A Maltese nurse has been dismissed from the Irish nursing board due to English language proficiency rules, even though she was educated in the language at the University of Malta.
Emanuel Zammit has been trying to register with the Nursing Midwifery Board Ireland (NMBI) for the last two years.
But the board continues to reject documents issued by the university as proof of the English proficiency required to work in the Irish health system.
It has now turned to the help of the European Parliament through a petition supported by the European Commission, which described Ireland’s rules as “disproportionate”.
Zammit must be registered with NMBI before he can even apply for a job in Ireland.
According to a 2005 directive from the European Commission, he is eligible for automatic recognition by the Irish board because he completed his nursing education in Malta in 2006, where the course is taught in English.
To further prove his proficiency in the language, Zammit also submitted an official letter from the University of Malta (UM) stating that all the books used in the nursing course are in English, that the language of the instruction is also English, and all subjects studied. they are taught and assessed in the language.
Zammit has a diploma and a bachelor’s degree with honors in nursing from the Faculty of Health Sciences, as well as a Master of Arts from the Faculty of Theology, all from UM. The nurse also went a step further and presented the Secondary Education Certificate of the English language, also issued by UM.
Board continues to reject documents from the university
Anyway, Zammit was asked to present an English language test and later it emerged that the NMBI does not recognize English as one of the official languages of Malta.
Zammit said that his situation has not yet changed, although he was told that Ireland is in the process of making the necessary changes.
“I started the petition because I believe that the rules are unfair, disproportionate and limit the freedom of movement that we are entitled to as EU citizens,” he said. Times of Malta.
He said he remains interested in working in Ireland, citing better wages and experience as the main reasons behind his move.
Ireland tells the EU it is ready to amend the rules
In its response as part of Zammit’s petition, the European Commission said that the administrative practice appeared “disproportionately restrictive”.
He said the board did not provide the possibility for a migrant to prove his knowledge of English by any means other than study or professional practice in five specifically listed English-speaking countries or by passing specifically listed exams. The countries, as listed on the NMBI website, are Australia, Canada, New Zealand, the United States and the United Kingdom.
“It should be noted that although the examination centers for the tests listed on the NMBI website were also located outside of Ireland, passing a specific test against a relatively high fee represents a disproportionate requirement when considering keep in mind that applicants may already be in possession of other documents. proof of knowledge of the language which may be sufficient to certify their level required for the practice of the profession in Ireland,” said the commission.
In September, the Irish authorities informed the commission that they are prepared to change the rules to ensure that the language requirements are proportionate and to include “exemptions from the language test for any applicant who has taken a program of ‘ up to the first grade, in compliance with the EU directive, where the theory and placement were mainly through English, in a country that recognizes English as a primary language”.
The new laws, however, have yet to be introduced and in a hearing on Thursday, the Commission said that it believes that the problem is wider than Zammit’s case and that it only adds Malta to the list of ‘ accepted countries is not enough.
The Commission said that as of last week, NBIM said that its response was being finalized but did not provide more details.
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