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EU Commission to Liberalise NMBI Registration Policies..

Dublin: The EU Commission has requested further clarification regarding the Nursing Midwifery Board Ireland’s (NMBI) refusal to register citizens who have completed nursing studies in European countries due to the English Language Proficiency Act. The European Commission believes that Irish nursing registration should be granted to those who have completed courses from English-medium colleges and have at least three years of work experience in English-speaking countries.

The EU Commission has urged an immediate decision on this matter. In recent months, NMBI had informed the European Commission that a decision had been finalised.

The Case of Emmanuel Samit and NMBI

Emmanuel Samit, a graduate from the University of Malta, has been waiting for registration for the past two years. The NMBI denied his registration, citing that the documents provided by the University of Malta did not meet the English proficiency requirements because English is not officially recognised as one of Malta’s languages. However, Samit completed his nursing education in English in 2006, which, according to the European Commission’s 2005 directive, entitles him to automatic recognition by the board.

Qualifications and Evidence

Samit provided an official letter from the University of Malta stating that all subjects and the language of instruction for his nursing course were in English. He holds a Diploma and Bachelor’s Degree with Honours in Nursing from the Faculty of Health Sciences and a Master of Arts from the Faculty of Theology, along with an English Language Secondary Education Certificate from the University of Malta. Despite this, the board insisted he take an English language test.

EU Commission’s Criticism and Response

Samit’s complaint to the EU Commission reached the European Parliament, leading to criticism of NMBI’s decision from the EU Commission. In response, Ireland informed the European Union that it is ready to amend the law. Currently, NMBI only accepts English proficiency certificates from five countries: Australia, Canada, New Zealand, the US, and the UK.

The Irish authorities stated last September that they were prepared to implement changes in line with EU guidance, indicating that any applicant with a degree programme would be exempt from the language test. However, these new rules have not yet been implemented.

Despite assurances of necessary legal changes, Samit reports no progress in his case. As an EU citizen, he felt the board’s actions were unfair, undermining his rights. He wishes to work in Ireland for the good salary and wealth of experience it offers.

Potential Benefits for Foreign Nurses

Implementing these legal changes could benefit hundreds of foreign nurses and healthcare assistants currently working in Ireland who have not passed English proficiency tests such as OET or IELTS. If NMBI adopts the new EU directives, those with citizenship or certain qualifications might have the opportunity to work as nurses. Similar measures were implemented by NMBI in 2018, allowing about 500 Indians working as carers and in other fields to enter nursing jobs.

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