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Pastoral Care Guide for International Recruitment in Social Care

Pastoral Care Guide

This pastoral care guide, developed with the support of the LGA / ADASS, contains links to useful resources that will help social care employers to explore resettlement support and pastoral care for overseas recruits, including refugees and/or displaced people who are settled in the UK with the right to work.

This guide features resources about the following stages in the journey of recruiting overseas workers:

  • Preparations prior to Employment
  • Induction
  • Settling in
  • 6 months and beyond

It also offers recommendations for items that should be included in a Pastoral Checklist.

About the Guide
  • This guide will be updated regularly to reflect any new resources and guidance around pastoral care and resettlement for overseas recruits into social care.  Please note: This page was last updated 17/10/22.
  • You can navigate to different sections in the guide using the buttons below.

Preparations Prior to Employment

There are preparations that an employer must make before hiring an overseas recruit. Please see below for the latest information about pre-employment checks and useful resources about modern slavery awareness.

Before hiring an overseas worker, employers must ensure that they undertake the relevant pre-employment checks. Guidance has been issued by the Care Quality Commission (CQC) and the Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) to highlight the steps employers should take when recruiting workers from overseas into the adult social care workforce.


CQC offer a whole host of guidance, resource and good practice and stress that Registered providers are expected to apply the same processes for staff recruited from abroad (including refugees) as they would for staff recruited in England.

CQC Regulation 19 – Fit and proper persons employed

To meet Regulation 19, providers must operate robust recruitment procedures, including undertaking any relevant checks. 

The CQC have produced a FAQ document to help providers understand what is required to meet Regulation 19.

 DBS Checks – Section 23

Providers must do all they can to ensure that people they appoint from overseas are suitable to work with adults who use care services and/or children. The DBS cannot access criminal records held overseas. However, it is still recommended that you undertake DBS checks for workers from overseas in case a person is barred, has a criminal record in the UK, or comes from a country where the DBS does have information sharing agreements. If you wish to check their overseas criminal record, contact the relevant foreign embassy.

Skills for Care

Skills for Care have compiled relevant guidance about produced information about the necessary checks employers should make.

Skills for Care’s  Safer Recruitment – Gathering and assessing criminal record information for UK and non-UK nationals, including displaced people offers practical help with 5 key recommendations relating to undertaking criminal record checks for refugees.

  1. Ask all applicants to complete a criminal record self-declaration form
  2. Carry out a Disclosure & Barring Service (DBS) criminal record check at the correct level for the job role
  3. Where possible, carry out overseas criminal records checks
  4. Carry out all other pre-employment checks and complete a fair pre-employment risk assessment as appropriate
  5. Make a final decision based on all information gathered within the recruitment process

Skills for Care’s wider guidance and templates are available in their Safe and fair recruitment guide, with has more information and templates to support safe recruitment, including checklists covering the whole recruitment process, data protection and record-keeping. The last page of this guide includes 4 appendices that can be downloaded as word docs:

  1. Appendix 1: Safer recruitment checklist
  2. Appendix 2: Criminal record self-declaration form for jobs covered by the ROA
  3. Appendix 3: Criminal record self-declaration form for jobs exempt from the ROA
  4. Appendix 4: Pre-employment checks and criminal record risk assessment

Modern slavery is the illegal exploitation of people for personal or commercial gain. Overseas workers are vulnerable and at great risk of modern slavery.

The resources below can be used by employers who are preparing to hire overseas recruits, as a starting point to find out more about modern slavery and how to spot the signs.

  • Stronger2gether has developed free toolkits and resources to inform and equip businesses with clear measures they can implement to deter, detect and deal with hidden exploitation and modern slavery in their business.
  • Hestia offers CPD accredited training on modern slavery awareness and has a free toolkit that focuses on how to spot the signs of modern slavery and make referrals (Free Toolkit here).
  • With input from experts across health, social care, the police, the justice system and the voluntary sector Skills for Care has developed a training framework setting out the knowledge and skills required by those who may meet victims and survivors of modern slavery and human trafficking.
  • The Home Office has compiled a suite of materials about modern slavery. This includes a modern slavery awareness booklet, labour exploitation information from the Gangmasters and Labour Abuse Authority and information about free e-learning courses offered by the Border Force on human trafficking.
  • The Modern Slavery & Exploitation Helpline have produced a resource pack with modern slavery information which includes links to information about spotting the signs of modern slavery and to their app which contains information about the indicators of modern slavery.
  • Migrant Help have produced a short explainer video about human trafficking


There are a number of considerations that employers must take when inducting an overseas recruit into the social care workforce. Please find information below about onboarding must-haves, welcome pack content and general support.

When recruiting overseas workers, it is important to make considerations and preparations that can be in place at the beginning of the onboarding process.

Human Like Us, has produced a useful list of onboarding and ongoing support suggestions for refugee workers. This includes some of the employer considerations below that should take place before the workers’ first day.

Before their First Day
  • Contact the employee before their first day – an opportunity for them to ask questions
  • “Warm up day” to meet the management, and team and tour the workplace
  • Support with logistics in getting to work and preparing for the day
  • Support to fill out paperwork
  • Information about what to expect during the induction

The Overseas recruitment bite-size guide for social care providers in England also provides many examples of what social care providers are doing to help people new to the UK to settle into the UK and in their new role before they start their first day of employment.

