Skills for Care

Settling international employees into your organisation

24 Jul 2023

5 min read

Skills for Care

  • Culture and diversity
  • Recruitment
  • Retention

We spoke with care providers about how they help to settle staff recruited from abroad into their workplace and their new home, as part of supporting a #PositiveWorkplaceCulture.

Recruiting skilled health and social care staff from overseas can be one solution to growing your team. When recruiting internationally it’s important for providers to take extra measures to ensure their new team members settle into their new workplace and their new home. We heard from three care providers about how they help to settle new recruits.


New Care Homes

We spoke with Cathryn Fairhurst, Chief Operating Officer at New Care, about the company’s approach to international recruitment.

She told us that they’ve been recruiting people from overseas for four years, starting with registered nurses and expanding to include senior carers and carers once those roles were added to the Shortage Occupation List.

New Care recently received the ISO 30415 certification from the Centre of Assessment (cfa) for Human Resource Management – Inclusion and Diversity. They are the first health and social care organisation in the UK to receive it.

The assessment for the certification was intensive, and one element that was applauded by the judges was New Care’s significant investment in sponsoring staff from overseas providing extensive packages.

New Care now have around 100 members of staff who they’ve sponsored to come over from abroad from a mix of different countries. They’re particularly proud that all the nurses who they recruited from overseas in their first international recruitment hiring process back in 2019, are still with them today.

Several members of the team who were recruited internationally have developed with the organisation into management roles.

They tend to recruit people in groups rather than as individuals, which means they can form an immediate bond with the people recruited at the same time and go through an induction together. They also try to locate new members of the team to work in an area where they might have family and friends already living in the UK where possible.

Now that they’ve been recruiting internationally for several years, they also have bonds with local communities from different cultures – for example Filipino communities, where many of their staff come from. This means they can support new staff to embed into these local communities with shared cultures.

From the moment new staff land, the organisation wants to make them feel welcomed and at home as soon as possible – including meeting them at the airport with a welcome placard.

An important part of the international recruitment process is finding accommodation for their new team members, and the organisation has links with local landlords and letting agents to provide reliable accommodation for their new staff. They also take time to add personal touches to make it feel like home – from buying new furniture to little touches, such as stocking the cupboard with snacks which are local to their home country.

They also make sure to provide UK SIM cards so that new staff immediately have a phone they can use to keep in touch with friends and family back home.

New members of the team are also supported by long-standing staff who’ve been through the international recruitment process themselves and so can support new staff with settling into the team and the local area. This includes practical things such as setting up a UK bank account and registering at the doctor.

Across the wider team, social events are organised to help everyone to get to know each other better and new staff are also buddied up with existing team members for support with the day-to-day as they settle in. All new staff also go through a comprehensive induction process, which familiarises them further with the organisation’s vision and values.

Cathryn concludes by saying:

We’re incredibly committed to our staff including our overseas colleagues and we do go out of our way to make them welcome and as such, provide additional wraparound support.

She also shared with us a message from one of their international team members, which said:

Thank you for the opportunity given to me to work for New Care at Formby Manor. The experience has been second to none and I'm most grateful. I've worked elsewhere and I can tell you for a fact that New Care is the standard for me. It's a place where the colour of your skin or your very different English accent doesn’t determine how you’re treated. Thank you for the warm environment, the right work ethics, and the sense of belonging.

Rushcliffe Care

We spoke with Jasmine Stanhope, Joint Managing Director, Rushcliffe Care about their approach to international recruitment.

She tells us that Rushcliffe has been recruiting internationally since the early 2000s. Because of this they have a very well planned and effective process in place now for recruiting people from abroad and helping them to settle into their roles and new home.

They started with running their own overseas nursing programme initially, where they were able to support nurses from overseas to come to the UK and supported them through their Objective Structured Clinical Examination (OSCE) training to gain their UK nursing PIN to be qualified as registered nurses in the UK.

Since then, they’ve also started recruiting support workers from abroad too. Jasmine says, without international recruitment she doesn’t think the organisation would have grown as greatly.

They’ve had people who joined them as part of the overseas nursing programme who’ve developed to be service managers.

One manager has been with the organisation for 20 years having initially joined via the overseas nursing programme.

When it comes to settling new staff into the local area, Jasmine says they’re lucky that their history of recruiting people internationally means they’ve established a local community including staff from different countries, which supports new staff with settling into the local area and building relationships.

They buddy new staff members up with longer-serving staff and also run social events such as barbeques and karaoke nights. They also have an annual ball for all staff which is a great way for newer recruits to get familiar with the organisation’s vision and achievements, and get to know the whole team outside of work.

A strong induction is also important to settle people in their new roles. They have a meet and greet with new staff virtually before they arrive, so they’re already familiar with some of the team. They also provide an information leaflet about the organisation, the team and service they’ll be a part of, and practical information - such as how to set up a bank account.

They also complete eLearning modules, as well as having a full week of induction with a buddy in the service they’re working in.

They ensure blended learning opportunities across the organisation, to provide different ways of leaning to suit different people – which they say is particularly important when some people’s first language isn’t English.

Since last year, they’ve also been offering halls of residence for international recruits which are housed in the buildings of their previous services. They also support staff with finding their own local accommodation, and have been doing this for a long time.

With such a diverse workforce, they also take time to celebrate everyone’s different cultures with their international days which showcase food, dances, clothes and other elements from different countries and cultures.

Jasmine also shared some quotes from staff who’ve been recruited internally.

I started with Rushcliffe in June 2021 doing the overseas nursing programme. All the senior nurses were very helpful and took time to mentor me. They were quick to answer my queries and provided support. Our manager was very supportive as well and gave me ample time to focus on my Objective Structured Clinical Examination, which allowed me to pass the test on my first try. I gained my nursing PIN in August 2021. It would not have been possible without the encouragement and support of Rushcliffe. I am forever grateful.

Jesue Mijares
Registered General Nurse

I found the whole process really helpful. I felt really well prepared. I had plenty of time to practice new skills and lots of information, which made me feel confident for the exam at the end of the programme. I really enjoyed meeting and socialising with new people who were sharing the same experience as me.

Laura Arcilla
Registered General Nurse

It was a great experience! I learned lots of new skills. Rushcliffe Care helped me to feel really confident in my role and gave me lots of support to help me settle in my new environment.

Flor Santiago
Registered General Nurse

Good Oaks Home Care

In the most recent series of our ‘The care exchange’ podcast, we spoke with Ben Ashton, Founder and Managing Director, Good Oaks Home Care who discussed some of the work they’ve been doing around international recruitment.

When talking about how they helped to settle in new staff from overseas, he says:

We really carefully planned their first two weeks in the UK, basically, when they weren't with the client for the first couple of weeks, they were doing an extended induction period. We picked them up personally from the airport, and took them back to the accommodation, which was near the office. We provided all their meals and took them shopping for extra coats (as it was January).

He tells us they also supported with setting up bank accounts, national insurance numbers, and finding their local supermarkets, among other practical steps.

Hear more from Ben on our podcast.


Learn more about international recruitment.

Creating a sense of belonging for all staff if an important part of developing a #PositiveWorkplaceCulture. Find out more with our spotlight page.

Home Instead Maidenhead, Henley & Wallingford share how they’ve developed a #PositiveWorkplaceCulture

Registered manager receives MBE for services to social care