Employment agencies are calling on the government and councils to
give them greater support when recruiting social workers from
Some agencies believe the government should provide councils with
central funding to help pay for the initial costs of settling in
social workers from poorer countries.
Some NHS trusts work with recruitment agencies to arrange
accommodation for nurses from the Philippines and parts of Africa
and then deduct rent from their salaries once they have started
With social worker vacancy rates still running at 20 per cent in
some areas, local authorities are increasingly looking to bring in
overseas workers. For some time staff have been brought in from
Australia, New Zealand and Canada and more recently from South
Africa and India. But some argue there is an untapped source of
staff in other parts of the developing world.
Lawrence Perry, who runs Dolma International Placement Corporation,
said there was a surplus of thousands of trained social workers in
the Philippines who could be recruited, but there had been little
interest from councils or agencies because of the difficulty in
finding them affordable accommodation.
An employment expert at the Philippines embassy in London said it
had verified only one contract to recruit social workers, whereas
25,000 Filipino nurses work in the NHS.
But Philip Poole, a director of international agency Synergy
Recruitment, said the red tape involved in recruiting from the
Philippines was a hindrance.
Workers from that country need a job offer before they can obtain a
visa, whereas those from Commonwealth countries can enter on
two-year working visas.