Since the results of the Brexit vote in June, a question mark has been raised against recruiting social workers from the EU. It is also likely to have an unintended consequence for many employees. As it stands no one is sure of how the vote to leave will affect staff currently in the UK.

According to a research by the Department for Education, published on 25 February 2016, there was an unexpected rise in vacancies across children’s services throughout England and this trend doesn’t seem to be slowing. There were approximately 5,470 full time equivalent vacancies in 2015. With an ever growing proportion of the local authority workforce working in the locum market or witnessing how their colleagues can move about and experience new ways of working, at better rates of pay, this workforce crisis can only become more and more acute.

To counter this, HCL Social Care has built up a strong presence across the globe. Working with various international social work associations and educational establishments gives us access to experienced and knowledgeable candidates, who are excited by the opportunity to affect change in the UK. We have successfully sourced candidates from Europe, North America, Africa and Asia for clients in the UK. This has been achieved using a combination of Skype and face-to-face interviews, which has resulted in approximately 80 hires, potentially saving local authorities hundreds of thousands of pounds on more expensive agency staff, which can be invested back into front line services.

Recruiting from outside of the UK is the quickest and most cost effective method of alleviating the workforce crisis by bringing good quality staff to the UK. Understandably, there are some concerns and questions about how this works and how both candidates and councils can benefit. With our background and experience in this market we are able to provide a comprehensive breakdown of the processes, potential pitfalls and successes that this type of recruitment can offer. We can also put interested clients in touch with other local authorities we’ve worked with before, so clients can find out what’s the feedback about us.

Brexit is still a long way off and the UK remains an attractive destination for social workers seeking a rewarding career. This is a golden opportunity to relieve the pressure on frontline social workers and provides an exciting, viable recruitment option for local authorities the length and breadth of the country.

If you are interested in recruiting from overseas, please email us at

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