International Recruitment

International recruitment of adult care workers is gathering pace in Cornwall and over 50 care businesses operating in the county have now applied to become sponsors. Workers can apply to come to the UK to work under a Health and Care Worker Visa provided they meet the visa eligibility requirements and the employer holds a valid sponsorship licence.

International recruitment is an effective way to enhance and diversify your workforce. However, is not straightforward. Complying with the ethical recruitment framework, understanding the sponsorship arrangements, offering effective induction and support with integration can be challenging. DHSC have now published the Toolkit for International Recruitment for Adult Social Care Providers. This page also brings together some of the other available information which can help to guide you through the process.

Resident talking to care worker

How do I apply for a licence?

Skills for Care and DHSC have created some useful guidance to help you understand the process of gaining your licence and using the Sponsorship Management System (SMS)

Diagram of international recruitment porcess

What is the process?

Skills for Care recently ran a webinar to provide clarity on the process of international recruitment and also covered the requirements of both the Health and Care Worker visa and the Skilled Worker visa.

You can view the slides or watch a recording.

How much does it cost?

The fee to obtain your licence is dependent on the type of licence you are applying for and the size of your business. It will either be £536 or £1476.

You must assign each employee a Certificate of Sponsorship (CoS) at a cost of £239 each. There is also an immigration skills charge per employee of either £364 or £1,000 (for 12 months) depending on the size of your business.

If you use a recruitment agency to find staff overseas, there will be additional costs associated with this.

Can I sponsor workers already in the UK?

Yes. There are two types of Certificates of Sponsorship – defined and undefined. Defined is to sponsor individuals who are currently overseas, whereas Undefined is for international workers already in the UK who are looking to change sponsor.

The cost of a CoS is the same for Defined and Undefined certificates.

Can I employ an international worker without a licence?

Sponsored employees must work full time with their sponsor to meet their visa requirements. However, they are allowed to have a second job for a maximum of 20 hours a week with a secondary employer. Care providers who don’t hold a sponsorship licence can employ these individuals part time.

International students are also allowed to work 20 hours per week without needing sponsorship.

Internationals who are in the UK on a Dependants visa are permitted to work full time without needing an employer to sponsor them.

Individuals on a Graduate Visa can also work full-time without needing a sponsor.

What support is available in the community for international staff?

Rice and Peas, Black Voices Cornwall and Inspiring Women Network are all Voluntary Sector organisations in Cornwall able to support with inclusion, wellbeing and networking.

The charity, Unseen, have a national Helpline available to report any welfare concerns. You can call the number 08000 121 700 or visit their website.

There is also guidance on the Government website on Modern slavery: how to identify and support victims – GOV.UK (