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A Step-by-Step Guide to Pursuing a Job in Ireland for Filipino Nurses

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Ireland, renowned for its rich cultural heritage and picturesque landscapes, also offers diverse career opportunities for healthcare professionals. With a robust healthcare system and a need for qualified nurses, Ireland has become a desirable destination for aspiring nurses from around the globe.

Why Ireland has demand for nurses

Ireland suffers from a nurse shortage for a variety of reasons, including an aging population and increased demand for specialized services, challenges in keeping nursing roles, and competition with other countries for experienced nursing personnel.

The Irish government has pledged to invest in nursing education and to improve working conditions for nurses.

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Suppose you are considering applying to become a nurse in Ireland. In that case, this introduction will give you a glimpse of the opportunities that await you and the application process to begin a rewarding nursing career in the country.

Kenmare, Ireland
Kenmare, Ireland

Overview of Ireland’s healthcare system

The healthcare system in Ireland is well-known for its dedication to providing high-quality care and assuring equal access to healthcare services for its population.


The structure of Ireland’s healthcare system is comprised of both the public and private sectors. The Health Service Executive (HSE) delivers and manages most of the nation’s public healthcare services. The private sector also plays a significant role, providing additional healthcare services to those who utilize private healthcare options.

Primary care

Primary care is the cornerstone of the healthcare system in Ireland. It incorporates services provided by general practitioners (GPs), nurses, and other healthcare professionals and is patients’ initial point of contact. Primary care services include preventive care, diagnosing and treating common disorders, managing chronic conditions, and, when necessary, referrals to specialized care.

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Public hospitals

Ireland has a network of public institutions that offer various medical services. These HSE-managed institutions provide both emergency and non-emergency care. Regardless of their capacity to pay, all citizens can access care at publicly funded hospitals. Some public hospitals also teach hospitals affiliated with medical colleges, providing medical education and research opportunities.

Private Healthcare

Private healthcare services are available to those who wish to utilize them in Ireland. Private hospitals and clinics provide various services, such as elective procedures, specialized care, and reduced wait times for consultations and treatments. Individuals can purchase private health insurance to cover the costs of personal healthcare services.

Long-Term care

Ireland offers long-term care services to seniors, people with disabilities, and those needing ongoing medical or rehabilitative assistance. These include nursing homes, assisted living facilities, home care services, and community-based support.

While Ireland has a public healthcare system, individuals also have the option to purchase private health insurance. Access to private hospitals and reduced wait times for certain procedures are additional advantages of private health insurance. Some employers provide health insurance coverage as part of their employee benefits bundle.

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Universal health coverage

Ireland is working towards universal health coverage to ensure all citizens can access essential healthcare services without financial barriers. The government is committed to expanding access, decreasing wait times, and improving the quality of treatment across the entire healthcare system.

Requirements to work as nurse in Ireland

To become a registered nurse, specific educational, language, and health requirements must be met in Ireland.

To practice as a registered nurse in Ireland, you must possess a recognized nursing qualification. In Ireland, the following are the primary educational pathways to becoming a registered nurse:

Education requirements

Bachelor of Science in Nursing
The most common route is to earn a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BScN) from an approved nursing program in Ireland or an equivalent program abroad. The Nursing and Midwifery Board of Ireland (NMBI) should recognize the nursing program.

Diploma in Nursing
In some instances, individuals with a diploma in nursing are also eligible for registration. The NMBI must nonetheless approve of the diploma program.

If you obtained your nursing qualification outside of Ireland, the NMBI will evaluate your qualifications to ascertain their equivalence to Irish nursing qualifications. This evaluation procedure ensures that your educational background fulfills the requirements.

Language requirements

English proficiency is essential for nurses working in Ireland. As a candidate, you must typically demonstrate your English language proficiency through standardized examinations. The most popular English-language test that the NMBI recognizes is the International English Language Testing System (IELTS). Specific English language requirements may vary, but a minimum overall IELTS score of 7 and a minimum score in each component (reading, writing, listening, and speaking) are frequently required.

