Health and social care recruitment code – important for health and care visa UK
The revised code of practice for recruiting internationally for health and social care organisations has been published in late March 2023.
The code stresses that the UK recognise the important role international health and care workers play in health and care service delivery in the UK and its commitment to ensuring that we recruit from overseas in an ethically responsible manner.
Heath and social care organisations in England do not actively recruit from those countries the World Health Organization (WHO) recognise as having the most pressing health and care workforce-related challenges unless there is government to government agreement to support managed recruitment activities.
Any overseas workers who are seeking health and care jobs in the UK should be familiar with the code. The code provides list of red countries (active recruitment not permitted from those countries).
Active international recruitment
‘Active international recruitment’ in the code is defined as the process by which UK health and social care employers (including local authorities), contracting bodies, recruitment organisations, agencies, collaborations and sub-contractors target individuals to market UK employment opportunities, with the intention of recruiting to a role in the UK health or social care sector. It includes both physical or virtual targeting, and whether or not these actions lead to substantive employment.
For the purpose of the code of practice, a ‘direct application’ is when an individual makes an application directly and on their own behalf to an employing organisation. Direct applications do not use a third party, such as a recruitment organisation, agency or collaboration.
For the purpose of the code of practice, ‘resident’ refers to the country an individual is living in when they apply for a health or social care job.
The rules on active recruitment and direct applications are based on the country within which an individual is resident when they apply for a health or social care job, rather than the nationality of the individual or their original country of training.
Remit of the code of practice
The code of practice applies to the appointment of all international health and social care personnel in the UK, including all permanent, temporary and locum staff in clinical and non-clinical settings. This includes but is not limited to:
- allied health professionals
- care workers
- healthcare scientists
- medical staff
- nursing staff
- residential and domiciliary care workers
- social workers
- support staff
Which organisations must adhere to the code of practice
The following organisations must adhere to the code of practice when undertaking international recruitment activity to appoint health and social care personnel:
- all UK health and social care employing organisations (including local authority and integrated care systems), both public and independent:
- NHS and social care commissioners should ensure that there is compliance when they are setting up local contracts with independent providers
- where national contracts are signed with the independent sector to increase capacity in the NHS or social care sector, compliance with the code of practice is a contractual obligation
- any recruitment organisation, agency, or collaboration that wishes to supply health and social care personnel to the NHS, local authorities, social care organisations, or any other UK health and social care provider. These organisations should appear on the ethical recruiters list
- any organisation that is employing or supplying health or social care personnel, on a temporary basis or permanent basis, to be deployed for the provision of a service in health and social care.
NHS Employers organisation
NHS Employers are the employers‘ organisation for the NHS in England. It manages and hosts the ethical recruiters list of recruiting organisations that adhere to the code of practice to help health and social care employers with their selection process. Hosts and updates information about the code of practice and the red and amber country list on its website and undertakes communications activity to promote the code of practice.
Red countries – active recruitment is not permitted
The following listed below countries are on the red list, meaning that active recruitment is not permitted from those countries:
- Burkina Faso
- Central African Republic
- Congo, Democratic Republic of
- Côte d’Ivoire
- Equatorial Guinea
- Gambia, The
- Lao People’s Democratic Republic
- Micronesia, Federated States of
- Papua New Guinea
- Sierra Leone
- Solomon Islands
- South Sudan
- Tanzania, United Republic of
- Yemen, Republic of
Amber countries – government-to-government agreement
Amber countries listed below – international recruitment is only permitted in compliance with the terms of the government-to-government agreement
Any overseas workers who are seeking health and care jobs in the UK to apply for skilled worker health an care visa, should be familiar with the code and understand its implications for their job search. The code provides list of red countries – active recruitment not permitted from those countries.