Agencies and ethical recruitment Q&A

silouet people

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.

Find out more about the frameworks in our international recruitment toolkit

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 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.

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. 

Why Register?

Great reasons to register with NHS Employers

  • A personalised website
    Manage your profile and select topics of interest to you
  • Access your dashboard
    Bookmark useful content to help you quickly find what you're looking for
  • Get involved
    Contribute to our Talking Points discussions, comment on and rate our webpages
  • Keep up to date
    Receive the latest newsletters and media summaries

Log In