How to work in South Africa as a Registered Nurse if you are a Zimbabwean or any other national

How to work in South Africa as a Registered Nurse if you are a Zimbabwean or any other national?


Are you a qualified registered nurse and desire to work in South Africa? Perhaps you have been asking yourself these questions 👇👇👇

  • Do South African Institutions Take Nurses from Zimbabwe and other nationals Without SANC Registration?
  • What are the requirements needed for SANC Registration if you are a foreigner?
  • How long is the SANC Registration Process for Foreigners?
  • Do foreign Nurses nurses get paid the same as South African nurses?

Well this article is going to answer all these questions.

The nursing profession is an essential component of the healthcare industry. Nurses provide care and support to patients, working alongside physicians to improve health outcomes. The nursing profession in most countries is governed by a Nursing Council.

Nursing Councils are set up to register nurses as well as to administer exams among other responsibilities. In South Africa, the South African Nursing Council (SANC) governs the nursing profession and requires all nurses to be registered with them before they can practice in the country.

However, some nurses from Zimbabwe seek employment in South Africa without the necessary SANC registration. In this blog post, we explore why nurses from Zimbabwe may choose to work without SANC registration and the risks associated with this practice.

The Role of SANC Registration

SANC registration is mandatory for all nurses in South Africa, including foreign nationals. SANC registration requires completing an accredited nursing program, passing a national board exam, and meeting the criteria established by the SANC. The registration process ensures that all nurses practicing in South Africa meet the required standards for patient safety and quality care.

Foreign nurses who wish to work in South Africa must undergo a rigorous registration process with SANC. This process requires that their academic and professional credentials are verified to ensure that they meet SANC’s requirements for registration.

Regulations for registration of foreign nationals

In order to register with SANC, the following guidelines apply to all nurses wishing to practice in South Africa. These guidelines apply to all applicants who studied outside of the republic of South Africa. The following categories apply:

• Applicants who hold foreign qualifications and seek employment in South Africa. These can be eitherforeign nationals including refugees or South African citizens.

• Applicants who hold a foreign qualification and wish to undergo basic/undergraduate nurse training and education in South Africa.

• Applicants who hold a foreign qualification and wish to pursue post-graduate studies in South Africa.

• Applicants who wish to do elective practica in South Africa in order to gain experience in a specific area of practice.

• Applicants who wish to do voluntary work or research in South Africa.

• Applications who wish to be registered for employment after successful completion of his/her post-graduate studies in SA.

Requirements to be submitted by the applicant

We have provided a checklist for the requirements that you need in order to lodge your application with SANC.

For applicants who hold a foreign qualification and wish to seek employment in South Africa:

The following must be submitted to SANC upon application:

  1. Letter of intent/ application
  2. Curriculum Vitae
  3. A letter of support to write examinations in South Africa from the NDoH: FWMP
  4. A certificate of English Language Proficiency obtained from an accredited institution (only for applicants whose nurse education was not done in 9 English). The acceptable band for International English Language Testing System (IELTS) is 6. Only certificates from international recognized testing centres will be considered
  5. Evaluation certificate of foreign educational qualification by the South African Qualifications Authority (SAQA)
  6. Certified copy of official passport or South African identity document (except refugees who will submit the permit from Department of home affairs)
  7. Certified copy of registration certificate of the Regulatory Body from the country of origin
  8. Certified copy of qualification certificate
  9. Valid license to practice as a nurse from the nurse’s Regulatory Body where the applicant’s nursing qualification is registered
  10. Record of education and training (transcript) from the Nursing Education Institution in the country of origin
  11. Verification certificate from the Regulatory Body of country of origin confirming that the applicant is in good professional standing and has no professional cases pending against him/her (except for refugees)
  12. Application form duly completed by the applicant himself/herself which can be downloaded at
  13. The applicable non-refundable application fee
  14. Certified copy of marriage certificate where applicable o) Letter of competence from the last employer p) Police clearance letter from country of origin

Duration of registration 

On average it takes about 2 to 3 years for a trained nurse to be registered by SANC. It is therefore important to consider the time factor when applying for SANC registration.

Health Institutes that Employ Nurses without SANC Registration

Some health institutes in South Africa employ nurses from Zimbabwe without SANC registration. These facilities often take advantage of the lack of employment opportunities for Zimbabwean nurses in their own country.

However, it is essential to note that such practices are illegal. Employing nurses without proper registration exposes both the health facility and the nurse to legal and ethical consequences. Failure to register with SANC is a criminal offense and can result in the suspension or revocation of the nurse’s license.

If a facility knowingly employs nurses without valid registration, it can also face legal action and its license could be revoked.

Risks Associated with Working without SANC Registration

Working without SANC registration poses a significant risk to both the nurse and the patient. Without proper registration, nurses cannot ensure that they meet the required standards for patient care and safety.

This practice also exposes them to the risk of losing their jobs and their nursing licenses.Patients, on the other hand, are at risk of substandard care if they are treated by unregistered nurses. Unregistered nurses may not have the necessary knowledge and skills to provide quality care or may not adhere to the ethical

standards required of registered nurses.


In conclusion, nurses from Zimbabwe may seek employment in South Africa without proper SANC registration due to limited employment opportunities in their own country, but this practice is illegal and poses significant risks. It is the responsibility of health institutes to ensure that they employ only registered nurses, and for nurses to prioritize proper SANC registration before seeking employment in South Africa.

Nurses who are not registered with SANC but are interested in working in South Africa should undergo the registration process to protect themselves, their patients, and the healthcare industry at large.


  1. SANC Revised guidelines Foreign Registration,


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