Health requirements

As nursing is physically demanding, specific health requirements are necessary to ensure patient safety. Depending on the healthcare institution or employer, the specific health requirements may vary marginally but typically include the following:


Up-to-date immunizations are necessary to protect both healthcare professionals and patients. Vaccinations are frequently required for diseases such as measles, mumps, rubella, hepatitis B, and influenza.

Health Screening

Nurses may be required to undergo a health screening consisting of a medical examination, blood tests, and tests for infectious diseases such as tuberculosis.

Fitness to Practice

Nurses must have excellent mental and physical health to perform their duties effectively. Some employers may require a medical certificate certifying your fitness to practice as a nurse.

It is crucial to note that the specific educational requirements, language proficiency requirements, and health standards may vary slightly based on the employer or institution for which you intend to work. For the most accurate and up-to-date information on the conditions for becoming a registered nurse in Ireland, it is advisable to consult the NMBI or the relevant healthcare institution.

Registration with the NMBI

Registering with the Nursing and Midwifery Board of Ireland (NMBI) as a foreign-trained nurse involves a specific process that includes application fees, documentation requirements, and different application methods.

  • Application fees: The current application fees for registering with the NMBI as a foreign-trained nurse are subject to change, so it is essential to consult the NMBI website or contact them directly for the most up-to-date information. The fees typically cover the application assessment, evaluation of qualifications, and administrative processing.
  • Documentation required: To apply for registration with the NMBI as a foreign-trained nurse, you will need to provide the following documentation:

a. Completed Application Form: Obtain the application form from the NMBI website or request it by mail. Fill out the form accurately and provide all the required information.

b. Identification Documents: You must submit certified copies of your identification documents, such as a passport or national identity card.

c. Nursing Education Documents: Include certified copies of your nursing education documents, such as your nursing degree or diploma certificate, academic transcripts, and proof of completion of clinical practice hours.

The educational institution where you obtained your nursing degree should issue these documents.

d. English Language Proficiency: If English is not your first language or your nursing education was not conducted in English, you must provide evidence of your English language proficiency. This typically involves submitting certified copies of English language test results, such as IELTS, with the required minimum scores.

e. Professional Registration: If you are currently registered as a nurse in another country, provide evidence of your current professional registration or license.

f. Professional Reference: Include a professional reference or testimonial from a nursing supervisor or employer who can attest to your nursing practice and character.

g. Declaration of Good Character: You may be required to provide a declaration of good character, indicating that you have no criminal convictions or disciplinary actions against you.

These are the general documentation requirements, but the NMBI may request additional information or documentation as part of the registration process.

a. Online Application: The preferred method is to apply online through the NMBI website. This allows for a faster and more efficient application process. You can create an online account, complete the application form, and submit the required documentation electronically.

b. Postal Application: If you prefer to apply by mail, you can request a paper application form from the NMBI. Fill out the form, gather the necessary documents, and mail the completed application and the required fees to the NMBI.

It is essential to carefully follow the instructions provided by the NMBI and ensure that all required documents are submitted correctly to avoid any delays in the application process.

Passing the NMBI competency test

The NMBI competency test for foreign-trained nurses is a two-part test that assesses the knowledge and skills of nurses who have been educated and trained outside of the EU. The test ensures that foreign-trained nurses have the knowledge and skills to practice safely and effectively in Ireland.

The first part of the test is a written test that covers the following topics:

The second part of the test is a clinical assessment that assesses the nurse’s ability to perform a range of nursing skills. The clinical evaluation is conducted in a simulated clinical setting and includes tasks such as:

There are several ways to prepare for the NMBI competency test. The NMBI website provides several resources, including practice questions and study guides. Several private companies offer preparation courses for the test.

The NMBI competency test can be taken in Ireland or another country’s test center. The test is offered several times a year.

