In response to the World Health Organization’s (WHO) listing of 55 countries, including Nigeria, as facing significant health workforce challenges related to Universal Health Coverage, the United Kingdom has placed Nigeria on a red list of countries that should not be actively recruited by health and social care employers. According to a report by the UK Home Office, the only exception to this is if there is a government-to-government agreement in place. The UK government has published a ‘Code of Practice for the international recruitment of Health and social care personnel in England,’ which outlines the criteria for determining which countries are on the red, amber, and green lists.
The red list includes countries that are facing significant health workforce challenges, and the UK government advises that they should be prioritized for health personnel development and health system-related support. The government recommends that health and social care employers, recruitment organizations, agencies, collaborations, or contracting bodies not actively target these countries unless there is a government-to-government agreement in place that allows for managed recruitment in compliance with the terms of the agreement.
The amber list includes countries where international recruitment is only allowed in compliance with the terms of the government-to-government agreement, such as Kenya and Nepal. The green list includes countries with a government-to-government agreement for managing international health and care workforce recruitment, such as India, Malaysia, Philippines, and Sri Lanka. The UK government encourages these organizations to recruit on the terms of the government-to-government agreement, which may set parameters for how UK employers, contracting bodies, recruitment organizations, agencies, and collaborations recruit.
The UK government will update the green country list as new government-to-government agreements are signed. Employers, contracting bodies, recruitment organizations, agencies, and collaborations are advised to regularly check the list for updates before embarking on any recruitment campaigns.