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Evaluation of the International Recruitment Fund for adult social care


In February 2023, the International Recruitment Fund for adult social care was launched by Department of Health and Social Care, with funding for 2022-23 and 2023-24.

The aim of the fund is to increase the number of international recruits entering adult social care (ASC) and to improve ethical international recruitment and employment practice.

The fund has been made available at a regional and sub-regional level, to local authority led partnerships across England, to help tailor their response and remove barriers to international recruitment in their area. It can be used to recruit care workers and other staff working in adult social care including nurses, occupational therapists and social workers.

This study follows our earlier research (the Visa Study – report published October 2023) which explored the impact of the immigration changes introduced in February 2022, when the role of ‘care worker’ was added to the shortage occupation list. This change meant that people from other countries could apply for the Health and Care Visa and work with a licensed ASC provider in the UK.

The aim of the current study is to understand the impact of the International Recruitment Fund on ASC from different perspectives to give timely and independent feedback to government departments.


A mixed methods approach will be used to gather data to address the objectives outlined below. We will:

  1. scope the configuration of partnerships and understand their plans for how the fund is to be distributed and spent,
  2. explore if and how the views and experiences of different stakeholders towards international recruitment have changed following the introduction of the International Recruitment Fund. Stakeholders include internationally recruited workers, social care employers, individuals in local authority partnerships, and brokerage (recruitment and legal) organisations,
  3. identify any common features of the approach to support adopted in areas where the impact of funding was greater or lesser, to further strengthen evidence of what works or does not work for increasing international recruitment, and
  4. explore partnerships’ views and experiences of the process for securing funding, the timeframe to spend it and the reporting requirements of the fund.
  5. explore the views and experiences of representatives of people with care and support needs and carers about the changes to immigration rules made in February 2022.
  6. continue to gather views of sector experts about the changes to the visa system and, current processes, and expectations.


April 2023 – May 2024


The research is being funded by National Institute for Health and Care Research (NIHR) Policy Research Programme (Policy Research Unit in Health and Social Care Workforce: Ref. PR-PRU-1217-21002).


The findings from this evaluation will inform policy developments on adult social care workforce and immigration systems. Key outputs include reports to the DHSC and academic and practice publications and presentations.

Project team

Kalpa Kharicha (PI), Ian Kessler, Jo Brown, Jo Moriarty, Kritika Samsi, Caroline Norrie, Valerie Lipman, Jen Owen

Project status: Ongoing