UK put Sierra Leone on red list for health workers’ recruitment

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By Alfred Koroma

The United Kingdom has placed Sierra Leone and other Africans and Asians Countries on the red list of countries that it will not be actively targeting for recruitment in health and social care.

A total of 54 countries including Sierra Leone are on the list of countries that health and social care employers in the UK will not be actively targeting for recruitment.

The announcement is based on the 2023 World Health Organisation (WHO) Workforce Support and Safeguard List which placed Sierra Leone among the other 54 countries facing critical health workforce shortages. It is also in line with Code of Practice for International Recruitment that prevents some developing countries from being targeted when actively recruiting health or care professionals.

Sierra Leone and the other countries listed have a UHC Service Coverage Index that is lower than 50 and a density of doctors, nurses and midwives that is below the global median (48.6 per 10,000 population).

So, the UK, in its revised code of practice said the health and social care organisations in England do not actively recruit from those countries the WHO recognises as having the most critical health and care workforce-related challenges unless there is a government-to-government agreement to support managed recruitment activities.

According to the code, active international recruitment is the process by which UK health and social care employers (including local authorities), contracting bodies, recruitment organisations, agencies, collaborations, and sub-contractors target individuals to market UK employment opportunities, with the intention of recruiting to a role in the UK health or social care sector.

It includes both physical or virtual targeting, and whether or not these actions lead to substantive employment. The code of practice applies to the appointment of all international health and social care personnel in the UK, including all permanent, temporary, and locum staff in clinical and non-clinical settings. This includes but is not limited to allied health professionals, care workers, dentists, doctors, healthcare scientists, medical staff, midwives, nursing staff, residential and domiciliary care workers, social workers, and support staff.

But, a country being on the red list does not prevent individual health and social care personnel from independently applying to health and social care employers for employment in the UK, of their own accord and without being targeted by a third party, such as a recruitment agency or employer (known as a direct application).

Here are the  countries placed on the red list of ‘No active recruitment’: Afghanistan, Angola, Bangladesh, Benin, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Chad, Comoros, Congo, Democratic Republic of Congo, Côte d’Ivoire, Djibouti, Equatorial Guinea, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Gabon, The Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Haiti, Kiribati, Lao People’s Democratic Republic, Lesotho, Liberia.

Other countries are Madagascar, Malawi, Mali, Mauritania, Federated States of Micronesia, Mozambique, Niger, Nigeria, Pakistan, Papua New Guinea, Rwanda, Samoa, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Solomon Islands, Somalia, South Sudan, Sudan, United Republic of Tanzania, Timor-Leste, Togo, Tuvalu, Uganda, Vanuatu, Republic of Yemen, Zambia, and Zimbabwe.

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