So this is a continuation of my previous post and here, I will detail what happens after you receive your well-coveted Decision Letter.
Alright, so as I have discussed in one of my posts, after your application to the NMC register and after you have submitted your documents, you will now wait for their decision if you are now eligible to proceed to the next step in order to become a UK nurse. The duration of the wait-time for the decision letter varies, but usually it takes 60 to 90 days, even as along as 120 days in some cases. As for me, my documents were received by the NMC by July 12, 2017 and I heard from the assessment officer September 12, 2017. However, I received my decision letter October 27, 2017, after several calls and emails to the NMC. For those residing in the Philippines like me, take note that calling the NMC costs a lot (100 pesos for 5 minutes via mobile phone. I’m not sure about landline calls), and a huge portion of my salary goes into calling them and asking when I’ll receive my decision letter.
So then, after 3 months, my decision letter came saying I am eligible to continue with the process of registration and I can now take the OSCE– Objective Structured Clinical Exam– which is another examination that a foreign educated nurse must take in order to practice as a registered nurse in the United Kingdom. The OSCE is taken in the UK, so that means that you’ll have to fly to England in order to take the OSCE. And before you can fly to the UK, you’ll have to undergo various steps and obtain a visa.
And that is where this whole blog will talk about.
IV. Medical Exam
After getting your decision letter, the real next step is to take the OSCE, but in order to take the OSCE, you have to go to the UK. And to fly to the UK, you will need a visa, and to have a visa, you’ll have to ensure the UK goverment that you won’t be spreading diseases to their country. Hence, the need for the medical exam.
Now, the requirements for the Medical Exam varies from person to person, as well as employer requirements, but for me, here are the components that I needed to have checked:
a. TB Testing – this involves a chest x-ray as well as a health history interview with an accredited medical facility. For Filipino nurses, it’s at the IOM Manila Health Center, in Makati City. (107 H.V. Dela Costa, Makati, 1227 Metro Manila.). Prior to going here, you must secure an appointment first and prepare documents:
- Passport and 1 photocopy
- Government issued ID
- Payment Fee of Php 3,200 for adults and Php 500 (0-10 yrs old)
Once there, you’ll submit your documents to the nurse in charge and he will assist you with the registration as well as the steps for the process. Make sure to bring all pertinent documentation with you, especially the photocopy of your passport and IDs. Also for women, remember your LMP (the first day of your most recent menstrual period) because you will be asked of it repeatedly.
After the registration, just wait for your name to be called and you will then be asked to have your chest x-ray. My tip would be to just follow instructions and be alert because the lines could get quite long, and some of the staff aren’t that “nice” (they were all polite though, so no worries.).
After the chest x-ray, the results will be ready and if everything is normal, you will be asked to sign a release form. Keep the original result and make sure you make copies. KEEP IT SAFE because it will be required for your visa application as well as the identity check for the immigration and also during the OSCE.
b. Physical Examination – this takes place in SM Lazo health center in Manila (if you live in Luzon– there’s a different clinic for those who live in Visayas and Mindanao). SM Lazo is located near the Philippine Women’s University in Manila, along Taft Avenue. It’s a decrepit building, doesn’t look that big and is actually quite stuffy. Again, wear comfortable clothes because you’ll be doing a lot of standing up and falling in line.
Depending on your employer, the physical exam may have different components/parts, and for me, these are the tests that I underwent:
- CBC + blood typing + FBS– basically a blood test. Make sure to fast 8 to 10 hrs prior to getting your blood drawn.
- Urine and Stool exam- if you can’t submit a stool sample, you may opt for a rectal swab.
- Health History taking – again women, remember your LMP.
- Height, Weight, blood pressure
- Vision test
- Physical assessment – they just asked me to strip and the doctor listened for my lung sounds
- chest xray
- psychological exam- where you will just answer an IQ test and then write an essay.
Go there early in order to finish early too. Make sure to have all your needed documents: passport, a photocopy of your passport, 2 ID pictures (passport sized), a pen, specimen bottles for your urine and stool, IDs. You will be asked to leave your bags, so bring a small envelope/sling bag to place all your requirements. Aside from going there early, be ready to mingle with a lot of people, because SM Lazo seems to be a clinic that most employers would send their employees for medical exams. It’s crowded and some staff could be callous. Just grin and bear it.
Once the entire ordeal is over, you’ll have to return after 72 hrs for the checking of your PPD. After that, the medical exam phase is over.
My experience with the entire medical exam is quite tiring, honestly. I had my TB Testing with IOM on November 2, and my physical assessment Nov, 3 and 6. All results were normal, so in spite of the hassle and the heat of the sun, I’d say it’s worth it because the next step is the Visa Application.
