Your web browser is outdated and may be insecure

The RCN recommends using an updated browser such as Microsoft Edge or Google Chrome

RCN International

Our international work

We represent UK nursing in Europe and internationally

The RCN works with UK, European and wider international alliances and stakeholders to influence health and nursing policy globally.

We focus on supporting our international workforce by influencing an inclusive immigration system, fair testing and registration process and effective and ethical recruitment into the UK. We also work with partners to influence both UK and global health policy that recognises and promotes the rights, expertise and leadership of nurses for achieving better global health outcomes for all.

International Workforce

Immigration advice service

We have a dedicated immigration advice service, who provide free confidential advice and support and assistance on immigration issues to our international members. You can find further details on our immigration advice service here.

EU Settlement Scheme

The United Kingdom formally left the European Union (EU) on 31 January 2020 and entered into a period of transitional arrangements. That transition period came to an end on 31 December 2020.

EU nationals and their families living in the UK must now apply to the EU Settlement Scheme. Details on the scheme, including what to do if you have not already applied can be found here.

Professional Qualifications Bill

The Professional Qualifications Bill was introduced in the House of Lords in May 2021. The Bill will replace the Mutual Recognition of Professional Qualifications (MRPQ) Directive – which allowed professionals to move freely between EU member states. This arrangement ended with the conclusion of the Transition Period following the UK’s exit from the European Union on 31 December 2020.

The Professional Qualifications Bill is a significant piece of legislation because it sets out a new framework for the recognition of overseas professional qualifications in the UK and gives regulators the ability to make agreements with their international equivalents – creating opportunities for professionals from all countries seeking to work in the UK, and UK professionals looking to work abroad.

Global Health

Nursing and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)

Across the world nurses and midwives are helping to ensure better health outcomes for all, addressing health inequalities and ultimately working to deliver Universal Health Coverage (UHC) and wider social change.  Nurses and midwives account for around half the global health workforce and we have a vital role to play in driving global progress on the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

In 2015, all countries, including the UK, adopted the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. This includes the 17 SDGs. The SDGs cover a range of issues and aim to deliver transformative change for all people in all countries by 2030. If applied together, the SDGs address the broad range of factors that shape our health – the social determinants of health. There are many examples of nursing work and innovation around the world that is driving progress on the SDGs, including improving access to health care, addressing poverty, exclusion and inequality, educating populations, improving nutrition, and supporting clean energy and sustainability.

Our report ‘Leaving no-one behind: The role of the nursing profession in achieving the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals in the UK’ highlights the critical role of nursing and midwifery in driving progress towards the SDGs. It includes 12 case studies of nurses and midwives who are leading innovative work to address issues such as poverty, exclusion, inequality and climate change.

We want to build awareness and knowledge of the SDGs amongst our profession so that we can use the SDGs to advocate for and drive the changes we want to see: stronger health systems, better health outcomes for all, greater equality and a strong, resilient nursing workforce which plays a leading role in delivering and sustaining social change. 

If you have an example of your work and how it is contributing to the SDGs that you would like to share please get in touch with the Policy team at

International alliances

Royal College of Nursing members voted to re-join the International Council of Nurses (ICN), at the Annual General Meeting in May 2021. You can find out more about the vote and what it means here.

Contact the RCN

For more information on international issues, please contact