Compensation Measures

Compensation Measures

What’s a compensation measure?

A compensation measure refers to either a period of adaptation or an aptitude test that needs to be successfully completed before your qualifications will be recognised. Both the period of adaption and aptitude test are explained in detail below. They are mechanisms which allow you to demonstrate that you have met the required standard in the gap or shortfall areas that have been identified in your qualifications when compared to the NMBI standards. 

You may be required to successfully complete a compensation measure if gaps have been found between your professional qualifications and experience, compared with the required Irish standards and requirements (applies to G2 and G3 applicants only).  

Both the period of adaptation and the aptitude test make-up the compensation measures under the provisions of a European Directive (2005/36/EC) which has been written into Irish legislation, bringing the provisions of the Directive into effect in Ireland.  

In some circumstances an applicant’s period of adaptation or aptitude test may not be successful, resulting in a failed compensation measure and a consequent inability to register.  

If you are applying to the General Nurses division and you were informed by NMBI that you are required to complete a compensation measure, you have a choice to undertake one of the following:

  1. Period of adaptation, or 
  2. Aptitude test 

If you are applying to any division other than General Nurses, you will need to complete a period of adaptation (i.e. Aptitude Test is not available for divisions other than General Nurses).

Why are compensation measures imposed?

Compensation measures may be imposed if: 

  • an applicant’s training covers significantly different matters to the training provided in Ireland;


  • the nursing or midwifery profession in Ireland comprises one or more regulated professional activities which do not exist in the corresponding profession in the applicant’s home State, and the training required in Ireland covers substantially different matters from those covered by the applicant’s attestation of competence or evidence of formal qualifications.

What is an aptitude test?

A definition of an adaptation period has been provided by the European Commission: 

“A test limited to the professional knowledge of the applicant, made by the competent authorities of the host Member State with the aim of assessing the ability of the applicant to pursue a regulated profession in that Member State. In order to permit this test to be carried out, the competent authorities shall draw up a list of subjects which, on the basis of a comparison of the education and training required in the Member State and that received by the applicant, are not covered by the diploma or other evidence of formal qualifications possessed by the applicant. 

The aptitude test must take account of the fact that the applicant is a qualified professional in the home Member State or the Member State from which he comes. It shall cover subjects to be selected from those on the list, knowledge of which is essential in order to be able to pursue the profession in the host Member State. The test may also include knowledge of the professional rules applicable to the activities in question in the host Member State. The detailed application of the aptitude test and the status, in the host Member State, of the applicant who wishes to prepare himself for the aptitude test in that State shall be determined by the competent authorities in that Member State”

The Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland’s (RCSI) Faculty of Nursing and Midwifery coordinates and manages an Aptitude Test for applicants qualified outside the Republic of Ireland. The test is composed of two parts:

  • Part 1: Theory or knowledge test or Multiple Choice Questions (MCQ), which must be successfully completed before part 2 can be attempted.
  • Part 2: Practical or Objective Structured Clinical Examination (OSCE) test

Please refer to this link for full details on this Test.

The process to complete the test is:

  • You have 12 months, from the date on the email to complete the Aptitude Test.
  • Complete RCSI’s online application form. 
  • RCSI will send you a confirmation email with an invitation to the test.
  • You might need a visa to travel to Ireland to complete the test, NMBI has no role in organising or answering visa related queries. For more information please contact INIS.

Once you complete the test, you can inform NMBI of the result through MyNMBI. 

What is a period of adaptation?

A definition of a period of adaptation has been provided by the European Commission: 

“The pursuit of a regulated profession in the host Member State under the responsibility of a qualified member of that profession, such period of supervised practice possibly being accompanied by further training. This period of supervised practice shall be the subject of an assessment. The detailed rules governing the adaptation period and its assessment as well as the status of a migrant under supervision shall be laid down by the competent authority in the host Member State. The status enjoyed in the host Member State by the person undergoing the period of supervised practice, in particular in the matter of right of residence as well as obligations, social rights and benefits, allowances and remuneration, shall be established by the competent authorities in that Member State in accordance with applicable Community law” 

Adaptation periods, including additional academic training if applicable, must take place in the State (Ireland). 

A period of adaptation is a period of supervised practice and is subject to an assessment. The supervised practice under the responsibility of a qualified member of the profession. The period of adaptation may, by a decision of the NMBI, be supplemented with additional independently assessed academic training.

Periods of supervised practice must be undertaken at an approved Irish healthcare facility. You will be able to choose from a list of hospitals matched to the division of the Register you are applying to and approved by NMBI. 

The training during adaptation period should be provided through a combination of theoretical and clinical modules. The minimum timeframe to complete the clinical learning component of an adaptation period is 6 weeks (in addition to any introduction and other theoretical learning). The period to complete the clinical component may be extended to 12 weeks and beyond if required.

Further information on adaptation periods

  • You have 12 months from the date on the letter to secure a period of adaptation. After that period elapses, your application will be closed. 
  • You may need a visa to travel to Ireland to complete the period of adaptation. For more information please contact the Irish Naturalisation and Immigration Service - INIS. NMBI has no role in organising nor answering visa-related queries. 
  • You or your potential employer must contact healthcare facilities to secure an adaptation placement. We do not organise adaptation periods for our applicants.
  • Once you find a healthcare facility you need to:
    • Complete information on the healthcare facility or hospital in MyNMBI
    • Upload a letter of confirmation of your adaptation healthcare facility or hospital
  • NMBI will place your name on the Candidate Register for the duration of your period of adaptation and we will issue you with a Candidate Certificate.

For more information on the overseas qualification recognition and registration processes, please read our Applicant Guide.

