UK revises policy on recruitment of health care workers

UK has in a recent development has revised its policy on the creation of employment opportunities for health workers from overseas.

The code of practice for the international recruitment of health and social care personnel in England, recently updated, has Nigeria returned to the red list countries, which means, “no active recruitment is permitted”.

Apart from Nigeria, the UK also placed 53 other countries on the red list of countries that should not be actively targeted for recruitment by health and social care employers.

It is recommended that employers, recruitment organisations, agencies, collaborations, and contracting bodies check the red country list for updates before any recruitment drive.

According to the code, Active international recruitment is defined as the process by which UK health and social care employers (including local authorities), contracting bodies, recruitment organizations, 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.

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, dentists, doctors, healthcare scientists, medical staff, midwives, nursing staff, residential and domiciliary care workers, social workers, and support staff.

UK in 2021, suspended the recruitment of healthcare workers from Nigeria and 46 other countries, noting that the increasing scale of health and social care worker migration from low and lower-middle-income countries threatens the achievement of their nation’s health and social care goals.

The World Health Organisation on March 8, 2023, listed Nigeria and 54 other countries as facing the most pressing health workforce challenges related to universal health coverage.

The countries placed on the UK’s red list of ‘No active recruitment’ are:

  • Afghanistan,
  • Angola,
  • Bangladesh,
  • Benin,
  • Burkina Faso,
  • Burundi,
  • Cameroon,
  • Central African Republic,
  • Chad, Comoros,
  • Congo,
  • Democratic Republic of Congo,
  • Côte d’Ivoire,
  • Djibouti,
  • Equatorial Guinea,
  • Eritrea,
  • Ethiopia,
  • Gabon,
  • The Gambia,
  • Ghana,
  • Guinea,
  • Guinea-Bissau,
  • Haiti,
  • Kiribati,
  • Lao People’s Democratic Republic,
  • Lesotho,
  • Liberia.

Other countries are :

  • Madagascar,
  • Malawi,
  • Mali,
  • Mauritania,
  • Federated States of Micronesia,
  • Mozambique,
  • Niger,
  • Nigeria,
  • Pakistan,
  • Papua New Guinea,
  • Rwanda,
  • Samoa,
  • Senegal,
  • Sierra Leone,
  • Solomon Islands,
  • Somalia,
  • South Sudan,
  • Sudan,
  • United Republic of Tanzania,
  • Timor-Leste,
  • Togo,
  • Tuvalu,
  • Uganda,
  • Vanuatu,
  • Republic of Yemen,
  • Zambia, and Zimbabwe.

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