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Five Benefits of International Nurse Recruitment

Five Benefits of International Nurse Recruitment

The elephant in the room when it comes to international recruitment is that everyone would prefer to recruit domestically if they could – onboarding a nurse trained in the UK is (usually) easier and cheaper than recruiting from overseas.   

However domestic supply has dwindled to a thread and whilst there is current investment in nursing apprenticeship programmes and university places, these have a relatively long lead time – three or four years, and the demand is now. 

International nurse recruitment has a few key benefits that many healthcare employers are starting to capitalise on as sourcing from overseas continues to increase: 


1. Experienced Personnel 

Recruiting internationally offers healthcare employers the opportunities to inject experienced nursing personnel into their organisation within a matter of weeks (typical lead times are usually 8-12 weeks from interview), and though upfront costs are usually not inexpensive (a typical investment is usually between £10,000 and £12,000), depending on how much the employer is spending on Agency staff, the break-even point is usually around the 24 week mark. 


2. Consistent Care 

Permanent international nurses are able to offer a consistent level of care to patients, they are trained for a specific role (unlike Agency staff who tend to be plugged into wherever there is a gap). 


3. Higher Retention Rates 

Interestingly staff retention rates for international nurses tends to be higher than domestic staff. According to data collected by Nuffield (2021), based on data for the year to October 2019, compared with nurses of UK nationality, those from outside the UK or EU (with the largest numbers coming from India and the Philippines) are more likely to remain in the NHS as a whole (93% v. 90%) and in the same organisation (89% v. 84%).  

According to Nuffield, taking the year to October 2019, some 1-in-6 EU nurses left NHS hospital and community services altogether compared to 1-in-10 UK nationals and just 1-in-14 from elsewhere. This pattern has been fairly consistent over the three years covered by the data, though a similar study has not been conducted for private healthcare. 


4. International Nurses work more hours 

Nuffield (2021) also highlighted is that nurses from outside the EU and UK are contracted, on average, to work more hours than those from the UK (97% of a full-time contract v 88%, which equates to a 3-hour difference per week).  



The research found that nurses with nationalities from outside the UK or EU are typically contracted on an almost full-time basis. In October 2020, their average contract was 97% of a full-time contract (typically 36 hours) compared to 93% (35 hours) for those from the EU and 88% for those from the UK (33 hours). This ordering is consistent across age groups. For nurses with UK and EU nationalities, participation is fairly constant around the equivalent to 4.5 days per week before dropping after their mid-50s. Those from the rest of the world are contracted to work about 3 hours more on average rising to about 5 to 7 hours in 50s and 60s. 


5. A more Diverse Workforce 

By integrating international candidates into the workforce, you a promoting a more diverse team dynamic, something that has been proven to enhance enhanced collaboration, learning opportunities and employee retention. 


My Healthcare Recruit supports UK healthcare employers in the public, private, and care sector to find international nurses who are a great fit for their organization, by using market-leading video interviewing tools to connect them to our database of qualified candidates. Our innovative approach makes international candidates easier to find and more cost-effective to source than ever before. Find out more at www.myhealthcarerecruit.com.