BMB: Recruiting overseas for social care providers in England

BMB is a family-run recruitment agency listed in the DHSC code of practice.

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The challenge

BMB International is a family run recruitment agency which is listed in the DHSC code of practice. We spoke to the founder's son Aaron, who is a Director at BMB.

The agency was started by Aaron’s mum who was a nurse who had moved to the UK from the Philippines in 1973 and grew from starting to assist other nurses from the Philippines with her knowledge and experience. One of the key principles of the agency is to provide nurses with the service that she did not have. They continue to “act as a cultural bridge,  overseas workers can always come back for advice.” 

“When Mum came over you had to sort everything out for yourself. Then the business grew from Mum starting to assist other nurses from the Philippines, as she understood the system and also what support people need throughout the process.” 

The solution

BMB have a base in the Philippines and so are able to provide a package of support that begins before departure. There is a pre-departure orientation before nurses leave the country to prepare and support families. 

Agency staff are hands on, staff will stay at the airport until people leave and there are staff to greet them at the other end. We make sure they are settled in and provide a welcome pack of familiar foods.2

BMB also work with the employee on finding accommodation, looking for somewhere that will be easily accessible for their place of work. This might be within walking distance or on a bus route. 

The impact

Over the years BMB International has assisted over 800 nurses, most of whom are still in employment in the UK.

Lessons learned

The more you do yourself, the more you will bring the costs down however you will of course need to offset this against the cost of you or someone who works for you doing the work yourself.

And of course, compare this one off cost per recruit to the ongoing cost of agency workers and you may find the numbers start to add up for you.

Employers typically pay for:

  • the first four weeks accommodation costs
  • payment of Certificate of Sponsorship fee
  • many also pay visa charges
  • charges relating to english language or any professional assessments, for example, OSCE exam to enable applicant to practise as a nurse
  • some cover the cost of flights.

Objective Structured clinical examination (OSCE)

Overseas nurses will need to pass a Nursing & Midwifery Council Test of Competence, which is made up of two levels, these can be sat in any order and candidates need to pass both. This process is managed by the Nursing & Midwifery Council. 

  • Computer-based training: There are test centres in many countries across the world and in UK cities. This costs £83
  • OSCE: There are four sites across the UK. These are Oxford Brookes, University of Northampton, Ulster University, Northumbria University. The cost is £794, cost for a resit is £397.