International Recruitment – Working in the UK

This guide is for individuals who are planning to move to the UK from overseas and work in health and social care. Moving to the UK can be a difficult process for many different reasons, including: visas, cultural differences, the cost of living crisis and personal reasons, like moving away from your family. This guide sets out to make your transition to the South-West of England as smooth as possible.

The health and social care system in the UK is made up of care providers that provide personal care and support to adults who are at risk. This includes care funded privately by individuals and social care funded by local authorities. Most social care services are delivered by for-profit independent sector home and residential care providers.

It is important to note that some roles do not require registration with a regulatory body, these include: senior care workers and care workers. If you experience any issues, please speak to a senior member of staff or the registered manager at your organisation.

Your first few weeks at work - what to expect

Every organisation will have different ways of helping you to settle in. They will also have different timescales when helping you on board, but here is what to expect in the first few weeks:

  • To complete your employer’s induction process which will include mandatory training that will be specific to your role.
  • Guidance on social adaptation in the social care sector and the working, social and cultural differences.
  • Guidance on heavily used terms and dialect (heavily used terms in the workplace could also be part of the training process).
  • Professional or specific training.
  • Buddy schemes or peer support arrangements, hopefully with previously recruited overseas staff.
  • To join a staff support group or support network.
Discrimination in the Workplace

Under the Equality Act 2010, it is unlawful for employers to treat workers less favourably than others on account of protected characteristics (for example, age, race, religion or sexual orientation). It is illegal for an employer to give discriminatory terms of employment, deny promotion, training or withhold benefits, facilities, or services on the grounds of the listed protected characteristics. 

 Workers are protected at all stages of employment, including recruitment and dismissal, against both direct discrimination and indirect discrimination. Discrimination can take many different forms. Discriminatory behaviour might include:

  • being shouted at
  • not being allowed to wear religious dress
  • not providing reasonable adjustments
  • teasing ‘jokes’ and ‘banter’ about a protected characteristic including offensive tweets, text messages, social media entries and screen savers
  • stereotyping family or personal circumstances
  • unwanted touching
  • being denied certain benefits or overlooked for promotion or training because of a protected characteristic
  • being bullied
Dealing with discrimination

Whether it is from colleagues or a service user, your employer is responsible for dealing with all discrimination. Employers should have an equal opportunities policy in place, as well as a policy on anti-bullying and harassment. Your employer must use a zero-tolerance approach to all forms of discrimination and harassment in the workplace. If you’re experiencing discrimination, you should refer to your employer’s equality and diversity policy for guidance on how to escalate your concerns. You should also consider the following actions:

  • Keep a record of the behaviour you found offensive or unfair, who did it, when and where it took place, as well as the efforts you make to get the behaviour to stop and what effect it had
  • If appropriate, speak to your line manager about your concerns, explain what is happening and ask them to tell somebody in charge – keep a record of your complaint
  • You can contact the Equality Advisory Support Service for information and advice about discrimination and human rights issues
  • Alternatively, you can get advice about your situation from the Arbitration and Conciliation Service (Acas)
  • Read the Equality and Human Rights Commission guidanceon dealing with discrimination in employment
Modern Slavery

Modern slavery is defined as ‘when an individual is exploited by others, for personal or commercial gain. Whether tricked, coerced, or forced, they lose their freedom’. International recruits may unknowingly be subject to modern slavery as they may not be fully aware of their rights in the workplace. It is important for you to be aware of your rights and to know the signs of exploitation.

Signs that you could be a victim of modern slavery include:

  • Working excessive hours and rarely having time off
  • Being paid less than the national minimum wage
  • Being malnourished and tired
  • Wearing unsuitable clothes for work or weather

What to do when you think you’re being exploited:

  • Be aware of the signs of exploitation. These might include being forced to work under poor conditions, working excessively long hours over prolonged periods with no breaks or time off and for little or no payment.
  • Report concerns about pay, work rights, employment agencies, or working hours by calling Acas on (+44) 0300 123 1100 or completing the government’s online form to complain about pay and work rights
  • Report concerns about exploitation to the Gangmasters and Labour Abuse Authority via their website, or by phoning (+44) 0800 432 0804 or emailing
  • Do not tolerate exploitation. You may feel threatened and vulnerable, but there are organisations to help people in your situation. Ring the UK modern slavery and exploitation helpline – it’s open 24 hours a day on (+44) 08000 121 700.

Thank you for uploading the document to the South West Councils website