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Rebordering Britain & Britons after Brexit

Overseas recruitment activities of NHS Trusts 2015-2018: Findings from FOI requests to 19 Acute NHS Trusts in England


Migrant nurses form an increasing proportion of the nursing workforce, with the United Kingdom (UK) being the third most popular destination for overseas nurses in the world. The migrant nurse workforce is highly susceptible to policy changes at the macro or professional level of the donor and recipient countries. Freedom of information requests were issued to 19 National Health Service [NHS] Trusts in England to determine their involvement in overseas nurse recruitment activity from 1998 onwards. These indicate a notable shift away from active European Union (EU) recruitment and towards overseas countries particularly the Philippines and India. Reasons given were as follows: diminishing returns from EU sources, high attrition among EU nurses and the introduction of English language tests for EU nurses in July 2016. This led to Trusts revisiting their recruitment strategies by increasing more direct/less resource-intensive methods and expanding their focus outside of the EU. Trusts frequently utilised private recruitment companies for their recruitment drives, including consulting and influencing the Trusts' workforce strategies. Policy adjustments have numerous influences on the composition of the overseas nursing workforce. While the NHS continues its efforts in expanding its international nursing workforce, this should not be at the expense of ethical and sustainable recruitment practices, which may be compromised indirectly as a result.


Nursing Inquiry


Nicola Gillin (United Kingdom)
David Smith (United Kingdom)

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