visa fee is $605, plus the myriad little fees for fingerprinting, etc.

    And then, yes, just living in London is insanely expensive itself. You can do your own research on average rent prices. I'll just say that unless they're independently wealthy or live with a partner who makes bank, nurses tend to flatshare on the outskirts of the city when they're younger, and then move well out once they're looking to settle down and possibly buy a house. You cannot afford a decent living space on a nurse's salary alone in London.

    Interesting that you come from California. I was living in LA before I moved to the UK. In LA, as a new grad, I had my own apartment, was paying down my loans handily, and putting money into both savings and retirement. I was able to do none of those things while living in London.

    Up until about two years ago -- when the Brexit referendum was held -- yes, the UK was getting a healthy percentage of its healthcare staff from Europe. I did a back-of-the-envelope calculation once and figured out about 40% of my unit's nursing staff was non-British. However, after the country voted for Brexit, the applications to join the NMC from outside the country, especially from the EU, plummeted. Nobody actually knows what the full effect of Brexit is going to be, but unsurprisingly not many people are interested in coming to work in a country that refuses to guarantee that they won't be booted out in a year. A lot of immigrants -- eastern Europeans in particular -- have found parts of the country to be much more openly hostile to their presence as well.

    This is mainly what I mean when I say I'd think very hard before starting the process to go over now. Nobody knows what the country and the NHS are going to look like in a year, three years, five years. I'd worry about tying on to a sinking ship. (This is the main reason I no longer live in the UK.)

    So where is the UK getting its nurses? In a nutshell -- it's not.
  4. by   Silverdragon102
    Going through the NMC process these days are no longer cheap or quick. Suggest reading the Nurse Registration forum and reading the threads on OSCE and NMC
  5. by   kbrn2002
    While I can't speak to how difficult and/or expensive the UK or Africa might be I did look into Australia after my sister-in-law moved there a few years ago. That looks complicated and expensive there and it's said to be one of the easier nations for foreign nurses to gain entry. After the visa nightmares my sister-in-law is experiencing I am darn glad I didn't pursue it. She had to leave the country recently and come home to the US pending visa approval, some paperwork apparently wasn't filled out correctly and she now needs to appeal the whole process and can't stay in country while doing so. Keep in mind she is actually married to an Australian man and can't even stay with her husband until this is resolved and they are 3 years and several thousands of dollars into it already.

    If nursing employment is anywhere near that complicated in a foreign nation I think I'll stick around my home country.
  6. by   newrn93
    Quote from Coffee Nurse
    There are per diem positions, both hospital-based and agency-based, but as I said, you need a visa in order to be able to live and work in the UK, and no employer will sponsor an immigrant for a visa to come over and just do per diem work (it would not be cost effective for them). Passing the resident labour market test (proving that there are no acceptable EU/EEA candidates) would actually be the easier component, given the aforementioned nursing shortage. Based on the Home Office rules I quoted in my last post, your options are either applying for a permanent staff job or finding a non-work-based visa that applies to your situation. You could of course always work a permanent job for 3-6 months and then quit, but that would be pretty dimly viewed by the employer not to mention a lot of money down the drain.

    The entire process is expensive, and they overhauled it after I went over to make it even more so (I lucked out there). Currently, for registration alone, the NMC lists these fees:
    -Application for nursing/midwifery £140
    -Part 1 test of competence (CBT) £130
    -Part 2 test of competence (OSCE) £992
    -Admission onto our register £153

    The CBT is a computer-based test, the OSCE is a hands-on skills test. You obviously have to pay for flights and lodging in order to appear in person, and then I've heard many stories about people being failed for little things that deviate from UK standard practice (not things done wrong, mind you, just things that overseas-trained nurses might do differently). The pass rates for the OSCE in particular are pretty dismal, hovering around 55% (NMC).

    Assuming you find an employer to sponsor you for a Tier 2 General visa (the category of work permit applying to nurses), the visa fee is $605, plus the myriad little fees for fingerprinting, etc.

    And then, yes, just living in London is insanely expensive itself. You can do your own research on average rent prices. I'll just say that unless they're independently wealthy or live with a partner who makes bank, nurses tend to flatshare on the outskirts of the city when they're younger, and then move well out once they're looking to settle down and possibly buy a house. You cannot afford a decent living space on a nurse's salary alone in London.

