Agencies and ethical recruitment Q&A

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26 / 4 / 2016 Midday

This section answers questions about how to ensure your international recruitment activity is ethical and the use of recruitment agencies.  

Acronym glossary: 

EEA - European Economic Area

Can we actively recruit from India and the Philippines, or are these places classed as developing countries?

Recruitment of healthcare professionals from India is permitted, with the exception of four regions, which are still in receipt of funding from the Department for International Development. These regions are Andhra Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Orissa and West Bengal. Employers or agencies recruiting from countries outside of the EEA are advised to familiarise themselves with procedures and rules imposed by the relevant immigration bodies within that country. In the case of India, this body is the Ministry of Overseas Indian Affairs.

There is a memorandum of understanding between the UK and Philippine governments to enable the UK to recruit registered nurses and other healthcare professionals that are regulated by appropriate professional bodies.

See the list of developing countries to which targeted recruitment campaigns are not permitted.

What does a recruitment agency have to do to get on to the NHS Employers framework / approved list of agencies?

NHS Employers is not responsible for any agency frameworks, and does not recommend or endorse individual agencies.

There are several recognised frameworks for the supply of temporary staff to the NHS, including those provided by the Crown Commercial service, Healthtrust Europe and the London Procurement Partnership. At present these frameworks are for the general use of temporary staff and are not specific to international recruitment.

NHS Employers manages a list of recruitment agencies who follow a code of conduct for ethical international recruitment, which involves a commitment to not complete recruitment activities that could disadvantage the healthcare systems of developing countries.

Employers are urged to use an agency that is on one of the recognised frameworks above and complies with the international code of conduct, as these are seen as indicators that an agency is reputable.

Should we use a third-party recruitment agency, or go it alone?

This is a decision that must be taken by an employer, though in our experience many employers decide to utilise the expertise and international networks an agency can offer.

There is currently no national framework specifically for international recruitment agency services, though we understand this is being looked at by the Crown Commercial Service.

The number of people you are looking to recruit will determine the procurement or tendering exercise you will need to go through locally, and employers are advised to thoroughly plan and scrutinise any formal agreements made with an agency. 

See our guide to planning successful international recruitment campaigns.  

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