Doctors, nurses, dentists and midwives who wish to practice in the U.K. will no longer have to appear for English language tests like TOEFL and IELTS as Occupational English Test (OET) scores, which candidates have to clear to register with the relevant healthcare regulator, will now be accepted.
The OET is an international English language test that assesses language communication skills of healthcare professionals who seek to register and practise in an English-speaking environment.
Candidates had to earlier take the OET to register with the Nursing and Midwifery Council and the General Medical Council, two healthcare boards in the U.K., along with tests like TOEFL or IELTS to apply for a visa.
“The U.K. Home Office has streamlined English language testing ensuring that doctors, dentists, nurses and midwives, who have already passed an English language test accepted by the relevant professional body, do not have to sit for another test before entry to the U.K. on a Tier 2 visa,” said Sujata Stead, CEO, Cambridge Boxhill Language Assessment, which conducts the OET.
“This change which was announced last week will make sure that hospitals and medical practices across the country will be able to access the staff they need more quickly,” she added.
The change will apply to all Tier 2 (General) visa applications submitted from October 1.
The Occupational English Test (OET) is designed to meet the specific English language needs of the healthcare sector. It assesses the language proficiency of healthcare professionals who wish to register and practise in an English-speaking environment.
The OET is conducted by Cambridge Boxhill Language Assessment (CBLA), a venture between Cambridge Assessment English and Box Hill Institute. Cambridge Assessment English is a not-for-profit department of the University of Cambridge.
The test is recognised as proof of English proficiency for registration purposes by major healthcare boards and councils in the U.K., Ireland, Australia, New Zealand, Dubai, Singapore, Namibia and Ukraine. It is also accepted in Australia and New Zealand for visa and immigration purposes.
The OET is used as an entry or exit test for healthcare courses by educators and as recruitment criterion for employment of healthcare professionals. The test is conducted for health practitioners from 12 professions — dentistry, dietetics, medicine, nursing, occupational therapy, optometry, pharmacy, physiotherapy, podiatory, radiography, speech pathology and veterinary science.