    Interesting that you come from California. I was living in LA before I moved to the UK. In LA, as a new grad, I had my own apartment, was paying down my loans handily, and putting money into both savings and retirement. I was able to do none of those things while living in London.

    Up until about two years ago -- when the Brexit referendum was held -- yes, the UK was getting a healthy percentage of its healthcare staff from Europe. I did a back-of-the-envelope calculation once and figured out about 40% of my unit's nursing staff was non-British. However, after the country voted for Brexit, the applications to join the NMC from outside the country, especially from the EU, plummeted. Nobody actually knows what the full effect of Brexit is going to be, but unsurprisingly not many people are interested in coming to work in a country that refuses to guarantee that they won't be booted out in a year. A lot of immigrants -- eastern Europeans in particular -- have found parts of the country to be much more openly hostile to their presence as well.

    This is mainly what I mean when I say I'd think very hard before starting the process to go over now. Nobody knows what the country and the NHS are going to look like in a year, three years, five years. I'd worry about tying on to a sinking ship. (This is the main reason I no longer live in the UK.)

    So where is the UK getting its nurses? In a nutshell -- it's not.
    Holy cow! You were not joking, that is expensive. I figured I'd be okay because I am used to throwing my money away on clothes LOL. And 55% pass rates...how comforting. Appreciate the realism, seems you were not joking when you said the process may not be worth it anymore.

    Small world! I live in LA as well and since I have my own townhouse that I rent, are almost done paying off my loans, have money going into savings, and put a generous percentage of my check into my 401k plan. Knowing that this is one of the most expensive cities, I figured it shouldn't be that far off but clearly I am mistaken. If you can do none of these things while living in London then that would definitely concern me. Interesting how the standard of living for nurses are vastly different.

    I appreciate your honesty about the future of work in the UK as well. I'd only want to live/work there for about 6 months though. I am beginning to think that perhaps I need to live in London but not work as a nurse? lol. Perhaps I can start an online business and satisfy my medical needs that way? Or what about private duty? But I'm sure that that is a whole different ball park. Also, anyone know of the possibility of simply going to school in the UK. Perhaps NP school out there. Doesn't going to school make it much easier to get a visa to stay in the country?
  7. by   newrn93
    Quote from Silverdragon102
    Going through the NMC process these days are no longer cheap or quick. Suggest reading the Nurse Registration forum and reading the threads on OSCE and NMC
    I certainly will! Thanks for the reference
  8. by   newrn93
    Quote from kbrn2002
    While I can't speak to how difficult and/or expensive the UK or Africa might be I did look into Australia after my sister-in-law moved there a few years ago. That looks complicated and expensive there and it's said to be one of the easier nations for foreign nurses to gain entry. After the visa nightmares my sister-in-law is experiencing I am darn glad I didn't pursue it. She had to leave the country recently and come home to the US pending visa approval, some paperwork apparently wasn't filled out correctly and she now needs to appeal the whole process and can't stay in country while doing so. Keep in mind she is actually married to an Australian man and can't even stay with her husband until this is resolved and they are 3 years and several thousands of dollars into it already.

    If nursing employment is anywhere near that complicated in a foreign nation I think I'll stick around my home country.
    What a nightmare! And she is married to an Australian? She doesn't automatically get citizenship? lol. Perhaps travel, without the intent of working as a nurse in said country is my best bet. Then again, I don't want to run around being an illegal immigrant haha.
  9. by   adventure_rn
    Quote from newrn93
    What a nightmare! And she is married to an Australian? She doesn't automatically get citizenship? lol. Perhaps travel, without the intent of working as a nurse in said country is my best bet. Then again, I don't want to run around being an illegal immigrant haha.
    I know a handful of people who travel nurse for 6 months out of the year, then travel internationally for 6 months out of the year. Not only do they make a fair amount of money travel nursing to pay for their adventures, but they also have the flexibility to travel for months at a time (which you wouldn't have with a full-time job). They travel on a shoestring budget, but they make it work.

    That said, the area of the US where you'd make the highest travel nurse salary is in northern CA, but I believe you'd have to have a tax home in a different state to get the greatest benefits (although I'm definitely not an expert in travel nursing).

