The United Kingdom will restrain from hiring Kenyan healthcare professionals, despite an agreement between the governments in July. But the recruitment of nurses still remains possible.
On November 11, the National Health Agency decided to stop recruiting healthcare personnel from Kenya, except for one category of workers.
Five months ago, Kenya had yet the ambition to become the “Philippines of Africa“, referring to the large community of Filipino healthcare staff working in the UK.
According to the NHS, forbidding recruitment from Kenya aims to protect Kenya’s health system.
The United Kingdom’s health agency updated its Code of practice for the international recruitment of health and social care personnel in order to follow ethical international recruitment. The code refers to the World Health Organization guide on recruiting medical personnel in order to strengthen national health systems.
The list of countries was first published in February 2021. Kenya is therefore added to the 47 other developing countries where the UK prevents from recruiting healthcare and social worker staff. Most of the restrictions cover African countries.
From now on, no active recruitment will be allowed for most healthcare and social workers from Kenya, although the NHS allows for advanced recruitment process to continue.
British Covid-19 vaccines and Kenyan nurses
With only 900 Kenyan working across all healthcare roles in the UK, a government-to-government partnership on healthcare was signed in July 2021.
Kenya received 817,000 Covid-19 vaccine doses from the British. In return, the UK would recruit 50,000 “qualified but unemployed Kenyan nurses” by 2024, and “support the training of Kenya’s healthcare professionals” for a brief period. Kenya explains the memorandum of understanding enhances a transfer of skills and knowledge.
If the new rule established by the UK is more restrictive, it however doesn’t forbid the recruitment of nurses.
Kenya is the only country having an agreement with the UK for a category of healthcare workers and a strict restriction for the others.