Is the International English Language Testing System (IELTS) exam a requirement for the recruitment of EU Care Assistants?

Jun 25, 2018
Paul Johnson

English is the lingua franca of the United Kingdom. The UK stands as a home to all foreigners, either for work or study. Hence, communication is vital. There is an independent body that is in charge of testing the language skill of foreigners.

There are two main language tests available for overseas candidates who wish to work in the NHS and meet their professional registration. These are the Occupational English Testing (OET) and the International English Language Testing System (IELTS).

IELTS is a universal testing system designed to test an applicant’s skill and mastery of the English Language. It is the only English Language Test approved by UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI) for those applying for a visa within and outside the UK.

Health employers are responsible for ensuring their staff possess the requisite level of English language skills to undertake given roles with effectiveness.

Healthcare professionals who are recruited from overseas need to pass a level of languagte competence. This is a part of the requirements for professional regulation before they can practice in the UK. This then allows them to communicate well with their colleagues and patients.

These tests are fundamental for Nursing and Midwifery professions as part of the regulations of the NMC, but EU care assistants are an exception. EU care assistants do not need an IELTS exam to gain employment into any organization.

When it comes to staffing, Care homes have proven to be complex. They are often in need of more support staff than other domiciliary staff (catering staff and maintenance staff).

In recruiting any care assistant, you need to be compliant with the current legislation on the following:

  • legal rights
  • confidentiality
  • equality
  • discrimination
  • the appointment of “fit persons” set out in the Health and Social Care Act 2008 (Regulated Activities) Regulations 2014.

There are no set entry requirements to become a healthcare assistant. It is in the character of employers to expect good literacy and proficiency. They may also ask for GCSEs (or equal) in English and Maths or a healthcare qualification, like NVQ or BTEC.

As part of the recruitment process, employers need you to have some experience in care work. This could be from a paid or voluntary work.

EU care assistants should have basic nursing skills. They should also work towards getting the Care Certificate, developed by Skills for Health and Health Education England.

While the NMC is in charge of regulating nurses and midwives; the Health and Social Care Act 2008, Regulations 2014 handles the selection of staff in Care services.

Registered persons, including registered managers and directors, must meet the fit person requirements as described in Regulations 4–7.

Testing for English isn’t applicable for EU Care assistants, but the UK code promotes high standards of practice in the international recruitment and employment of healthcare professionals.

If you are seeking to work in the UK as a foreign-trained Care Assistant, IELTS is not one of the hurdles you need to cross. That’s good news, which demands your total effectiveness.