How to make an international application to become a social worker in the UK

Over the last six months I have received many questions from social workers abroad wanting to come and work in the UK. For this reason I have been doing some research in the hope that this makes it easier for people who do not know what there options actually are.


Checklist before you make your international application?

  1. You must have completed your relevant training outside of the UK
  2. You need understand that police checks will be completed on any country where you have been more than 12 months
  3. You need to ensure that you have met the standards of proficiency for social workers
  4. If you have EEA (European Economic Rights) it promotes free movement within the EU so you will be able to apply for HCPC registration if you have the required qualifications.  This is around 30 countries at the moment
  5. If you are not a British citizen or from the EU or EEA you will need to obtain a visa through a sponsorship via an employer or an agency


How much does the international application cost?

The cost of the international application is a one-off fee of £495 which is non-refundable. Once your application has been received they will sent you an email to make the payment which will be available for 10 days.  If you go over this time you can contact them again and they will reissue this.


Steps to making my international application to becoming a social worker:

  • Evidence of the required qualifications
  • No concerning police reports
  • Verification of your identify
  • Evidence of Visa approval (if required)
  • Detailed evidence of training and practice which will be assessed against social work standards of proficiency
  • Evidence of your language test certificate (outside of EU)
  • Two professional references who are HCPC registered
  • Character reference from a person within the community or recognised professional


Once you have made your application how long will it take?

After you have sent off your application you will receive a confirmation letter from HCPC notifying you that they have received this and your payment.

  1. The initial processing will take up to 4 weeks. This will include any relevant background checks and contact with two professional referees.
  2. After this they will contact your education provider to confirm your qualifications and experience. There will be two separate assessors looking into your application before any decisions will be made. They will link your application to the standards of proficiency and compare this to the information that you have provided. This can take up to 60 working days and in some cases you may be asked to provide additional information.


Speaking and writing in English

You have to be able to speak and write to a high standard in English to be able to work as a social worker in the UK. You will be required to provide a certificate from the International English Language Testing System also known as IELTS.  This needs to have been completed within two years.


What are the possible outcomes made from the international application for social workers?

  1. Acceptance to the HCPC register
  2. Refusal to the HCPC register
  3. Request for additional information or an invitation to attend a Test of Competence


Additional important information:

  • Provide as much information as you can within your application. The decision is made based on what you have provided
  • If you become registered make sure you have professional indemnity insurance. If you are being employed check that you are covered for this and if you are self-employed you will need to take tis out yourself
  • If you are granted your HCPC registration you will need to ensure you re-register every two years
  • You will also need to ensure that you meet the CPD requirements for social workers


If you have any further questions please let me know. If am also aware of some agencies who are able to help support social workers wanting to come and work in the UK from all around the world.

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