Some examples in the guide include:

  • Meeting and greeting at the airport
  • Information pack before arrival in the UK providing information about what to bring, clothing needed, adaptors etc
  • A welcome pack with useful items or information about where to get these items from, such as groceries, bedding and warm clothing. (Some overseas workers may have no experience living in a colder climate, so may not own a warm coat, gloves, duvet etc.)
  • A local guide to help people to navigate the local area and know what to expect e.g. how to register with a GP, what things cost, where the local shops are etc
  • Help to secure both short-term and long-term accommodation
  • A Whatsapp group that allows relationships to build between new recruits and the local team in advance of arrival and once over here

Overseas recruits should have a corporate and social induction. The corporate induction should be adapted for overseas recruits so that it is accessible. Numerous guides list valuable components of inductions for overseas recruits. Examples of these guides and notable actions are presented below.


CLEAR have produced an employing refugee toolkit that introduces the induction must-haves for refugees (see page 15).

CLEAR suggests that an effective induction will include:

  • Formal introductions to colleagues
  • Assigning tasks
  • Introduction to common workplace practices
  • Introduction to HR policies
  • Feedback
  • Setting clear mutual expectations

Alongside other components of a traditional induction they also suggest overseas recruits should take part in:

  • Essential training
  • Shadowing work colleagues
  • Information about key processes
Immigrant Council of BC

The Immigrant Employment Council of BC has also produced an onboarding toolkit for employers hiring Syrian refugees. While it has specific considerations for this cohort, there are useful onboarding must-haves including:

  • Preparation of current Workforce
  • Introduction to norms and practices
  • Comprehensive health and safety orientation

More Resources about Inductions

  • NHS Employers have a case study from University Hospitals Sussex NHS Foundation Trust focusing on how they inducted new overseas nurses.

During the induction phase, it will be important to provide overseas recruits with a welcome pack. This should include information about the role that they will be undertaking and also about the local area that they will be working/living in.

This can include:

Job Information
  • Information about the job and expected duties
  • Rota information – shift patterns and daily breaks
  • Team information
  • Relevant information about the site the employee will be working at
  • Company information – ethos, values
Local Information
  • Introduction to the local area – possible tour
  • Map of the local area
  • Public transport information
  • Useful contacts, e.g. GP, and Citizens’ advice
  • Information about the UK weather 
Health and Wellbeing Offers
Language Support

Settling In

There are a variety of resettlement support actions employers can take to help their new recruits settle into their role, into their local community and into the UK. Resources containing information about how employers can help are listed below.

Assigning an existing employee to act as primary contact for an overseas recruit during onboarding, can help the new employee integrate and settle in. There are lots of resources that detail different aspects of the buddying arrangements. Commonalities between approaches suggest that the role of the buddy may include:

  • Welcome on the first day
  • introduction to the team
  • assist the new employee and help them to understand their role
  • provide information about the workplace culture
  • answer any questions the employee may have

More information about buddying and peer support proposals can be found on the following sites:

There are many opportunities to help overseas recruits “settle in” and connect with people in their new locality. Employers can help to facilitate this by exploring the options below.

  • Family-friendly social events
  • Links with local communities
  • Link to existing refugee networks in the local area (if available)
  • Exploring existing staff networks


GOV.UK provides more information about the community sponsorship scheme from RESET that helps local community groups to welcome and support refugees directly in their local communities.

Local Authorities are working to support and deliver programmes for refugees and asylum seekers. You can find out more about this work here. 

Below are some examples of the support offered by different Local Authorities:

Resources about the UK
  • The Home Office has produced welcome guides including, Welcome: a guide for new refugees. This guide is available in different languages and contains information about a variety of topics relevant to someone moving to the UK including, employment, housing, benefits and healthcare. This is important to signpost recruits to as it provides information about life in the UK.
Resources about Social Care

6 Months and Beyond

There are a whole host of considerations that employers should think about around 6 months after employing an overseas recruit. This includes a trauma-informed response and exploring opportunities for ongoing professional development.

It is important to offer opportunities for ongoing professional development for your employees. Skills for Care have produced a guide about developing your workforce.

Career Planning

There are opportunities in social care and rewarding careers are available. It is important to have regular conversations with staff about their career in social care. You can signpost workers to relevant resources and support them to explore their career aims, goals and progression.

Useful resources to help aid these conversations:

  • Information about how to develop your career in social care from Skills for Care
  • Think Care Careers resource about exploring how to develop your career and different job roles in social care from Skills for Care
  • Information about different job roles in social care from Make Care Matter.
  • Information about roles available in social care from an NHS resource.
  • The National Careers Service also has useful information about the care worker role and how to progress.

Pastoral Support Checklist

A pastoral checklist is a good way for employers to identify the ways that they are supporting their employees during their employment. Examples of checklists and relevant resources that can help social care employees create a checklist are listed below.

NHS Pastoral Care Checklist

The NHS has produced a pastoral support checklist to support overseas recruits arriving in the UK. It can be found at the following link:  NHSEI’s Ensuring Good Quality Resettlement Support and Pastoral Care for Refugee Nurses

NCF Pastoral Support Checklist

NCF have produced an example of a social care specific checklist including points of consideration from topics in the pastoral care guide presented on this page. You can download an interactive version of the checklist or a pdf version of the checklist which you can print out. 

Further International Recruitment Resources