Career Clinic: Working in the UK with overseas qualifications

A: If already registered with the General Social Care Council then you would have the correct qualifications, writes Andrea Rowe. If you were not registered your qualifications would be mapped to the social work degree. If you haven’t got the right qualifications then you would be required to take an exam or undergo further training.

The advice from the GSCC is to apply before arriving in the UK to ensure you have the right/equivalent qualifications. If your qualification is different or not recognised then you would need to do more training.

The GSCC is trying to make the process easier. It does recognise some universities outside of the UK so qualification mapping may be easier if you have a qualification from one of these universities. There is more information about this on the GSCC’s website.

You have to apply to the GSCC yourself, but agencies can help explain how they can match your training and experiences to meet the six criteria. It is not enough just to say where you got the degree from.

There is a Code for International Recruitment, which was launched last year that sets out the principles for employers and so it would be good for applicants to check if their future employer is signed up to this. Plus there are some agencies which specialise in this “Jacaranda” in Germany comes to mind.

With regards to validating experience in social work practice you would need to provide evidence of this or relevant experience that the GSCC recognises. If the applicant is at a lower academic level, sometimes this can cause problems in entering the UK workforce.

Skills for Care is about to put some post-qualifying innovation projects on its website. Two of them have details on how PQ can be used effectively to support social workers moving from another country.

Andrea Rowe is chief executive of Skills for Care. She is answering your questions in a personal capacity


• PQ training on the GSCC website:

• European Job Mobility Portal provides information, advice and recruitment/placement (job-matching) services for the benefit of workers and employers as well as any citizen wishing to benefit from the principle of free movement of persons. 

• City and Guilds have set up a Europass scheme which offers an easy translation of European-gained vocational qualifications into the UK QCF frameworks.


•Skills for Care and Development are working with European colleagues on a core set of European care outcomes which will be recognised across the European community and assist the mobility of workers.

Reader’s views

A: I moved to the UK three years ago from Italy where I’d been working as a community support worker for some time. Although there was a lot of paperwork involved and it was quite a time-consuming process, my qualifications were recognised and I have been able to get a fair amount of contract work at social services departments by going through employment agencies.


I am thinking about becoming a locum, but I have noticed that in the last two years the number of locums and their pay rates have declined. What should I keep in mind when starting up? We will answer this question in the 3 July issue of Community Care. We want to publish readers’ advice too – send it to by 26 June.

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