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Updated: Oct 10, 2023

So you’ve bitten the bullet. You’ve secured your Tier 2 license and navigated the recruitment maze that is overseas recruitment.

Now your overseas recruits are landing and the new challenge is to ensure you maximise the return on your investment in an overseas recruitment campaign by making sure your new recruits hit the ground running and seamlessly integrate into your growing workforce without issue.

Perhaps the most fundamentally crucial step in the overseas recruitment process is the onboarding.

We cannot emphasise enough the vital importance of well-planned effective onboarding to protect your investment in overseas recruitment. It is also the most commonly overlooked aspect of recruitment and perhaps the easiest thing to get wrong – and that just applies to domestic recruitment. Add to this the many other idiosyncrasies and complications for overseas recruitment and the impact of good or bad onboarding is amplified.

In context, the level of commitment that your new overseas recruits will have made, having left behind family, friends and their community, added to the fact that, on arrival, they are likely to feel isolated and a long way from home, all serves to heighten the importance of effective onboarding.

There are lots of things to consider;

Although the candidates may be highly skilled in the country of origin, they are likely to have very little knowledge of how health and social care is delivered in the UK. They are also likely to lack understanding of the social care system overall and the cultural context of care.

Good, effective onboarding starts early with effective talent attraction, strong brand messaging and fast, efficient post interview processing.

Unnecessary delays in issuing offer letters, compliance processing or the visa application process can all serve to reduce the confidence of the new recruits and increase their anxiety which results in an increase of queries from candidates about what’s happening.

It is not uncommon, in the cases of extensive delays, for the candidate’s families to try and intervene.

Unsuccessful onboarding programs typically have a few things in common. Firstly, they start too late, almost relying on osmosis to manage the initial part of the process. Secondly, they're too short, often failing to extend beyond the first month of employment and omitting key topics like company culture.


The single biggest factor in maintaining a sense of positive anticipation and reducing the anxiety of the candidates preparing for a new life in the UK is your communication with candidates from the initial point of contact pre-interview, all the way through to their first day at work. It makes sense to pre-plan your communication strategy that includes regular updates and clear transparency.

If you are working with an agency, you need to work together to ensure your communication strategies don’t overlap.

If there are delays for any reason, these need to be communicated and the candidates kept updated. Experience has shown that no news is invariably considered as bad news by candidates and they will tend to assume the worst if kept in the dark.

This can be more easily achieved by setting up social media groups on either Whatsapp or Facebook. These can be useful channels for informing candidates about all manner of things such as information about the UK and sharing links and stories about what is happening.

It is likely that candidates will have heard horror stories about the overseas recruitment process and will therefore be wary. So, it’s important that your process makes them feel engaged and progresses at a pace to help heighten the excitement and make their journey seem less daunting.

Harley Medical assist in this process by providing candidates with an abundance of pre-arrival information covering every aspect of their journey to a new life in the UK but it is equally important for their new employer to firstly communicate as regularly as possible and provide key details and to make them feel ‘involved’ as soon as possible.

We also now provide all migrating candidates with our own ‘Migration Buddy’ App which is not only packed with useful information but can also be used as a channel to push relevant and important information to candidates.

The Harley Medical Migration Buddy app is designed to assist the onboarding process.


Finding and securing suitable accommodation for overseas candidates is the most challenging part of the process and also one of the most important. Securing accommodation should be addressed at the earliest opportunity usually following the allocation of the visa. The support services for securing overseas accommodation range from the candidate being responsible for finding and securing their own accommodation all the way through to the employer providing board and lodging, either for an interim period or for the duration of the visa.

This also impacts on the talent attraction process. The more substantial the accommodation support on offer, the more attractive the proposition.

The more support available in this area from the employer or their representatives, the less problematic the arrival and resettlement.


Perhaps the most vital stage in the overseas recruitment on-boarding process is the point of the candidate’s arrival in the UK.

The way in which they are received and greeted on their arrival goes a long way to forming their opinion of how their life here will unfold.

If you are managing the campaign in-house then making sure you have someone to meet the candidates at the airport is important.

If you are working with an agency, it’s important to have clear lines of responsibility when it comes to meeting & greeting, resettlement and pastoral care.

  • When and where will they arrive?

  • Who will meet them?

  • How will they get to where they need to be?

  • Will they have everything they need? Cash, bank account, warm clothes, bedding, etc.

There are a number of small, relatively cheap but significant touches that can make big difference to the welcome a new overseas candidate receives.

  • Providing a welcome pack of essential items for example.

  • Ensuring there is some provision for pastoral and accommodation support.

  • Helping them set up their UK mobile phone number and bank accounts.

  • Connecting your new arrivals with local amenities or an ex-pat community.

And finally, it's worth remembering that effective onboarding doesn’t simply stop once the candidates are in work. It’s a continual process that morphs into good employment practices and results in a more effective, stable and motivated workforce, greater productivity and more efficient output. Don’t under-estimate the power of effective onboarding!

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