A STARK WARNING REGARDING AGENCY FEES

Changes to UK immigration law make it easier to recruit senior carers and nurses from beyond the European Union. But care homes ought to be suspicious of ‘free’ offers of candidates from unscrupulous international recruitment agents.

Recent government updates put nurses and senior carers on the national occupations’ shortage list, allowing care homes to hire skilled staff from as far afield as India and The Philippines.

Yet this demand has encouraged bogus recruitment agents to exploit and profiteer from care workers abroad who are desperate to work in the UK. This ultimately harms the care industry and patients alike.

‘Some agents are offering candidates to care homes for free. This sounds great, but they demand extortionate fees from candidates. The agent then pockets that money with no incentive to properly match or screen them - any job will do, regardless of fit.’

- Craig Roberts, Business Development Manager of Avanta Care

As care work recruitment specialists, Craig reveals these agents have even offered his company what are essentially bribes, to place candidates into unsuitable jobs – in exchange for a cut of the money the care worker paid in hope of building a better life in the UK.

But in an arrangement like this, Craig argues the candidate often feels exploited, unhappy in an unsuitable job, with little loyalty to their employer. Likewise, when they inevitably resign, the care home is back where they began – understaffed with a gap in their rota. Ultimately, everyone loses except the bogus agent, and patient care suffers.

‘At the end of the day, care homes want somebody who's going to honour an agreement, someone who sticks around in the job long enough to give quality care and make a positive difference to patients’ lives. And if candidates get ripped-off that’s never going to happen.’

Craig thinks the care industry now faces a moral choice. If an agent offers candidates for free, be wary – ask how they’ve been sourced. Ask what fees are being paid and by whom – are they fair and justifiable? Look into how individuals are vetted, matched to roles, and whether they’re settled comfortably into UK life.

Fundamentally, Craig believes this is about respect for fellow human beings with aspirations, families, and a willingness to leave everything behind, so they can contribute to the value of our care sector.

‘Our services are unique and extremely valuable. And done right, yes, there should be a fee to pay, but who pays and how much? It seems wrong to me that candidates are bullied into paying the full, inflated cost. While care homes aren’t asked to invest anything, and agents pocket someone’s life savings.’

 

To help tackle the issue, Craig visited India where he found widespread exploitation and profiteering. So, instead of entering into partnership with agents who don’t share Avanta Care’s ethics, he set up their own recruitment base employing fairly paid, local staff, who recruit and train healthcare workers from the country.

Indian Training Academy

These candidates are then matched with appropriate care jobs in the UK, and only pay fees that cover costs like visas, identity checks and professional accreditation. The UK care home then pays Avanta Care a fair fee for a committed employee, yet saves up to £15,000 over the course of that employment, compared to recruiting nationally.

This issue of ethics is part of a wider moral debate about how we, as a society, reward key workers, especially after their service during the Coronavirus pandemic.

For more information about hiring international healthcare workers, call our team on 0113 827 2347 or email recruitment@avantacare.com. Alternatively, click Here to view our brochure.

Accreditations & Memberships

Avanta Care Ltd is an Awarded supplier of Healthcare Professionals on the HealthTrust Europe framework

HealthTrust Europe hold a strong and long-standing relationship with the NHS, and take a partnership approach to improve healthcare performance. They are committed to developing and delivering solutions that support the needs of public sector healthcare providers

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