Here are some tips for preparing for the NMBI competency test:

  • Start studying early. The test covers a lot of material, so giving yourself plenty of time to study is important.
  • Use the NMBI’s resources. The NMBI website provides a wealth of information to help you prepare for the test.
  • Take practice tests. There are several practice tests available online. Taking practice tests can help you get familiar with the format of the test and the types of questions that are asked.
  • Join a study group. Studying with other nurses who are also taking the test can be a great way to stay motivated and to learn from each other.

The NMBI competency test is challenging but also an essential step in becoming a registered nurse in Ireland. By following these tips, you can increase your chances of success on the test.

Finding a nursing job

There are several ways to find nursing jobs in Ireland for foreign-trained nurses. Here are a few of the most common methods:

  • Nursing recruitment agencies.

    Several nursing recruitment agencies specialize in placing foreign-trained nurses in jobs in Ireland. These agencies can be a great way to find out about job openings and to get your resume in front of potential employers.

  • Job boards.

    Several job boards list nursing jobs in Ireland. These job boards can be a great way to search for employment and to apply for positions.

  • Networking.

    Networking with other nurses in Ireland can be a great way to find job openings. You can network at job fairs, social media, or connect with nurses already working in Ireland.

  • Direct applications.

    You can also find nursing jobs in Ireland by directly applying to hospitals, clinics, and other healthcare organizations.

Here are some nursing recruitment agencies that can help you find a job in Ireland.

  1. Cpl Healthcare
  2. TTM Healthcare
  3. Kate Cowhig International Healthcare Recruitment
  4. Global Medics
  5. Excel Recruitment
  6. FRS Recruitment
  7. Head Hunt International
  8. Nurse Jobs Ireland
  9. HealthSectorJobs
  10. Servisource Healthcare

Here are some tips for networking with potential employers:

  • Attend job fairs. Job fairs are a great way to meet with potential employers and learn about job openings.
  • Connect with other nurses. There are some organizations for nurses who are working in Ireland. These groups can be a great way to connect with other nurses and learn about job openings.
  • Reach out to nurses who are already working in Ireland. If you know any nurses who are already working in Ireland, reach out to them and ask them about their experiences. They may be able to help you find a job or give you some advice on the job market in Ireland.

Work permit application

The process of applying for a work permit for foreign-trained nurses in Ireland is as follows:

  1. Find a job offer.

    You must have a job offer from an employer in Ireland to apply for a work permit.

  2. Gather the required documentation.

    You will need to provide a number of documents to support your application for a work permit, including your passport, educational transcripts, nursing registration certificate, and IELTS or OET scores.

  3. Complete the application form.

    You can apply for a work permit online or by mail. The application form is available on the Department of Justice and Equality website.

  4. Pay the application fee.

    There is a fee of €300 for applying for a work permit.

  5. Submit your application.

    You can submit your application online or by mail.

The requirements for obtaining a work permit for foreign-trained nurses in Ireland are as follows:

  • You must have a job offer from an employer in Ireland.
  • You must have a valid passport.
  • You must have a nursing registration certificate from a recognized nursing organization.
  • You must have passed the IELTS or OET with a minimum score of 7.0.
  • You must not have any criminal convictions.

The different ways to apply for a work permit for foreign-trained nurses in Ireland are as follows:

  • Online

    You can apply for a work permit online through the Department of Enterprise, Trade and Employment website.

  • By mail

    You can also apply for a work permit by mail. You will need to download the application form from the website of the Department of Justice and Equality and mail it along with the required documentation, to the following address:

    Employment Permits Section,
    Department of Enterprise, Trade and Employment,
    Earlsfort Centre, Lower Hatch Street,
    Dublin 2,
    D02 PW0

The processing time for a work permit for foreign-trained nurses in Ireland is typically 6-8 weeks. However, the processing time may be longer if your application is incomplete or if you need to provide additional information.

Once your work permit is approved, you will be issued a stamp in your passport that allows you to work in Ireland. Your work permit will be valid for two years. You can then apply for a renewal of your work permit.

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