Understanding the self sponsorship package to UKRN journey

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In recent years, the pathway for Nigerian nurses aspiring to practice in the United Kingdom has grown increasingly complex.

In recent years, the pathway for Nigerian nurses aspiring to practice in the United Kingdom has grown increasingly complex. Notably, the inclusion of Nigeria on the World Health Organization's red list poses significant challenges, casting a shadow over the dreams of many dedicated healthcare professionals. In an earlier post, we discussed how this situation is particularly unfair given that the supply of nurses in Nigeria far exceeds the local need, yet it remains a reality that WHO and other stakeholders are interested in pursuing a fruitless approach to long-age problem. Securing employment/nursing registration is now compounded by stringent health regulations and cautious recruitment practices.

To shed more light on these challenges, it's worth noting that the UK has been striving for years to prioritize training local nurses rather than relying on overseas professionals. The recent political promises and institutional approaches reiterated these intentions. However, ongoing economic issues and political posturing have further reduced budgets allocated for overseas nurse recruitment.

The Cost Overview of Sponsorship

To understand the reluctance of recruiters better, consider the rough costs of sponsoring a single nurse from Nigeria to work at an NHS trust:

- Certificate of Sponsorship: 3,500

- Accommodation (for two months): 800-1,600

- Flights: 500-1,000 (often recovered if the nurse leaves before completing a specified period)

- OSCE: 794

- Miscellaneous Costs: 2,000 (includes partial salary during OSCE training and other expenses)

In total, this process costs approximately 8,000-10,000 per nurse. This is what will be initially budgeted by recruiter. The nurse then progressively refund most of these benefits over time whilst some of them will be waived.

While this cost was justified during COVID-19 due to the high demand for healthcare workers, the NHS now employs practices that justify political promises and funny approaches that appear less dependent on overseas nurses. Retention issues persist because many locally trained UK nurses leave due to poor working conditions. Overseas nurses, however, often remain due to their visa restrictions and the need to work to maintain their livelihoods amongst many other benefits that their recruitment offers.

Sponsorship Pathways

Despite the challenges, Nigerian nurses have two main sponsorship pathways available:

1. Recruiter Sponsorship

The recruiter sponsorship pathway follows WHO red list guidelines, where candidates are considered if they apply directly. The process involves verifying qualifications, passing the English language test, and obtaining sponsorship from an employer to work whilst waiting to take the OSCE once in the UK.

2. Self-Sponsorship

The self-sponsorship pathway is gaining popularity. It involves securing full registration as an overseas nurse with a PIN while still in Nigeria. Most recruiters are more open to sponsoring nurses who already hold a PIN, as this eliminates the need for OSCE preparation among many other things. In my own view, this pathway offers you insight into the country before you work there gives you confidence when you eventually come to work.

Heres the typical process:

1. OSCE Eligibility: Ensure you are only waiting to take the OSCE.

2. Visiting Visa: Apply for a standard visiting visa to take your exam. Visit UK.gov for the cost and process.

3. Funding/Sponsorship: Demonstrate that you can fund the visit yourself (often through having #3-5 million in a bank account) or secure sponsorship from someone else (family members/known colleagues in the UK). Aim to meet other visa conditions.

4. Sponsor Support: The sponsor must provide a letter detailing their relationship with you and show sufficient funds to support the trip.

5. OSCE Booking Confirmation: Secure an OSCE booking as proof of intention.

Before pursuing this pathway, be 99% sure of your funding or sponsorship. Now, i know you want the full step by step process to this. I do not really encourage you doing this alone. Speak to someone about this. Feel free to share your questions in the comments or connect with others via a community group for Nigerian nurses on this site (to be announced soon, keep checking).

CONCLUSION
Navigating the challenges of moving to the UK as a Nigerian nurse can be tough, but practical strategies and community support can help you find the best path forward. Whether through recruiter sponsorship or the self-sponsorship method, staying informed and proactive will be key in overcoming these obstacles.

Comments
Ezinne Igwe 10 w

You have done well with this write up. I hope this information get read by NMC UK and home office to create awareness of the Nigerian Nurse struggle. I also hope it creates a shift in their acceptability of self sponsored nurses.