V. Visa Application
No, it’s not the end of the road yet. There is still one more hurdle to overcome, and that is the visa application. For this step, you’ll have to register online through https://www.visa4uk.fco.gov.uk/home/welcome.
Fill in the fields required and triple check for accuracy. In addition to that, if you have an employer that will sponsor your travel to the UK, the immigration may also ask for what is called the Certificate of Sponsorship. There are information there that will be asked in the visa application, such as the “points” as well as the address of the sponsor and the type of visa required. In my case, my type of visa is Tier 2 General Migrant. Other information in my visa application were handled by my agent, which is IPAMS.
After the online registration, you will then have to set for a schedule for the Visa application and pay the necessary fees. VFS Global in Makati handles the UK Visa Application, and for my application, I was scheduled on Nov.23, 12 noon. Again, due to traffic issues, make sure to arrive early and bring all necessary documents. The list below outlines what these documents are, and please note that this is not exhaustive and may vary:
- TB Clearance Certificate
- Printed copy of Sponsorship letter
- Two Passport sized photos
- Online visa application summary (to be printed online and signed)
- Biometrics (to be done in VFS)
- Original current Passport valid for at least three (3) years
- All previous passports which show evidence of foreign travel
- Original IELTS UKVI Test Report Form
- Visa Application schedule (to be printed online)
- NMC Decision Letter
- CBT Passing Confirmation Email
- Signed contract
- NBI Clearance (for travel / employment abroad/immigration)- not older than 3 moths
- Police Clearance issued abroad (if have worked / lived abroad in the last 10 years)
**A4 size photocopy of each document mentioned above (including English translations if deemed required)
You may bring the following supporting documents in case needed:
- Birth certificate from NSO (National Statistics Office)
- Marriage certificate from NSO (National Statistics Office) – if applicable
- Transcript of records (TOR) and Diploma
- Resume with Job Description outlining the duties and responsibilities (JD)
- Certificate of Employment from previous and present employers showing position, and period of employment (COE)
- Training/Seminar Certificates (most recent certificates only)
- Bank statement or recent payslip
Again, these may vary. With regards to the NBI Clearance, you need to secure one that is not more than 3 months old. Fortunately, procurement of NBI clearance here in the PH is easier now.
Also, organize the documents ahead of time and put the barcoded markers on top of each document. Make sure to have copies in A4 size paper. Even the TOR and Diploma… everything. Have multiple copies.
Be there ahead of time and follow instructions. Wear comfortable clothing. No need to be in blazers, just something presentable and clean and comfortable will do. Anticipate queues, be polite and come prepared. Once inside, you will be given instructions on what to submit first. If you opt to have your visa collected by a representative, you will have to pay for courier service. (650pesos I believe, for the SMS notification and the courier).
As for the processing time, it varies. If you chose the Priority Service like my employer did, the decision for your visa application will arrive in 3 to 5 working days. For regular assessment, it takes 15 working days for the UKVI to come up with a decision. My visa arrived after 3 working days.
Technically, that’s the end of the entire process. The next step would be to schedule for a flight. However, that’s not all that a Pinay nurse would have to do. In addition to all those documents needed for the UK Visa Application, there may also be some documents required by your employer which you need to submit. On top of that, since you’re now going to be an OFW, you’ll have to settle fees for the PhilHealth and Pag-ibig.
For Pag-ibig, you can settle it thru online transaction. However, for PhilHealth, you’ll have to pay over the counter and through the branch office. Again, that takes queueing, so come early and prepare an exact amount. For PhilHealth you’ll have to settle for a year of coverage, while for Pag-ibig, it’s for 6 months.
In addition to that, you need to attend PDOS–Pre-departure Orientation Seminar. This will be conducted by a person authorized by the OWWA and POEA. In my case, it was handled by IPAMS and I had it in their office. This PDOS is a seminar that will teach you your rights and responsibilities as an OFW, as well as what to expect as a foreign worker in the country where you will be working in. It takes about a half-day and can be quite tiring, so prepare a pen and paper, and some candies to keep you awake.
While I’m typing this, I am waiting for my final flight schedule. I’m slated to leave the PH by around Dec 5 to 7, so I’m already doing some packing and preparation. It has been a crazy ride, but I think it’s all worth it now that I am days away from actually starting a new life.
I will update this post once more when I have my final departure date. I hope this post would be helpful for other Pinoy nurses who want to pursue a career in the UK.
Feel free to comment/leave your thoughts!