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OET opens first test venue in NI’

Foyle International in Derry has been chosen as a test centre for the Occupational English Test, an English Language test for overseas healthcare professionals. The first test venue in Northern Ireland, the test will be available to take in Derry from December 2019.

Established in 1990, Foyle International specialise in Medical English and offer a one-week intensive OET preparation course before exam dates as well as 3, 6 or 9 month courses for those who require more preparation to improve their level of English.

What is OET?

The OET is an Australian developed international Medical English test that assess the language proficiency of healthcare professionals. It assesses all four language skills – listening, reading, writing and speaking – through test material designed to reflect real healthcare scenarios.

This initiative comes amid widespread concern of a shortage of NHS medical professionals across the UK.

For overseas nurses to work in the UK, they require OET Grade B and to pass the OSCE 1 and OSCE 2 exam. Ulster University’s Magee campus in Derry is one of 3 OSCE 2 exam centres across all of the UK, making Derry a unique and attractive location for international nurses to gain the qualifications needed to work in the UK.

Paul Murray, Director of Foyle International said: “We at Foyle International are delighted to be the first OET centre in the north of Ireland.

Having specialized in Medical English for over 20 years, Foyle intends to work closely with the new OSCE 2 centre located at Magee Campus, Ulster University to increase numbers of international doctors and nurses qualifying in the North West region as healthcare professionals and grow Derry as an International Medical Hub.

Thank you to all our staff and associates for their hard work in bringing this project to fruition.”

A spokesperson for Ulster University commented: “International nurses play a vital and important role in our high quality health and social care provision. At the nursing Competency Test Centre on the Magee campus, over 450 internationally educated nurses each month complete the second exam of their Test of Competence, facilitating their entry onto the Nursing and Midwifery Council live register in order to work in Northern Ireland and across the UK as registered nurses. English language skills are central to those nurses being able to meet the criteria to pursue their careers in nursing and we welcome the launch of the first OET centre in Northern Ireland at Foyle International as it will play an important role in facilitating those who wish to pursue a career in nursing.”

Who recognises OET?

OET is recognised and trusted by healthcare boards and councils in the UK, Republic of Ireland, Australia, New Zealand, Dubai and Singapore. Many organisations, including hospitals, universities and colleges, are using OET as proof of a candidate’s ability to communicate effectively in a demanding healthcare environment.

The test is recognised by the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC), the General Medical Council (GMC) in the UK and the Nursing and Midwifery Board and the Medical Council of Ireland

In April 2019 the Home Office announced that overseas medical staff will no longer be required to pass a second English Language test in order to enter the UK on a Tier 2 visa – but can now apply using either IELTS or OET.

OET exam

Foyle International is the 4th test centre on the island of Ireland. There are test dates every month and 14 dates in total for the year.

More information about the OET test and dates can be found here:

For any enquiries, please email [email protected] or call 028 71 371 535