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Standards launched to support international recruitment of social workers

The International Recruitment and Induction Standards aim to ensure international social workers receive the support and training they need to be successful as social workers in the UK.

04/07/23

Standards launched to support international recruitment of social workers

New standards to support international recruitment of social workers in the UK have been launched following attempts to increase the number of practitioners through government schemes.

Launched at the BASW UK Conference last month, the standards are said to have been developed in the context of ‘unprecedented demand’ for social workers in the UK, with recruitment and retention now being one of the biggest pressures on the profession.

Earlier this year, the government made £15 million available over 2023 to 2024 to help support international recruitment within the adult social care sector. While aimed primarily at care staff, the guidance noted that the fund could also support the recruitment and employment of other professionals, such as social workers and occupational therapists. Similarly, the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) released an updated Code of Practice just last year for the international recruitment of health and social care personnel which explicitly mentioned social workers as one of the professions being recruited.

Despite this, survey findings and the sharing of personal stories indicate that the experiences of overseas practitioners coming to the UK have often been challenging, with poor induction and management support. A session by Dr Alvin Kwok, Dr Echo Yeung and Dr Zeno Leung at the conference detailing research into social workers recruited from the UK found similar issues.

The new standards therefore aim to ensure that international social workers have the support, guidance and training they need to provide the best possible support to people they work with.

Produced by BASW Diaspora ‘Special Interest Group’ (SIG) the new standards aim to ensure that international social workers have the support, guidance and training they need for their work, as well as improving retention rates for such workers.

Julia Ross, Chair of BASW UK, said international social workers “bring a wealth of expertise and experience which can be a huge asset to any social work employer”.

“The standards offered by the SIG aim to ensure international social workers receive the support and training they need to be successful as social workers in the UK and to make a positive difference to their employers and the lives of the people with whom they will work.

“BASW is delighted to support this publication alongside people with lived experience of migration to the UK, and we look forward to seeing this framework help both social workers, employers and indeed other professionals for many years to come.”

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