Government offering £15 million
to support international
recruitment in the adult
social care sector

The Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) has confirmed that it is making £15 million of funding available over 2023 and 2024 to help support international recruitment in England’s adult social care sector.

The government has stated its commitment to helping employers make more effective use of international recruitment to help grow the adult social care workforce, alongside wider action to improve domestic recruitment and retention.

In February 2022, changes to the Immigration Rules were introduced to include carers and home carers on the Shortage Occupation List (SOL) and make these roles eligible for sponsorship under the Health and Care Worker visa route.

These changes have enabled employers to recruit care workers from overseas into a wider range of roles than before, helping to reduce pressures on the sector by opening up the potential to fill thousands of vacancies.

However, the government recognises that many care providers face various barriers which prevent them from fully embracing the benefits of international recruitment. The international recruitment fund for the adult social care sector aims to address and overcome some of these barriers, and will provide employers and international recruits with a range of support mechanisms.

Why is an international recruitment fund being introduced?

This fund is being established to enable a support offer to be set up at regional or sub-regional level which can be made available to all providers within the area.

The DHSC has worked with the adult social care sector to identify some of the main barriers to international recruitment. These include administrative complexity and costs but also challenges with issues like pastoral support, housing and travel.

The aim of the fund is to promote collaborative arrangements which reduce the administrative burden, particularly on smaller providers.

The DHSC will be using a section 31 mechanism to pay the grant which means that applicants must identify a lead local authority able to receive the grant on behalf of their partnership of local authorities and care alliances and providers.

What will the funding be used for?

The funding may offer providers help in various areas relating to international recruitment, including help with identifying overseas candidates, completing sponsorship licence and visa applications, onboarding and ongoing support for international employees.

Specific examples of how the funding could be deployed include:

  • Providing an advice or checking service for sponsorship licence or visa applications and pre-employment checks.
  • Developing a shared recruitment resource that addresses the needs of the whole region.
  • Helping new arrivals to access affordable housing.
  • Helping international recruits with solutions to work travel requirements, for example, helping them gain a UK driving licence.
  • Developing pastoral support such as buddying schemes and training opportunities.

Support with recruiting care workers from overseas

This significant new funding offer shows a commitment from the government to increasing the number of overseas nationals arriving in the UK to work in our adult social care sector. With vacancies in the sector still running at a record high, there has never been a better time to prepare your business for international recruitment by applying for a sponsor licence.

Many employers in the care sector are already reaping the benefits of sponsorship after successfully obtaining a licence, and the number is set to grow as more support is rolled out. If your business is ready to begin its sponsorship journey but you’re not sure where to start, seeking advice from a qualified immigration advisor is strongly recommended.

Smith Stone Walters has worked with a range of organisations in the care sector to help them obtain a sponsor licence and begin recruiting qualified healthcare professionals under the Health and Care Worker visa route. To find out more about how we can help your business, please contact us today.

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