How much does it cost to recruit an overseas nurse?

Can you avoid breaking the bank when hiring from overseas?

Covid19 pandemic combined with the effect of Brexit heavily impacted the care sector causing severe staff shortages. Traditionally the UK healthcare sector relies on foreign workers to fill about 15% of the positions, and the Care industry may use the same path to find quality talent from abroad.
Still, for many Recruitment and Home managers, overseas recruitment remains a complex operation related to too much uncertainty, especially regarding its cost. In this article, we will try to answer how much it costs to hire an overseas nurse.

Finding the right people  

Finding the right people could be complex and cost your organisation a lot of effort and time. Unless the organisation has dedicated personnel who deal with the task, you may seek external help from agencies who will connect with the right candidates. The fee often is equal to one month salary, starting at about £2K to £3.5K.

Issuing the Visa will cost, £232 plus a TB health check for £55. To transport them to the UK the place ticket will cost around £500-£700 depending on the country of origin.

Getting licensed

The primary and more complex step is getting the Certificate of Sponsorship that covers four years of sponsorship but could be extended. Under this license, the employer may recruit for all their roles, and the chosen recruits are getting their visa to come and work under a multi-year contract. The cost of the Certificate of Sponsorship is £536 for small businesses and charities and £1,476 for medium and large organisations.

Additionally, the government charges Sponsors an Immigration skills fee for each overseas employee. The sum depends again on the size of the organisation and the length of the contract. 

  • small or charitable organisations pay £364 for the first year and £182 for every additional six months after
  • medium and large organisations pay £1000 for the first year and £500 for every additional six months after

Mandatory training

Upon arrival overseas, nurses have a strict timeline to cover the mandatory UK training and take exams: three months for OSCE and CBT,  six months for OET. In total, candidates have eight months to obtain their PIN and become Registered nurses. When an employer pays for these courses, OET and OSCE may cost between £1000 to £2000 each depending on length, personalisation, and quality of the coaching.

The actual exam also costs you as CBT is £130, OET £315 and £794 for OSCE. It is important to know that during the period of training, candidate nurses can work limited hours under supervision. The employer has an obligation to provide time for study and the opportunity to attend the exams.

Other related costs  

NMC Application Fee of £140 is paid to the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) when a new nurse applies to the register. Upon receiving the PIN another £153 are paid to the same organisation. Health Surcharge Fees of £200 per year are paid for access to free NHS healthcare.
Recruiting foreign personnel also increases the time load on people dealing with HR, compliance, and welfare as it will require monitoring, reporting and regular counselling. The whole process is time-consuming and requires specific knowledge. The sum of all related indirect costs will affect your bottom line with an additional £300 to £500 as working hours.

Drawing the line

After adding up all the related costs, the total sum may reach an impressive number of over £10K. It could be ‘money well spent’ to guarantee long-term employment and access to a broader talent pool for some organisations. The cost will also spread if the organisation recruits and trains more nurses at the same time.

Still, the cost is significant and can be reduced with the QAQF model, by an astonishing 56% as the expenses related to selection, transportation, training and registration are covered entirely by the candidates during the initial period of their training in the UK. When introduces to the employers they are already Registered nurses ready to work. In this case, the main expenditure will remain the licence and paying the compulsory government charge. The cooperation with QAQF will also reduce the indirect cost of offering Legal, Compliance and Welfare support to the trainees before they settle successfully in the country.

QAQF partners with UK care and nursing homes in recruiting talent from all over the world directly from our training courses avoiding complications and reducing the related costs by more than half.

Liza Moroz is taking care of QAQF Marketing and is notorious for asking difficult questions like ‘why’. She likes connecting with people, solving problems and finding new opportunities. You can connect with Liza via