The Code of Practice for International Recruitment states that some developing countries should not be targeted when actively recruiting health or care professionals.
This country list below is based upon the World Health Organisation Health (WHO) Workforce Support and Safeguard List, 2023 and will be updated alongside scheduled progress reports on WHO Global Code implementation and reported to the World Health Assembly every three years.
The countries listed have a UHC Service Coverage Index that is lower than 50 and a density of doctors, nurses and midwives that is below the global median (48.6 per 10,000 population).
The list doesn’t prevent individual health and social care personnel from independently applying to health and social care employers for employment in the UK, of their own accord and without being targeted by a third party, such as a recruitment agency or employer (known as a direct application).
Red List Countries
|Central African Republic
|Congo, Democratic Republic of
|Micronesia, Federated States of
|Papua New Guinea
|Tanzania, United Republic of
|Yemen, Republic of
Amber List Countries
Kenya: As of 11 November 2021, the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) has announced that Kenya has been added to the amber list of countries in the Code of Practice for the International Recruitment of Health and Social Care Personnel in England.
This means employers and recruitment agencies, including NHS trusts, must stop all active recruitment of health and social care personnel from Kenya to the UK with immediate effect. Please read this news article for more information.
Nepal: As of 22 August 2022, DHSC has announced that the governments of Nepal and of the United Kingdom have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) on the managed and ethical recruitment of Nepalese healthcare workers to the UK as part of a trail.
The MOU will enable the managed recruitment of Nepalese healthcare workers to a single NHS trust, Hampshire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust. It has been signed on the basis that the active recruitment of health and care workers from Nepal will begin with an initial pilot phase lasting approximately 15 months.
Nepal is currently on the red list of countries according to the Code of Practice. The Code of Practice for the ethical international recruitment of health and social care personnel bans active recruitment from countries with the greatest workforce shortages unless there is a government-to-government agreement in place.
This is the first health worker recruitment agreement signed with a country on the WHO Health Workforce Support and Safeguards List 2020. Therefore, it is important to ensure the MOU helps manage health worker migration and is beneficial to the health worker and Nepal, as well as the NHS.
For other health or social care employers (including NHS trusts, private providers, social care organisations, or local authorities) or organisations on the Ethical Recruiters List, the MOU does not allow active recruitment from Nepal.
Therefore, any active recruitment from Nepal operating outside of the terms of the MOU would be deemed a breach of the Code of Practice.
Below is a list of government-to-government agreements for the Code of Practice:
- Kenya - NOTE: as Kenya is on the Amber list, no active recruitment should take place outside of the conditions of the MoU
- Nepal - NOTE: as Nepal is on the Amber list, no active recruitment should take place outside of the conditions of the MoU
- Malaysia (currently on the green list)
- Philippines (currently on the green list)
- India (currently on the green list)
- Sri Lanka (currently on the green list).