Overcoming the IELTS Level 7 hurdle

At My Healthcare Recruit, we know that the IELTS test often represents the most significant challenge to overseas recruitment.

We know that some healthcare employers have made multiple conditional offers to international candidates in the past, but the actual number of nurses “on the ground” a year later was sometimes less than 10% because the candidates were not able to pass the IELTS at Level 7 in every category (the minimum requirement for NMC registration).

The IELTS is challenging for a number of reasons…

Very technical test

Nurses struggle to find time to fit in required study

The IELTS test is expensive to take

Other countries have lower IELTS requirements

IELTS passed nurses are precious and disappear quickly!

Hard to predict when nurses will pass, so resource planning is a challenge

Accordingly, My Healthcare Recruit have developed three options to help you have greater confidence in the arrival date of your candidates.

Option 1: Interview only IELTS passed candidates

We can help you overcome the IELTS hurdle by only proposing candidates to you that have already passed their IELTS test at Level 7 in each category.

How can we offer this?

  • We have a large pipeline of qualified candidates
  • We have a strong, “tried and tested” Tailored English Language programme which allows us to invest in our candidates BEFORE you meet them
  • Our video technology means we can help you access candidates as soon as they’ve passed (and critically before they’ve been given another job offer!)
  • Our video technology means we can access IELTS passed Filipino candidates who are currently working internationally, and therefore struggle to link in with other agencies

Option 2: Choose a candidate enrolled in a tailored English Language Programme

Traditionally English Language training courses have taken a “one size fits all” approach, which has created challenges for Nurses because the course hasn’t met their specific learning needs. In contrast, the My Healthcare Recruit English Language Programme is personal.

Traditional “cookie cutter” English Language ProgrammeMy Healthcare Recruit tailored English Language Programme
Curriculum doesn’t focus on their individual needs No “make up” classes if students missed a key topic as a result of a shift Minimal tracking of progress by agencies1:1 classes A flexible schedule so missed classes can be re-taken Weekly check-ins and support calls Focus on the candidate’s weaknesses

By working with an agency with a comprehensive English Language support program in place for candidates, you can have more confidence about IELTS pass dates, and ensure that when you make offers to candidates, they will be closely supported to achieve the required level.

Option 3: An Intensive Approach to English Language: The MHR Bootcamp

If you are making a large number of offers, you may decide to invest in the My Healthcare Recruit IELTS Bootcamp to speed up your candidates arrival in the UK. This can speed up candidate arrival by up to three months, and it makes resource planning much easier.

8 hours of study per day so candidates can invest the time required to pass IELTS Level 7Nurses live in a shared house for two months speaking English with each otherThe house is a UK “immersive experience” – it is decorated with Union Jack memorabilia and residents can watch UK TV shows and DVDsEmployers have opportunities to enhance the candidate experience at this time by keeping in touch with the house regularly and sharing updates or teaser information


  • Initial focus on theory and concepts
  • Writing, reading, speaking, and listening exercises completed in monitored environment
  • Individual review and feedback
  • Mock tests with individual feedback
  • Additional learning and guidance provided where necessary
  • Approximately 3 hours of classes and 5 hours of private study per working day


  • From £180 supplement / nurse including accommodation, living allowance, food, intensive English language classes

Regardless of which English Language approach you opt to take, you can be confident that we have a comprehensive support programme in place to ensure our applicants have the maximum possible chance of success at passing the IELTS test.