February 2020, NMC updated list of majority English—speaking countries and included Malta in this list. This means overseas nurses working in Malta can now join the NMC register without meeting the language requirements.
This was an enormous relief and much awaited news for several Indian nurses like Ms Anu Mohan working in Malta. Ms Mohan arrived in Malta in 2017 recruited through an agency. Ms Mohan alongside her friends Sajini Narayanan, Amala Sebastian and Sheena Nair are in process of moving to UK after receiving an offer.
Overseas Nurses in Malta
Around 15% of nurses working in Malta are third-country nationals, mainly hailing from India and Pakistan.
Major employers in the country include Mater Dei Hospital, Mount Carmel Psychiatric Hospital, Karin Grech Rehabilitation Hospital and St Vincent de Paul, Malta’s largest home for the elderly. There are also several foreign nurses working for government and private homes.
The UK has been overwhelmed with the coronavirus, with Europe’s worst death rate. This led the UK government to look beyond its shores as an alternative to recruit nurses as soon as possible. While recruiting nurses from other non- English-speaking countries proved to be a long process, Malta has become an opportunity to attract much needed nursing work force.
Aside from Ireland, Malta is the only country in the EU to have English as an official language and a healthcare system similar to the UK’s. Immediately after this announcement, several nursing agencies in UK launched a direct poaching exercise headhunting nurses.
What are the Requirements?
As per the update, nurses with one-year clinical experience in Malta can now join the NMC register without meeting the IELTS/OET requirement. You will need to show that you have been practising recently to meet the NMC requirements. You should also provide your most recent registration certificate from the Malta Nursing Council.
On top of these requirements, you would need to provide employment references from your employer in Malta, where you are currently practising in so that NMC can confirm your employment with them. NMC will also check with your employer to confirm whether you have the knowledge of English to practise safely and effectively.
Anna Dominic who has recently moved to UK said, ‘I was eagerly waiting for a and UK was always my destination for settlement’. Ms Dominic was one of the early applicants thinks UK provides her better opportunities not only salary but also with a world class healthcare and education system. Ms Dominic, a nurse from an Indian state of Kerala, worked in Malta for two years before moving to UK. Ms Mohan moved to Malta in 2017 after failing to get IELTS 7 despite several attempts. IELTS required at that time for NMC registration was individual 7 which has since lowered making it easy for several Indian nurses looking for working in UK.
The nurses were also being offered full citizenship for them and their spouses and children for the first few months with the promise of a short, less bureaucratic process for work and citizenship applications. Almost all UK employers have agreed to provide nurses who opt to move to the UK with free accommodation, helping them to settle in UK.
Maria Vazhappully, a foreign nurse from India, moved to UK with her husband and two children in October 2020. Ms Vazhappully says it was a right decision, and the agency supported her wit the transition. Ms Vazhappully believes UK will offer better opportunities for her husband who is an IT professional.
Shortage of Nurses in Malta
Malta Union of Midwives and Nurses confirmed the predicament that the current long-lasting shortage of nurses will worsen overnight. Several hospitals are receiving resignation requests since this exodus is likely to continue throughout the year, bringing the shortage of nursing in Malta to “an extremely critical level”.
As per the health ministry, around 80 nurses had resigned in 2020 and many of whom were Maltese nationals. Around nine percent of nurses are third-country nationals, and that Malta has an open application for the recruitment of more nurses. This provides an opportunity for several nurses from India and Pakistan who are struggling to meet the NMC language requirement to work as a nurse in UK.
Sources close to the profession said around 140 nurses have either already resigned or are in process of submitting their resignations as they are lured away from Malta with more favourable working conditions and a better remuneration package. That is around 22 percent of the estimated 600 third-country national nurses who work in Malta.
If you are a nurse working in Malta who would like to explore opportunities in UK, please contact for connecting with other nurses who have recently moved.