UK puts Gambia, 53 others on red list for health workers’ recruitment


The United Kingdom has included The Gambia among 54 countries that should not be actively targeted for recruitment by health and social care employers. Other African countries in the list are Ghana, Nigeria, Angola, and Cameroon among others.

This announcement was made by the UK government in its revised code of practice for international recruitment of health and social care personnel in England, which was published on the NHS Employers website.

The code applies to the appointment of all international health and social care personnel in the UK, including all permanent, temporary, and locum staff in clinical and non-clinical settings.


Titled: “Code of Practice red and amber list of countries,” the UK Government said the list is based upon the World Health Organisation’s Workforce Support and Safeguard List, 2023 and will be updated alongside progress reports on WHO Global Code implementation and reported to the World Health Assembly every three years.

The countries listed have a UHC Service Coverage Index that is lower than 50 and a density of doctors, nurses and midwives that is below the global median (48.6 per 10,000 population).

The code stated that being on the list doesn’t prevent individual health and social care personnel from independently applying to health and social care employers for employment in the UK, of their own accord and without being targeted by a third party, such as a recruitment agency or employer (known as a direct application).

It defined active international recruitment in the code as the process by which UK health and social care employers (including local authorities), contracting bodies, recruitment organisations, agencies, collaborations, and sub-contractors target individuals to market UK employment opportunities, with the intention of recruiting to a role in the UK health or social care sector. It includes both physical or virtual targeting, and whether or not these actions lead to substantive employment.

This includes but is not limited to allied health professionals, care workers, dentists, doctors, healthcare scientists, medical staff, midwives, nursing staff, residential and domiciliary care workers, social workers, and support staff.