Publication - Advice and guidance

Health and social care personnel - international recruitment: code of practice

This Code of Practice sets out the principles and practices for the ethical international recruitment and appointment of all international health and social care personnel in Scotland. This demonstrates Scotland’s commitment to ethical recruitment and protecting the healthcare systems of developing.

Health and social care personnel - international recruitment: code of practice


I am pleased to present to Scottish health and social care employers the revised Scottish Code of Practice for the International Recruitment of Health and Social Care Personnel.

We have all been humbled by the dedication and sacrifices made by health and care workers across the globe during the COVID-19 pandemic. In recognition of these efforts, the World Health Organisation (WHO) has designated 2021 as the "International Year of Health and Care Workers", recognising the critical role of health and care workers in ensuring our health and prosperity. At the same time, the WHO highlights the challenge that healthcare worker migration poses to many lower income countries, weakening already fragile healthcare systems and reducing their ability to respond to crises such as pandemics.

NHS Scotland benefits enormously from the contribution made by healthcare staff from across the world who come to train and work here. But equally, we recognise how important it is to ensure that recruiting staff to our own health and social care services does not disadvantage those same services in lower income countries.

We place great importance on Scotland being a good global citizen. The WHO's Global Code of Practice is the universal ethical framework that links the international recruitment of health workers with the strengthening of health systems. By publishing a Code of Practice that aligns our own recruitment principles and practices with that framework, we are demonstrating Scotland's continuing commitment to ethical recruitment and protecting and supporting the health and care systems of lower income countries.

Jeane Freeman
Cabinet Secretary for Health and Sport