UK Stops Recruiting Healthcare Workers From Nigeria, 53 Other Countries

The United Kingdom has listed Nigeria as one of the countries that should not be actively targeted for recruitment by health and social care employers.

The UK made the change in its updated ‘Code of Practice’ for the international recruitment of health and social care personnel.

The red list where Nigeria is now placed is gotten from the World Health Organisation, WHO, health workforce support and safeguard list.

The WHO had in March published the safeguards list consisting of 55 countries, including Nigeria, that are facing a shortage of health workers.


According to the UK government, Nigeria and other affected countries should be targeted for health personnel development and health system-related support as well as provided with safeguards that dissuade active international recruitment of their health workers.

The code of practice reads, “Countries on the list should not be actively targeted for recruitment by health and social care employers, recruitment organisations, agencies, collaborations, or contracting bodies unless there is a government-to-government agreement in place to allow managed recruitment undertaken strictly in compliance with the terms of that agreement.”

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However, the UK added that the list does not prevent individual health workers 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 also states 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 also said 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.

Among the other countries on the list are Kenya and Nepal.

Obiajulu Joel Nwolu

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