Health and Care Worker visa - Guidance for approved care providers

Since the introduction of the Health and Care Worker visa (GOV.UK) which has allowed organisations to apply for a licence to sponsor care staff from overseas, we have seen increased capacity in the Surrey market. Thank you to all providers who have recruited staff to support the most vulnerable in our county.

There are some issues that we would like to make providers aware of.

Matching capacity with demand

Recently, providers reporting excess capacity and care staff with no work has increased. Work packages are awarded based on need, not the staff capacity. We cannot guarantee to award you the level of package or hours to match your staffing levels. We also have no responsibility to make sure overseas staff have the hours they need to meet their sponsorship requirements.

We urge all providers to only sponsor overseas staff to fill genuine vacancies. You must be sure they will have the necessary level of work and hours. Do not recruit on a speculative basis.

If you are considering growth, contact commissioners or other sector leads before recruiting. They will be able to tell you their future workforce requirements.

Compliant and safe recruitment

There has been a rise in reported cases of modern slavery and care worker abuse. This has been because of clear and alleged poor employment practices both nationally and within Surrey. Surrey Police report allegations of abuse or non-compliant practice to our commissioners. This often presents us with difficulties. We must balance keeping our residents and staff safe with potentially needing to prepare to respond to risks around continuity of care provision or provider failure or disruption. Due to the sensitive nature, we may not always be able to discuss these active investigations with those involved.

In June 2023, Surrey Police presented ways providers could both:

  • tackle reported issues of modern slavery
  • find ways to protect themselves from malicious claims

We shared slides with providers on 30 June 2023. If you would like to get a copy please contact

It is vital that you meet the duties set out in the sponsorship licence. See Guidance for sponsors on workers and temporary workers part 3 (GOV.UK).

Also, all overseas recruitment should be in line with the Code of practice for the international recruitment of health and social care personnel in England (GOV.UK).

We ask that providers follow this guidance exactly. You must particularly note the areas on:

  • recruitment from red list countries
  • use of ethical recruitment agencies
  • repayment clauses in employment contracts

If you are unsure on any of these, seek advice before recruiting. Please be open to discussing any mistakes you may have made.

We would like to thank providers for continuing to share accurate information about the numbers of staff recruited from overseas in the monthly Key Performance Indicators return. Please continue to raise any issues or concern you may have with Adult Social Care, Care Quality Commission, Surrey Police or UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI) as appropriate.

How to report suspected cases of modern slavery

Discuss issues with Detective Sergeant 4858 Martyn Linton, Unit Manager of the Modern Slavery and Organised Immigration Crime Unit

Alternatively, contact Surrey Police Modern Slavery and Organised Immigration Crime Unit on

Report suspected cases of modern slavery to the Gang and Labour Abuse Authority

Relevant guidance and legislation

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