Skip to main content

English language requirements for Nurses and Midwives




The Nursing and Midwifery Board of Ireland (“NMBI”) have updated their language competency requirements for applicants seeking registration in Ireland. There is now an English competency requirement for all applicants, including EU applicants, who have obtained their qualifications outside of Ireland. Under the Nurses and Midwives Act 2011, the Board of NMBI has the power to make rules in relation to a nurse or midwife possessing sufficient knowledge of the English language to practise. The purpose of the requirement is to ensure nurses and midwifes applying for registration to practise in Ireland have the necessary knowledge of English to communicate effectively in their practice. The updated English language competency requirement came into effect on 02 April 2018. There are a number of methods, or “Pathways” by which applicants can satisfy the language requirement. Pathway 1: Where the applicant undertook their pre-registration nursing or midwifery qualification training through English and was examined in English in a “Recognised Country”, within the last 5 years. The NMBI recognises the following countries as majority English speaking for the purpose of registering and practicing in Ireland: Australia, Canada, New Zealand, the United States of America and the United Kingdom. Pathway 2: Where the applicant has been registered and practised in English. Applicants who are seeking to satisfy the requirement according to Pathway 2 must have 3 years post registration practice within the last five years in one of the Recognised Countries listed above. Pathway 3: Where the applicant does not satisfy the requirements under either Pathway 1 or 2, the applicant may fulfil the language requirements by submitting a certificate of test results from specific recognised English language tests such as either the International English Language Test System (IELTS) or Occupational English Test (OET). The applicant must obtain the required proficiency in four mandatory skills; speaking, reading, listening and writing. The test results must be less than 2 years old. If the results are out of date an applicant must re-sit the test. Once the applicant has identified the appropriate pathway to satisfy the English competency requirement the requisite evidence can be submitted to the NMBI. For further information please see: