UK places Nigeria on red list, halts health workers’ recruitment

The United Kingdom (UK) has added Nigeria to its red list of countries that health and social care employers should not actively target for recruitment, except with government-to-government agreements.

Reports has it that this decision came a month after the World Health Organisation (WHO) identified 55 countries, including Nigeria, as facing the most significant health workforce challenges regarding Universal Health Coverage.

According to the latest release obtained from the website of the UK government titled ‘Code of Practice for the international recruitment of Health and social care personnel in England,’ it said:

“Consistent with the WHO Global Code of Practice principles and articles, and as explicitly called for by the WHO Global Code of Practice 10-year review, the listed countries should be prioritised for health personnel development and health system-related support, provided with safeguards that discourage active international recruitment of health personnel.

“Countries on the list should not be actively targeted for recruitment by health and social care employers, recruitment organisations, agencies, collaborations, or contracting bodies unless there is a government-to-government agreement in place to allow managed recruitment undertaken strictly in compliance with the terms of that agreement.

“Countries on the WHO Health Workforce Support and Safeguards list are graded red in the code. If a government-to-government agreement is put in place between a partner country, which restricts recruiting organisations to the terms of the agreement, the country is added to the amber list.”

The UK government’s Code of Practice for international health and social care personnel recruitment in England lists Kenya and Nepal as amber countries, where international recruitment is only permitted in compliance with government-to-government agreements.

Meanwhile, green-graded countries allow active recruitment with the UK under such agreements in place.

“Green-graded countries without a government-to-government agreement with the UK are not published in the code of practice for England.

“The government-to-government agreement may set parameters, implemented by the country of origin, for how UK employers, contracting bodies, recruitment organisations, agencies, and collaborations recruit. These organisations are encouraged to recruit on the terms of the government-to-government agreement.

“The green country list will be updated as new government-to-government agreements are signed with the UK. It is recommended employers, contracting bodies, recruitment organisations, agencies, and collaborations regularly check the list for updates prior to embarking on any recruitment campaign.

“Green-graded countries with a government-to-government agreement for managing international health and care workforce recruitment are India, Malaysia, Philippines, and Sri Lanka,” it added.

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