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UK Stops Recruiting Healthcare Workers from Nigeria and 53 Others

Nigeria and 53 other countries have been placed on the UK’s red list of countries that should not be actively targeted for recruitment by health and social care employers.

The announcement was included in England’s revised code of practice for international recruitment of health and social care personnel.

Prior to any recruitment drive, employers, recruitment organizations, agencies, collaborations, and contracting bodies should check the red country list for updates.

Active international recruitment is defined in the code as the process by which UK health and social care employers (including local authorities), contracting bodies, recruitment organizations, agencies, collaborations, and subcontractors target individuals to market UK employment opportunities with the intent of recruiting to a role in the UK health or social care sector. It encompasses both physical and virtual targeting, as well as whether or not these actions result in substantive employment.

The code of practice applies to all international health and social care personnel working in the United Kingdom, including permanent, temporary, and locum staff in clinical and non-clinical settings.

Allied health professionals, care workers, dentists, doctors, healthcare scientists, medical staff, midwives, nursing staff, residential and domiciliary care workers, social workers, and support staff are examples of this.

Remember that in 2021, the United Kingdom suspended the recruitment of healthcare workers from Nigeria and 46 other countries, citing the growing scale of health and social care worker migration from low and lower-middle-income countries as a threat to their nation’s health and social care goals.

On March 8, 2023, the WHO identified Nigeria and 54 other countries as having the most pressing health workforce challenges in relation to universal health coverage.

The red and amber country list, on the other hand, does not prevent individual health and social care personnel living in those countries from applying directly to health and social care employers, but rather from being targeted by a third party, such as a recruitment organization, agency, or recruitment collaboration.

Here are a few scenarios to help anyone in doubt:
Scenario 2
An agency runs a recruitment fair in Niger highlighting opportunities in the UK. Niger is a red list country and should not be actively targeted for recruitment.
The agency does not actually hire anyone. This would still be deemed active recruitment and contravenes the guiding principles within the code of practice.
Scenario 14
A social care provider puts out an advert for a number of staff to fill various specified vacancies within its own nursing homes. The advert is not targeted at any country. The provider receives 60 applications and appoints 3 senior care workers resident in the Philippines – a green list country – and 3 senior care workers resident in Nigeria – a red list country.
In this scenario, the nurses resident in Nigeria made a direct application for the advertised post, meaning they applied independently and on their own behalf.
The advert was not actively targeted at any country and was not managed through a recruitment organisation, agency or collaboration.
Therefore, this activity would not be deemed active recruitment and is not in breach of the code of practice.

According to statistics obtained from the UK General Medical Council, the government body that maintains the official register of medical practitioners, there are currently 11,055 Nigerian-trained doctors in the UK.

After India and Pakistan, Nigeria has the third highest number of foreign doctors working in the UK.

The United Kingdom, on the other hand, stated in its revised code of practice that health and social care organizations in England do not actively recruit from countries identified by the WHO as having the most pressing health and care workforce-related challenges unless there is a government-to-government agreement to support managed recruitment activities.

The countries placed on the red list of ‘No active recruitment’ in alphabetical order 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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