International Recruitment – Getting Started

With getting started, International Recruitment can be successful when you make it your primary focus, you’ll need full support from all teams in all aspects of your organisation to recruit, develop and support overseas recruits. These are the key stages:


You need to see if International Recruitment is right for your organisation, does it suit the needs of the home rather than agency staff and is your home suitable for international recruits to come and work in.


If you haven’t already been approved by the Home Office as a sponsor, you must apply at the earliest possible convenience to avoid any delays in the international recruitment process. Upon applying, you must pay the appropriate Sponsor Licence application fee- which is £536 for a small or charitable sponsor, or £1,476 for medium and large organisations. This process can take up to 8 weeks.


You can either recruit directly or through a recruitment agency. Hiring a recruitment agency can mean they interview, draft applicants and advertise the jobs for you. This whole process should take 4-6 weeks.

Assign Certificates of Sponsorship (CoS)

Providers must assign a certificate of sponsorship to everyone they hire; this allows each candidate to apply for their visa to work in the UK. This can take up to 8 weeks.


Once an overseas recruit is ready to come to the UK, providers can decide whether they want to provide them with accommodation. This can be in one of the care homes or in shared accommodation provided by the provider. Of course, accommodation would only be short term. Providers can also provide bank cards with an initial sum of money to get them started or pay for their flights into the UK.

Continued Pastoral Support

Once an overseas recruit has arrived in the UK, another key job is to make sure their transition to life in the UK is as easy as possible. For example: providing transport into the homes or allowing them to take part in buddy schemes to help them get to know members of the team better.


Sponsorship Licences :
As mentioned before it’s £536 for a small or charitable sponsor, or £1,476 for medium and large organisations.

Certificate of Sponsorship: £239.

Immigration Skills Charge:
For small or charitable organisations it’s £364 for first 12 months £182 for each additional 6 months E.g. 5 year visa – £1,820. For large organisations it’s £1,000 for first 12 months £500 for each additional 6 months E.g. 5 year visa – £5,000.

*Optional Costs*:
Sponsorship licence priority services which comes at £500.  Agency fees, if you do decide to use a recruitment agency which can cost up to £2,500 (important to note hiring directly costs on average £2,090) and flights, which of course vary, budget up to £600.

Budget up to £1,000.

English Language Exam
An average cost is £180.

Support Costs:
£1,270 – proof that funds are available is required, rather than a requirement that this is spent. Home Office requirements state that candidates must be able to prove they have enough money in their bank accounts to support themselves upon arrival in the UK. The money must be available for 28 days in a row, with day 28 being within 31 days of applying. Candidates are exempt from proving this if their employer can cover the cost for them.

Application Fee:
Migrant pays £247 upfront for a visa less than 3 years, plus £247 extra for each partner/dependant. Migrant pays £479 upfront for a visa more than 3 years, plus £479 extra for each partner/dependant. (Employers may choose to cover the cost).

Building a Business Case

It may be in your interest, that your organisation develops a business plan to recruit international staff. Below are some tips about what you may wish to include:

  • State your supply issues, your overall workforce supply and how you anticipate international recruitment will support your organisation.
  • The number of employees needed in certain job categories with specific skills
  • The people who will be involved from within your organisation – HR, supervisory and pastoral.
  • The upfront costs and investment analysis. How you are going to coordinate and manage the activity you create for yourselves your delivery model.
  • What your relocation package will be. The type of pastoral and professional support you will put in place – pre-employment, induction and beyond.
  • How you will ensure ethical practices. How you will engage with your current staff to build support and help the integration of new staff.
  • How you plan to evaluate your campaign, to inform further international recruitment.
  • Who will help prepare your existing colleagues.

In the planning stage it is important to consider the people you’ll need to coordinate activity from within the organisation. This may include recruitment and administration, HR professional support, educational and pastoral support and any contract management.

It is important to think about long term activity within the organisation too. Providing professional and pastoral support is key, as not doing so can impact the retention of international recruits in a negative way. The management of ongoing immigration sponsorship requirements, including visa renewals and Right to Work, are also important to factor into longer-term activity.

You should also start to plan how you will evaluate the success of your international recruitment strategy.

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