The United Kingdom has announced that it has stopped recruiting healthcare workers from Nigeria and some other countries. This announcement was made by the UK’s Department of Health and Social Care on Friday, April 7, 2023. According to the statement, the UK government has decided to stop recruiting healthcare workers from Nigeria and 53 other countries, mainly in Africa, on its red list based on the World Health Organisation Workforce Support and Safeguard List, 2023. other countries due to the ongoing staff shortage in the National Health Service (NHS).
The red list includes countries such as Afghanistan, Angola, Bangladesh, Benin, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Chad, Comoros, Congo, Democratic Republic of Congo, Côte d’Ivoire, Djibouti, Equatorial Guinea, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Gabon, The Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Haiti, Kiribati, Laos, and Lesotho. Others are Liberia, Madagascar, Malawi, Mali, Mauritania, Micronesia, Mozambique, Niger, Pakistan, Papua New Guinea, Rwanda, Samoa, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Solomon Islands, Somalia, South Sudan, Sudan, Timor-Leste, Togo, Tuvalu, Tanzania, Uganda, Vanuatu, Yemen, Zambia, and Zimbabwe.
According to the UK government, there must be no active international recruitment from countries on the red list unless there is a definite government-to-government agreement to support managed recruitment activities that are undertaken strictly in compliance with the terms of that agreement. The British government, however, said that the list doesn’t prevent individual health and social care personnel from applying independently to health and social care employers for employment in the UK, “of their own will and without the intent of being targeted by a third party, such as a recruitment agency or employer known as a direct application.”
Furthermore, the UK government noted that the restrictions do not apply to health workers from countries on the red list but rather those who do not reside there or in any other blacklisted country. In other words, the new development made by the UK Government against Nigerian health and social workers would not affect those who already live in the country or any other blacklisted country.
Meanwhile, in Nigeria, the Medical and Dental Practitioners Act (Amendment) Bill, 2022, recently passed for a second reading in Nigeria’s House of Representatives, aims to require doctors, nurses, and other healthcare workers who have been trained in Nigeria to serve the country for at least five years before seeking employment overseas. The bill attempts to address the growing trend of healthcare professionals emigrating from Nigeria, which has been exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic and the country’s struggling economy. The hope is that by compelling these workers to stay and serve their communities, the country’s healthcare system will be strengthened and patients will have better access to care. The bill still needs to be passed by both houses of the National Assembly and signed into law by the President before it can take effect.
In conclusion, while the UK government has placed Nigeria and 53 other countries on its red list for health and social care personnel recruitment, individuals who are already residing in the country or any other blacklisted country are not affected by the restriction. This development does not stop individual health workers from making personal applications outside existing health care programs by the NHS.
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