International recruitment of health and social care personnel: code of practice - March 2023 (revised)

Revision of the Scottish code of practice for the international recruitment of health and social care personnel.

1. Aims and Objectives


1.1 To promote high standards of practice in the ethical international recruitment and employment of health and social care personnel, and ensure all international recruitment is conducted in accordance with internationally agreed principles of transparency and fairness.

1.2 To protect and promote the sustainability of health and care systems through international cooperation, by ensuring there are safeguards and support for countries with the most pressing health and social care workforce challenges.


This Code of Practice has four objectives:

1.3 To set out principles and best practice benchmarks to be adhered to by all employers – public and independent, contracting bodies, recruiting organisations, agencies and collaborations when recruiting international health and social care personnel. This will ensure recruitment is undertaken in an ethical, managed and mutually beneficial way and in line with advice from the World Health Organization (WHO).

1.4 To prevent active recruitment to Scotland from countries on the WHO Health Workforce Support and Safeguards List, 2023 ("the red and amber country list") unless there is a government-to-government agreement, which will support managed recruitment activities that are undertaken strictly in compliance with the terms of that agreement. These countries face the most pressing health workforce challenges related to Universal Health Coverage (UHC). The list of countries can be found at Annex A.

1.5 To set out the Scottish Government's approach to supporting health and care systems and workforce, and efforts to achieve UHC, and the United Nation (UN) Sustainable Development Goals, alongside safeguards on active recruitment from countries with the greatest health workforce vulnerability.

1.6 To provide reassurance to international personnel that employment with the NHS, local authorities and other health and social care organisations, will offer high standards of induction and support while they work in Scotland.



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