United Kingdom government has listed Nigeria as one of the countries that should not be actively targeted for recruitment by health and social care employers.
Gatekeepers News reports that the UK announced this in its updated ‘Code of Practice’ for the international recruitment of health and social care personnel.
This comes after Nigeria was added to the red list of WHO Health Workforce Support and Safeguards List 2023.
In March, the WHO published the safeguards list comprising 55 countries — including Nigeria — struggling with a shortage of health workers.
According to the UK government, Nigeria and other countries on the red list should be prioritised for health personnel development and health system-related support as well as provided with safeguards that discourage active international recruitment of their workers.
The updated code of practice read, “Countries on the red list must not be targeted for international recruitment, unless there is a government-to-government agreement negotiated and signed by the DHSC on behalf of the UK government and recruitment is consistent with the provisions of the agreement. Where recruitment is restricted solely to the terms of the government-to-government agreement, the country will appear on the amber list. Such agreements can be designed to help regulate or mitigate against any negative impacts of health or care migrant flows to the UK. All agreements will take WHO guidance on the development of bilateral agreements into account.”
It added, “This does not prevent individual health and social care personnel resident in countries on the red and amber country list from making a direct application on their own behalf to a health and social care employer without using a third party, such as a recruitment organisation, agency or collaboration.”
This indicated the list does not prevent individual health and social care personnel in the red list countries from “independently” applying for employment in the country — “without being targeted by a recruitment agency or employer”.
The code of practice further stated that “ethical recruitment is determined by the country from which the individual is resident in, rather than the nationality of the individual or their original country of training”.
This means that if a health worker is a national of a red-list country but does not reside there or in another red-list country, the restrictions do not apply.
The UK added that if a government-to-government agreement is put in place between a partner country, which restricts recruiting organisations to the terms of the agreement, the country can be added to the amber list.
Meanwhile, countries that are not on either the red or amber lists are to be considered ‘green’ countries, and active recruitment is permitted where there is a government-to-government agreement with the UK in place.