Choice of compensation measure 

If an applicant has applied as a general nurse, then he/she will be offered a choice of completing an adaptation period or an aptitude test. A person can decide to change his/her mind after selecting a compensation measure. However, if an applicant completes either an aptitude test or adaptation period, he/she cannot then decide to commence the alternative to the failed test.  

What happens at the end of the period of adaptation? 

At the end of your placement, the Director of Nursing or Midwifery will be asked to recommend whether or not you are eligible for qualifications recognition.

Before you undertake an aptitude test 

Before starting the aptitude test, you should familiarise yourself with the structure of the test and the method used for testing your skills, knowledge and competences.  

The Royal College of Surgeons currently provides aptitude tests for those seeking registration as general nurses in Ireland. For further information on the structure and format of the test please visit the RCSI website

The day of the aptitude test 

On the day that you arrive at the test centre, there will be an orientation session to explain how the test is carried out. Staff at the centre will ensure that you are comfortable and they will explain to you what you have to do.  

If you feel unwell or are unable to take the test, you should inform the test centre staff. They will arrange for you to do the test another day. If you feel unwell during the test, you may also decide to postpone the test until a future date.  

Once you have completed the test however, the outcome of the test is recorded. You cannot postpone the test at this stage. One attempt for the test will have been used out of the two attempts that an applicant is allowed. Please note that a third attempt is not permitted. 

Results from the period of adaptation or aptitude test 

The result of the aptitude test is provided to the applicant and the NMBI within three days of the test date.

If you have not been successful on your first attempt, you will be given a second opportunity to repeat the test.
Similarly for periods of adaptation, the site at which you completed your adaptation period will forward a report to the NMBI with the outcome of the period of adaptation.  

If you have failed the period of adaptation or aptitude test (after two sittings), you will be provided with a decision letter indicating that your qualification recognition application is provisionally refused. One of the options that you can take is to submit an appeal. Please note that you cannot apply to undertake the alternative compensation measure at this stage.  

Notice on Decision Letters

Decision letters are sent to applicants trained outside Ireland who need to successfully complete a compensation measure before we can recognise their qualifications.

As some applicants are unable to travel to Ireland, we have decided to further extend their decision letters as follows:

  • Under normal circumstances a decision letter is valid for 12 months from the date of issue
  • A decision letter is issued to overseas applicants who need to successfully complete a compensation measure before the NMBI can recognise their qualifications
  • The NMBI reserves the right to end the extension period at any time but will give three months advance notice of this to our applicants

Submitting an appeal  

The NMBI is legally obliged under its rules to offer an appeal option where it makes a decision with respect to recognition of qualifications or registration. An applicant can appeal a decision regarding a failed adaptation period or aptitude test to the NMBI Registration Committee. If that appeal is unsuccessful, the applicant can appeal the decision of the Registration Committee to the High Court within three months of the date of the committee’s decision. 

By submitting an appeal, it does not necessarily mean that the decision to refuse will be overturned. When NMBI receives an appeal, it follows a process to ensure that the aptitude test or period of adaptation process was followed correctly and that there were no mitigating factors that could have reduced your chances of successfully completing that test. 

Applicants can now submit an appeal form via MyNMBI. The link to appeals is on the left-hand navigation. In completing the appeal application, you will need to provide the details of why you are appealing the decision and provide as much information as possible to support your case. Please provide accurate and specific details where possible (supporting documentation etc.) to support your case or to indicate why you believe that you should have passed the compensation measure.  

Process for Appeals 

Once you have submitted appeal form via MyNMBI and paid the appeal fee, the Registration Department will prepare a file for your appeal. It will await your appeal form and all the supporting documentation that you provide.  

The NMBI will request a report from the test provider confirming the date of your test and other information on the test including your result to ensure that it was correctly calculated. We also look for any mitigating factors at the test centre on the date of the test that could have impacted your outcome.  
If an applicant has failed a period of adaptation, the placement site and staff who supervised you on your placement (including preceptors) will be contacted to provide a more comprehensive report as to the circumstances of your placement and will seek further clarification as to why it considered that you did not meet the criteria to pass the period of adaptation.  

A qualifications assessor in NMBI will then consider both the documentation provided by the applicant appealing the decision and the report received from the placement setting to determine if there were any mitigating circumstances that may have impacted on the applicant’s chances of success. He or she will draft a report for consideration by the Registration Committee that will include a recommendation for the Committee to consider.  

NMBI Registration Committee 

The completed appeal form and the report from the test centre are prepared for the next scheduled meeting of the Registration Committee. In the case of a period of adaptation, there will be a third report from a qualifications assessor. Once all the documentation has been collected, it will be scanned and provided online for the committee members to review in advance of the next meeting of the Committee.  

NMBI Registration Committee decision-making process  

The Registration Committee will consider all the information provided by the applicant and the report provided by the aptitude test centre/adaptation placement site (and from the NMBI assessor) where provided.  
If the Registration Committee considers that there were mitigating circumstances which were identified by the applicant which are confirmed by the test centre, or if the test centre returns that a marking error occurred and that the result should have been a pass result, it will overturn the decision to refuse registration.  

If however, there are no mitigating factors for which evidence is provided by the applicant nor confirmed by the test centre, the committee will have no option other than to uphold the decision to refuse registration.  

Possible outcomes from the Registration Committee 

The Registration Committee will consider all information provided by the applicant, the test centre or placement site and in some cases from an education assessor.  

In some cases, the Registration Committee will find no mitigating circumstances, bias or any other reason to change the initial decision. In these circumstances, it will uphold the initial decision and refuse the recognition of qualifications.  

The Registration Committee may also decide to set aside the original decision, it may decide to offer a further sitting of the adaptation test or adaptation period or other measure in very limited circumstances.  

Finally, the Registration Committee may also decide to set aside the original decision and direct that an applicant be registered once the normal documentary requirements are met.  

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