Have Your Say on recruiting overseas

We asked:- Is recruiting overseas a cost-effective way
of tackling the recruitment crisis?

Here are some of the comments we received:-

“I am an American social worker, working in Leicester
City, England. I recently read an article in Community
magazine’s Sept 8-14 edition, which had an article on
American social worker’s working in the UK. Is there anyone I could
contact about getting in touch? There are a few other American
social workers that I work with in Leicester and I know they would
love to be in contact with others from home as well. Anyone who
would like to get ion touch please contact me on wendyc_08026@yahoo.com

Wendy Cunningham

“Recruiting overseas workers has a place within our society and in
my experience has been positive, as a learning curve for new
approaches and a host of knowledge and work practices that may not
have previously been considered. However setting this aside I have
to say I fail to understand why as an unqualified worker in social
care for the last 15years, the government (present and past),
continues to overlook the experience, knowledge and skills of such
people on their own doorstep.

To my knowledge, this country has had a shortfall of social
workers for a considerable time, and fill shortfalls with overseas
workers, failing to acknowledge or fund the dedicated social care
workers who very often in the past have also held high numbers of
complex cases to enable children and families to access a service
and support, that maybe otherwise they would not have

I have over the years met many such people who, due to their
family circumstances, cannot afford to give up their jobs to fund
qualifications needed. I am in the same situation. In my way of
thinking surely it would be more cost effective to utilise and
train existing very experienced personnel.  Surely quick fix
solutions will never prove to be cost effective either now or in
the future, not to mention quality of services for the future of
the vulnerable in our society.” 

L. Davison

“After trying desperately to recruit locally with every
initiative and strategy available, I’m now at the end of the

I feel satisfied that my company has tried everything to offer
employment within the locality that it operates in, but now feel
that our only avenue is to recruit over seas.”
Roger Bayliss

“I was pleased to see profiles of the Americans
contributing to social services in the United Kingdom in your
September 2005 issue and agree that recruiting social workers from
the US is an effective way to deal with social worker recruitment
crisis in the UK.

I am also an American social worker who moved to the UK in March
2005 to work for the London Borough of Croydon following a
recruitment drive in New York. 

The London Borough of Croydon just hired more than 20 American
social workers over the past year. It appears this practice is
becoming quite common.  With fewer British citizens wanting to
become social workers and American social workers seeking to
experience a different culture, this is a plus on both sides of the

Kathy Southard
Senior Social Worker
Children’s Services
Croydon Council  

“I am generally in favour of the recruitment of overseas
social workers as this adds to the diversity of the department. 
The fact that these workers have different experiences and
methodology brings a fresh opportunity for home grown workers to
examine their own practice and expand their horizons. 

I work in Newham (one of the London Boroughs recruiting heavily
from overseas) and would support the scheme continuing.
However, it has to be understood that this can only be a short-term
measure and until such time as social workers are paid a decent
wage and their work is regarded by their employers; central
government and the public at large as being worthy, the situation
and recruitment crisis will continue.  This country not only has a
social work recruitment crisis but also a social workers retention
crisis.  This is sad but true and must be addressed.  It is
unfortunate that whenever I am requested to give social work career
advice to those considering training that I hear myself saying
that, though I have enjoyed my 25 years plus as a social worker I
would not advise anyone to take it up as a career due in the main
to the pay and conditions and the inability to maintain a direct
relationship with clients and service users as one furthers ones
career in the service.  Something medicine and law seem to have
managed much better. 
Sadly I believe the day I advise differently is a long way
Paul Marron

“I am an American social worker living and working at a
hospital in London. I was so excited to see the article about
Hounslow Council and their US social workers.  I think it is a
great way to reduce costs and tackle the recruitment crisis, as
well as give British people and Americans a chance to learn from
each other and compare social work practice.

I have found the system here very different than in the US,
particularly working within the NHS. I would love to meet with the
other US social workers to compare our experiences!”

Rina Phillips

“Yes it is very cost-effective because you have to pay
those people money that is more than what they usually get from
their countries.”


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