Last reviewed 2 March 2021

The UK has updated its Code of Practice (CoP) for the international recruitment of health and social care staff to align with the World Health Organisation (WHO) guidelines.

The new CoP hopes to help provide increasing numbers of international staff with the opportunity to come and work in the UK’s health and social care sectors.

The Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) said this will help to meet the UK’s target of delivering 50,000 more nurses by 2024.

The CoP sets out how the UK can work collaboratively with governments from around the world, forming partnerships to benefit health and social care workers, their country of origin, and the UK. It outlines the principles and best practice benchmarks that health and social care employers and recruitment agencies must follow to ensure effective, ethical international recruitment.

It also sets out the UK’s approach to supporting health and social care systems and workforce, alongside safeguards on active recruitment from countries with “the most pressing universal health coverage related health and social care workforce needs”.

The CoP refers to the WHO Health Workforce Support and Safeguard List of countries that must not be actively targeted by health or social care recruiters unless there is a government-to-government agreement in place to allow managed recruitment on the terms of the agreement.

Care Minister Helen Whateley said international recruitment was one part of the Long Term Plan to ensure the NHS has the staff it needs, and the new CoP will help to achieve “a sustainable health and social care workforce to meet the UK’s needs”.

She added that a homegrown supply of health and social care staff is also increasing through a range of measures including more training, retaining more staff and encouraging those who have left to return.

The Code of Practice for the International Recruitment of Health and Social Care Personnel in England is available here.