International recruitment

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Recruitment from outside of the UK has made a valuable contribution in the NHS over the years and continues to feature as an important part of the workforce supply strategy of NHS organisations, in line with the NHS People Plan.

Over recent years the Home Office has introduced a number of changes to the immigration system governing the way individuals from outside the European Economic Area (EEA) and Switzerland can work, train or study in the UK. The UK's transition out of the EU has since led to the introduction of a new points-based immigration system which from 1 January 2021, controls all non-UK (excluding the Republic of Ireland) migration. Find out more in our new points-based immigration system section.

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The new points based immigration system

The new points-based immigration system has in part been phased in and officially launched on 1 January 2021. This section explains the new system, eligibility criteria and next steps.

Restarting international recruitment

Continuing international recruitment during COVID-19

COVID-19 can affect overseas travel, but as international recruitment continues here we describe some key recruitment approaches.

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Code of Practice for international recruitment

Ensuring ethical international recruitment practices operate within health and care through adherence to the WHO Code of Practice. 

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Employing EEA nationals

Employing EEA nationals from the European Economic Area now falls under the new points-based immigration system.

International recruitment

Preparing for the new points-based immigration system and securing EU citizen rights webinar

Here you can access FAQs and watch the recording of the webinar with the Home Office where we discussed the new points-based immigration system, what this means for the overseas recruitment, and the latest resources available and information on the EU settlement scheme.

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Immigration and international recruitment - Q&As

Get answers to your questions about immigration rules and avoiding discrimination.

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English Language Requirements

Find the latest information on IELTS and OET for international healthcare recruitment and compare these tools against your recruitment needs.

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International recruitment toolkit

We have produced an international recruitment toolkit designed to support NHS staff who are leading and delivering international recruitment. It aims to encourage and enable good practices and processes for the recruitment of staff across a wide range of professions.


The old points-based immigration system

This points-based immigration system regulated the number of individuals from outside the European Economic Area (EEA) and Switzerland wishing to work, train or study in the UK up until 31 December 2020.

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Shortage occupation list

An official list of occupations for which there are not enough resident workers to fill vacancies.

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Preventing illegal working

A summary of the legal requirements for employers to prevent illegal working.

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