    You could actually legally hang out in the London for 6 months, since 6 months is the maximum length of a London tourist visa. However, any time if you want to reset the visa I believe that you can just take a trip to another country. When I lived in Costa Rica many of my friends were 'permanent residents' with plain old tourist visas, and would take weekend trips across the border to Nicaragua every three months in order to reset their visa duration indefinitely. Traveling around Europe is so easy, I'm sure you could easily hop over to Ireland or France.

    Another option to offset the cost of long-term traveling is to volunteer at a hostel in return for a free bed; I did that for 6 months in South America and had a total blast meeting locals as well as international travelers. You'd need a work visa in order to actually earn money (i.e. with travel nursing), but as a volunteer you can use a standard tourist visa. I know nothing about hostels in the UK, but it's worth checking out. I've also heard of people house-sitting internationally, but I know even less about that.
  10. by   Coffee Nurse
    Quote from newrn93
    Holy cow! You were not joking, that is expensive. I figured I'd be okay because I am used to throwing my money away on clothes LOL. And 55% pass rates...how comforting. Appreciate the realism, seems you were not joking when you said the process may not be worth it anymore.

    Small world! I live in LA as well and since I have my own townhouse that I rent, are almost done paying off my loans, have money going into savings, and put a generous percentage of my check into my 401k plan. Knowing that this is one of the most expensive cities, I figured it shouldn't be that far off but clearly I am mistaken. If you can do none of these things while living in London then that would definitely concern me. Interesting how the standard of living for nurses are vastly different.

    I appreciate your honesty about the future of work in the UK as well. I'd only want to live/work there for about 6 months though. I am beginning to think that perhaps I need to live in London but not work as a nurse? lol. Perhaps I can start an online business and satisfy my medical needs that way? Or what about private duty? But I'm sure that that is a whole different ball park. Also, anyone know of the possibility of simply going to school in the UK. Perhaps NP school out there. Doesn't going to school make it much easier to get a visa to stay in the country?
    Sadly, no, I wasn't joking. It makes no sense why the government and the NMC both seem to be actively trying to discourage people from entering the nursing profession in the UK, but the end result is pretty clear.

    Be very careful if you're thinking about doing any sort of work, even remotely, while in the UK as a tourist. It's illegal -- you must have a visa to work, full stop -- and could impact your ability to stay and to return in the future if they find you out. Private duty nursing, legitimately, obviously requires that you be registered with the NMC; going under the table, unlicensed, if you're able to find such an arrangement, is still illegal, and comes with a new host of problems if you're found to be nursing without registration.

    I had a look at a few NP programs today. Most explicitly require current registration with the NMC; those that didn't, required that students be working concurrently, which by extension would mean NMC registration again. At any rate, the general wisdom in nursing is to get your education where you intend to work; if you don't plan to stay in the UK long-term, going through an NP program there just seems to be throwing good money after bad.

    I'm sorry, I don't mean to sound like I'm trying to shoot down all your ideas. I love the UK dearly and I am sad and bitter that I felt I had to leave. I also know, though, that I was extremely lucky in the circumstances that were in place when I happened to go over. People who came over with Continental even a year after me were left twisting when the NMC changed the registration process; I think some were placed temporarily as HCAs, and were denied agency housing because they weren't bringing RN pay into the company. It is not a government or a registering body that is welcoming to immigrants, and I feel somewhat duty-bound to offer as much insight as I can, even if it is pretty grim.

    Quote from adventure_rn
    You could actually legally hang out in the London for 6 months, since 6 months is the maximum length of a London tourist visa. However, any time if you want to reset the visa I believe that you can just take a trip to another country. When I lived in Costa Rica many of my friends were 'permanent residents' with plain old tourist visas, and would take weekend trips across the border to Nicaragua every three months in order to reset their visa duration indefinitely. Traveling around Europe is so easy, I'm sure you could easily hop over to Ireland or France.
    It is true that the UK has no hard-and-fast rule about length of stay beyond the 6-month limit on tourist visitors; however, border agents have a fair amount of discretion to consider someone's history and pattern of travelling in and out of the country, and to refuse entry if they suspect someone playing games like your Costa Rican friends. (https://assets.publishing.service.go...ce-v7.0EXT.PDF)
  11. by   newrn93
    Quote from adventure_rn
    I know a handful of people who travel nurse for 6 months out of the year, then travel internationally for 6 months out of the year. Not only do they make a fair amount of money travel nursing to pay for their adventures, but they also have the flexibility to travel for months at a time (which you wouldn't have with a full-time job). They travel on a shoestring budget, but they make it work.

