Professional Comment

Making the Most of the International Recruitment Fund

By Tijen Ahmet, business immigration expert at law firm, Shakespeare Martineau (

Care providers need to act quickly to secure their share of the £50 million International Recruitment Fund, which is only available across England until 2024. This fund has been created by the Government to help ease the costs of hiring from overseas and cut unnecessary red tape, and whilst it might seem like a short-term solution to the longstanding issue of crippling staff shortages, care providers should seek to understand exactly what it covers to maximise the opportunity.

88 per cent of home care operators and 87 per cent of care home providers have reported recruitment challenges.
These challenges have been caused by a multitude of factors including the end of free movement following Brexit, the lasting effects of the global pandemic, poor long-term planning from the Government and the cost-of-living crisis are piling pressure on the sector. As a result, existing staff are having to take on more internal responsibilities as the scope of their role stretches, potentially placing those who need care at risk. The Health and Social Care Committee predicts that if staff shortage trend continues, 500,000 jobs will need to be filled by 2030.

The International Recruitment Fund plans to alleviate these pressures and can be used for administrative costs that will help facilitate a person’s move to the UK, including support with sponsorship licences and worker visa applications. In addition, it can also be used to help with the logistics of settling the employee in a new country, including finding them affordable housing, helping to pay for a UK driving licence, DBS check or National Insurance number.

The funding will be granted by local authorities who, in collaboration with care partnerships, will distribute it to care providers in their areas. Care providers should therefore proactively reach out to Local Authorities to ensure that they will be considered for funding, as while a £50 million sounds plentiful, with thousands of care providers across the UK competing over the same pot, it ultimately may not stretch too far. The first round of funding has already been allocated across regions with the South East and North West assigned £2.5 million and £2 million respectively.

The Fund itself is not unlimited and the government is yet to announce further measure beyond 2023 if at all. This means it is vital to for care provider to understand the the financial support available to them to increase the chance of being successful. Care providers should consider seeking professional immigration advice to help their international recruitment drive, to ensure that the legal immigration requirements are met first time to avoid costly mistakes.

The International Recruitment Fund is intended to give the sector a boost by cutting bureaucracy and unnecessary complexity within the process. The biggest hope, however, is that it attracts the talent that the sector so desperately needs by making the positions more appealing if employers can help with settling an employee once they have relocated. While the Fund will certainly go some way to support the sector in the short term, more needs to be done to ensure there is a long-term strategy that will lift the burden from the sector and help to end the shortage.