Factors to Consider when Appointing an International Nurse Recruitment Agency

Factors to Consider when Appointing an International Nurse Recruitment Agency

Given the increasing prevalence and need of international recruitment, we have seen a significant increase in the number of international recruitment agencies in the market. With this in mind, it can be challenging to know which suppliers are reputable. 


  • Refer to the NHS Employers’ Toolkit for International Recruitment – even private companies can benefit from some of the best practice shared in this user-friendly guide 
  • Check if the organisation is on any NHS Procurement Frameworks such as Health Trust Europe or the Workforce Alliance. This can be helpful to know even if you aren’t an NHS organisation because the Compliance, Financial and Experience thresholds to get onto these frameworks is often high and therefore an indicator of organisational stability 
  • Do your research – how long has the company been around on Companies House? Are they liquid and profitable? 
  • Can they provide you with other customer testimonials – from employers both large and small? 
  • If you are new to international recruitment, do they have experience working with companies who do not already have established international recruitment ways of working (e.g. can they provide support with international nurse offers) 
  • If you want to recruit from the Philippines, do they already have an affiliation with the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA)? 
  • Are they only able to provide you with English Language Passed candidates? (History tells us that conversion rates for non-English Language passed candidates is extremely low and conversion time can be incredibly long). 
  • Check if they’re signed up to the International Recruitment Code of Practice (there’s a register you can check directly) 
  • Ask them if they charge the candidates any fees in regard to their recruitment – this is unethical and not aligned with WHO guidance, yet there are still a good number of agencies who do this 
  • Has the company been reviewed on Trust Pilot or Glassdoor by their candidates and is the result positive? A candidate’s experience of an agency tells you a lot 


It isn’t uncommon for employers to use more than one international recruitment agency so that they’re not putting all their “eggs in one basket”. However standardising processes across agencies can sometimes be a challenge and ensuring candidates have a similar employee experience is important. Asking agencies what their processes are for reporting candidate progress and managing communications can be very helpful. 


Many agencies are offering “value-add” services now which can be helpful depending on how much in-house resource a healthcare organisation has. These services could include (but are not limited to): 

  • Support with the immigration elements of the process including issuing Certificates of Sponsorship on your behalf 
  • Offering invigilated assessment tests to help inform interview outcomes 
  • Providing qualified clinical interviewers to select candidates if required 
  • Collecting candidates from the Airport 
  • Providing welcome food shops on arrival 
  • Providing sim cards on arrival 
  • Supporting candidates with opening a bank account and registering with a GP 
  • Sourcing accommodation for candidates on arrival 
  • Enrolling candidates on certificated OSCE Training 
  • Facilitating face-to-face OSCE training 
  • Organising face-to-face orientations in the UK 
  • Organising face-to-face UK socials on arrival 
  • Booking OSCE Tests 
  • Booking travel to OSCE Tests and Training 
  • Providing daily and out of hours support to candidates 
  • Supporting candidates with finding longer-term accommodation options 


When thinking about your longer-term international recruitment strategy, it is important to be realistic about your level of in-house experience and capacity when it comes to supporting your new joiners. It is not uncommon for employers to rely on agencies more heavily internationally as they become acquainted with the process, and later take on more of the implementation themselves. 


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.