Here you will find information and resources specific to the South East of England, designed to help you overcome the barriers to international recruitment while upholding ethical practices.
Here to support our providers
The Government is committed to helping providers make more effective use of international recruitment to help grow the adult social care workforce alongside wider action to improve domestic recruitment and retention.
We recognise that many providers find international recruitment difficult and experience various barriers, including administrative complexity and cost, together with issues around pastoral support, housing and travel. Our International Recruitment Hub contains guidance and resources, as well as signposting to support services, to help our providers overcome these barriers, whilst upholding an ethical approach.
It has been commissioned as part of the Department of Health and Social Care International Recruitment Funding initiative and produced by SESCA, in collaboration with the Association of Directors of Adult Social Care (ADASS). We would like to give special thanks to the contributors from across the sector involved in developing it.
The immigration system is constantly changing, and although our Hub is updated from time to time, the GOV.UK website provides official, up to date guidance.
International Recruitment Hub last updated: November 2023
Is international recruitment for you?
Recruiting from overseas is an effective way to strengthen your workforce, but it is not a quick fix. The Government supports overseas recruitment and has added care roles to the Skilled Worker Visa.
Overseas recruitment isn’t for everyone. It’s a serious commitment with significant responsibilities on you, the employer. However, most say the benefits outweigh the challenges, cost and effort involved.
Take a look at the steps below to find out whether you are ready to get started.
Do you have…
- permanent vacancies for roles that pay in line with minimum requirements? (i.e. £20,960 or £10.75 per hour, based on a 37.5 hour week)
- capacity to support the whole process?
- dedicated people in your organisation who will take responsibility for the end-to-end process?
- a long-term workforce plan?
NOTE: Costs correct at 4th October 2023
Overall cost and timescales
The overall cost to recruit from overseas varies considerably, depending on your organisation size, whether you engage a solicitor and / or recruitment agency, and how much of the extra costs you cover (flights, accommodation, etc.).
As a guide, you can expect to pay around £5,000 – 6,000 per person, although this can be considerably more.
Employer Sponsor Licence
Costs vary depending on size of business: £536 for organisation employing less than 50 people, with assets under £5m; £1,476 for larger organisations. Licence must be renewed every 4-years.
£536 / £1,476 (paid every 4-years)
Certificate of Sponsorship
Before worker can apply for Visa, employer must assign a Certificate of Sponsorship.
Health & Care Worker Visa Application
Cost varies depending on whether worker obtains a 3 or 5-year Visa.
£247 (up to 3 years) / £479 (up to 5 years)
Immigration Skills Charge
Either £364 (smaller companies and charities) or £1,000 (large companies) per sponsored worker per year.
£364 / £1,000 per worker, per year
English Language Test Fee
Charge by International English Language Testing System (IELTS), or Occupational English Test (OET) to administer standard English Language Test.
Health Medical / Immunisations
A health check must be undertaken to confirm the worker is in good health and not a carrier of infectious diseases such as TB.
Flight & Transport to Accommodation
The physical relocation of the candidate to the UK.
1st Month’s Accommodation
It is common that employers provide at least the first month’s accommodation as part of the relocation package.
Depending on source country there may other processing fees. Other costs may include airport meet and greet, or training to prepare for English test.
TOTAL ESTIMATED COST
£3,000 – £5,000
Additional Costs for Overseas Nurses
NMC Application Fee
Levied by the NMC when nurse applies to the UK NMC register.
CBT Exam Fee
Part 1 of the NMC Assessment is a Computer Based Test which examines the nurse’s professional standards.
OSCE Exam Fee
Practical part 2 of NMC Assessment undertaken in the UK.
NMC Registration Fee
Levied by NMC when nurse registers for their PIN.
OCSE preparation training. Accommodation and travel to test centre.
TOTAL ESTIMATED COST
The process takes around six months from applying to become a sponsor, to your first overseas worker commencing employment. Once you’re set up as a sponsor, it will become quicker for subsequent recruits.
What are the benefits?
It’s important that you understand the ongoing compliance duties under the sponsorship licence.
UKVI conduct unannounced site audits and an organisation found to be falling short
of the required standards may face enforcement action.
Compliance responsibilities continue throughout the lifetime of the Sponsorship Licence,
and there are strict deadlines for reporting via the SMS.
You will need to ensure that you have the right personnel, HR systems, and processes in place to handle this.
The main compliance duties include:
International recruitment requires ongoing compliance with legal requirements. Although the process does not require legal expertise, using a legal advisor should ensure you get things right first time.
Our Legal Support section includes a guide on how to select a legal advisor, together with a directory of some of the advisors our members are using.
We’ve also linked up with leading immigration specialists who provide regular updates to our Legal Bulletins.
All UK health and social care employer organisations must commit to recruiting ethically through adhering to the Code of Practice for International Recruitment, which implements the World Health Organization’s (WHO) Global Code of Practice.
The Code promotes high standards of ethical practice in the recruitment of overseas healthcare workers, whilst protecting countries with the most pressing health workforce challenges.
Our Recruitment Support section outlines the key principles of the Code, together with a guide on how to select an ethical recruitment agency.
We also touch upon Modern Slavery, providing links to key resources that will help you to understand, identify, monitor and mitigate against the growing risks in this area.
Given the challenges and resources involved in obtaining a sponsor licence and the recruitment process, prioritising the onboarding of overseas care workers is essential for ensuring their successful long-term retention. There are two key areas of onboarding:
Pastoral Support – focuses on helping new recruits settle into their new home and community and supports their emotional wellbeing.
Professional Support – includes workplace induction, training, and mentoring.
Find out more in our Onboarding support section.
Hiring International Students
International students provide another valuable source of overseas talent. Recruiting students can be less expensive and more straightforward, given that they are already established in the UK, may have accommodation, and are exempt from the immigration skills charge.
Find out more in our International students section, including work limits, eligibility criteria, and post-graduation routes for successful recruitment.
Where can I find more information?
Definitive, real-time guidance and regulatory information from the Department of Health, including the Code of practice for the international recruitment of health and social care personnel in England and the Health and Care Worker Visa application process.