This Guide is country-specific and supports care service providers with the knowledge on how to recruit migrants for care jobs.

 This guide was developed in 2020. Laws and procedures may undergo changes in the future so it is important to review some steps of the guide and verify the procedures with the responsible au-thority.

Profile of Migrant Workers in Health and Social Care

The typical migrant worker profile in Health and Social Care is Easter European, namely Polish, Lithuanian and Romanian. This has largely been due to the expansion of the EEA in the early 2000s which enabled employers in the UK to freely recruit staff from EEA countries without the need for sponsorship/ Visa requirements.

Health and Social Care Law

There are numerous pieces of legislation which aims to safeguard Health and Social Care services in the UK. It should be noted that some legislation may varying according to the part of the UK you are working in i.e. England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. Legislation is focused on core themes including:
• Health and Safety
• Safeguarding
• Equality and Inclusion
• Human Rights
• Data Protection and Confidentiality.

European Union Workers

Individuals are eligible to work in the UK and do not need to obtain a work permit if any of the fol-lowing apply:
• You are a British citizen
• You are an European Economic Area (EEA) citizen – see list below
• You are a Swiss national

EEA countries: Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithua-nia, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden and the UK.

Individuals will also need to apply for a UK residence card or be able to prove their right to work in the UK as an EU citizen (for example, a valid UK National Insurance number).

Non-European Union Workers

If one of the parameters above does not apply, or the individual is not from one of the countries listed, they will need to obtain a visa and/ or work permit before finding employment in the UK.

What if the individual does not have the right to work in the UK?

If one of the parameters above does not apply, or the individual is not from one of the countries listed, they will need to obtain a visa and/ or work permit before finding employment in the UK.


Individuals should be able to apply for a visa via a British Overseas Mission in their own country, or the British Embassy. For more information specific to each country, please visit
For a full list of visas available, and to check if there is a need for a UK visa, please visit:

It is important to remember that having a visa does not necessarily mean the individual will auto-matically able to work in the UK, and they may also need a work permit in order to begin working.

Work permit

If the individual has already found a job in the UK and been accepted to work, or they have a visa but it prohibits them from working, they may need to obtain a work permit.
Individuals cannot apply for a work permit directly. Their employer in the UK will need to apply on their behalf. The length of their permit will depend on the type of work they do and the sort of per-mit granted.

Does the individual need to be sponsored to apply for a visa?

In order to apply for most work visas, individuals usually need to gain a job offer with sponsorship from an employer in the UK first.

However, they can apply for a Tier 5 (Youth Mobility Scheme) visa without sponsorship if the fol-lowing applies:
• Want to live and work in the UK for up to 2 years
• Are 18 to 30 years old
• Have £1,890 in savings
• Have certain types of British Nationality or are from certain countries (Australia, Canada, Japan, Monaco, New Zealand, Hong Kong, Republic of Korea and Taiwan)
• Meet the other eligibility requirements
(aged 18 to 30 and a: British overseas citizen; British overseas territories citizen; or British national (overseas)).

It should be noted that the above information is correct as of the date November 2019. The United Kingdom are currently undergoing Brexit negotiations which may have a marked impact on em-ployment procedures for European Union workers.

Recognition of Qualifications/ Certificates

Some qualifications and certificates from migrant workers are accepted by Health and Social Care organisations provided equivalency can be proven. This can be challenging as taught practices, leg-islation and processes often differ from country to country. Non-accredited mandatory training spe-cific to each organisation is require for example, first aid, moving and handling, safeguarding and infection control. However, these tend to be half/ full day awareness raising session and often using local and Health and Social Care terminologies. This may lead to confusion and lack of under-standing for migrant workers whose first language is not English and also does not afford them pro-tected time to really digest and embed learning of often new and complex concepts.


Terms of living and indeed working in the UK following Brexit have yet to be confirmed. Negotia-tions are currently at a stalemate regarding trade which has somewhat diverted from staffing of Health and Social Care. It is largely recognised that in the UK Health and Social Care is dependent on European migrant workers and a range of lobbying and negotiation activities are currently being undertaken to ensure continued European migrant workers within Health and Social Care in the UK.