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India and the Philippines account for 2/3 of all international nurses


There has also been significant growth in the number of joiners who trained in Nigeria, accounting for 13 percent of last year’s total. The next three most common countries of training are also in Africa: Zimbabwe, Ghana and Kenya.

Of the top 20 countries of training, four – Nigeria, Ghana, Nepal and Pakistan – were on the World Health Organisation’s ‘red list’ in 2021–2022, which precludes active recruitment from these countries. A DHSC code of practice for international recruitment reflects this list. However, this coding does not stop individual professionals from seeking employment independently.

Over eight in ten joiners are Asian – Indian, Asian – Filipina/Filipino, or Black – African.

Further analysis shows that almost half the international joiners last year were aged 30 or under, and a similar number were in their 40s. Only five percent were 41 and above compared to 14 percent of UK joiners. Many are settling in and around London.

International joiners are also more likely to be men than their UK trained counterparts – almost one in five international joiners are men, but overall, only 11 percent of professionals on the register and nine percent of UK joiners are men.

NMC research, Ambitious for Change has found that professionals who are men and those who are Black are referred into our fitness to practise process disproportionately by employers. Most of the professionals the NMC spoke to said they felt one or more of their diversity characteristics played a part in their referral from their employer and said an ‘insider/outsider’ culture left them feeling unsupported.

The NMC is currently developing a new training workshop for employers called Welcome to the UK Workforce. Among its aims is improved retention and reduced referrals of internationally recruited nurses and midwives.

Andrea Sutcliffe, NMC Chief Executive and Registrar, said: “Together we must create the most inclusive environment possible – one that supports international recruits to thrive not just survive.”

This report is supplementary to the NMC annual registration data report for 2021–2022, published on 18 May 2022.


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