    That said, the area of the US where you'd make the highest travel nurse salary is in northern CA, but I believe you'd have to have a tax home in a different state to get the greatest benefits (although I'm definitely not an expert in travel nursing).

    You could actually legally hang out in the London for 6 months, since 6 months is the maximum length of a London tourist visa. However, any time if you want to reset the visa I believe that you can just take a trip to another country. When I lived in Costa Rica many of my friends were 'permanent residents' with plain old tourist visas, and would take weekend trips across the border to Nicaragua every three months in order to reset their visa duration indefinitely. Traveling around Europe is so easy, I'm sure you could easily hop over to Ireland or France.

    Another option to offset the cost of long-term traveling is to volunteer at a hostel in return for a free bed; I did that for 6 months in South America and had a total blast meeting locals as well as international travelers. You'd need a work visa in order to actually earn money (i.e. with travel nursing), but as a volunteer you can use a standard tourist visa. I know nothing about hostels in the UK, but it's worth checking out. I've also heard of people house-sitting internationally, but I know even less about that.
    Thanks for your information. I'm from Northern California, wages there are excellent compared to anywhere else in the US I believe. I've looked into tax homes and was once very interested in local travel (within California). Wanted to attempt to get out of California taxes by purchasing a home or rental home in another state and traveling back to where I'm from LOL. Probably will get myself into trouble doing that. However, as a single with no dependents and no house, California income taxes are killing me.

    Interesting to know that 6 months is the legal limit there! That can open up possibilities for me. House-sitting of course would be a dream but doubt its realistic for me to find a job like that lol. I will look into volunteering!
  12. by   newrn93
    Quote from Coffee Nurse
    Sadly, no, I wasn't joking. It makes no sense why the government and the NMC both seem to be actively trying to discourage people from entering the nursing profession in the UK, but the end result is pretty clear.

    Be very careful if you're thinking about doing any sort of work, even remotely, while in the UK as a tourist. It's illegal -- you must have a visa to work, full stop -- and could impact your ability to stay and to return in the future if they find you out. Private duty nursing, legitimately, obviously requires that you be registered with the NMC; going under the table, unlicensed, if you're able to find such an arrangement, is still illegal, and comes with a new host of problems if you're found to be nursing without registration.

    I had a look at a few NP programs today. Most explicitly require current registration with the NMC; those that didn't, required that students be working concurrently, which by extension would mean NMC registration again. At any rate, the general wisdom in nursing is to get your education where you intend to work; if you don't plan to stay in the UK long-term, going through an NP program there just seems to be throwing good money after bad.

    I'm sorry, I don't mean to sound like I'm trying to shoot down all your ideas. I love the UK dearly and I am sad and bitter that I felt I had to leave. I also know, though, that I was extremely lucky in the circumstances that were in place when I happened to go over. People who came over with Continental even a year after me were left twisting when the NMC changed the registration process; I think some were placed temporarily as HCAs, and were denied agency housing because they weren't bringing RN pay into the company. It is not a government or a registering body that is welcoming to immigrants, and I feel somewhat duty-bound to offer as much insight as I can, even if it is pretty grim.



    It is true that the UK has no hard-and-fast rule about length of stay beyond the 6-month limit on tourist visitors; however, border agents have a fair amount of discretion to consider someone's history and pattern of travelling in and out of the country, and to refuse entry if they suspect someone playing games like your Costa Rican friends. (https://assets.publishing.service.go...ce-v7.0EXT.PDF)
    If I am understanding you correctly it's illegal to do work even remotely from the UK? So if I had a business and traveled to the UK and worked online on a (web-site for example) for my business while physically in the UK then that's illegal? Interesting.

    And no problem, appreciate your candor! Funny, my current manager just casually mentioned that she worked in England for 5 years! What a coincidence! Said she worked in the ICU and that it's a 1:1 ratio there but she did everything such as the RT's job. That's pretty amazing experience if you ask me. I'm in no rush to leave, but I will continue to research to see if it's still possible at all.

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