Coming over? START HERE!

I have put up this information in various previous posts but I thought it best to have a starting point (I do recommend reading through some of the other posts as well because I will not be repeating all the information). Follow the links and make sure you understand what you need to do.

If you are looking to move to England to practice Social Work you will need to consider several things. (All the information I am presenting is current as of Tuesday, March 25, 2014).

1. You need to be registered with the Health and Care Professionals Council (HCPC) to practice. Here is the application form you need to fill out. For your own sake, READ ALL THE INFORMATION IN THE TABS ON THE LEFT HAND SIDE OF THE PAGE. It will tell you what you need to do in order to register. If you do not meet the requirements for registration, you will not get a job here and nepotism only works if you’re already in the country AND have work experience here.

A bit more information can be found here.

2. If you’re coming from the US, you will need to be sponsored. This means you will need a job offer. I suggest going through either the NHS (National Health Service) website or Here is a list of local authorities and organizations that sponsor (this is a generic list of organizations, not specific to Social Work).

The National Health Service is more likely to hire clinical Social Workers. Whereas, jobsgopublic lists Social Work jobs for Local Authorities. This work is more casework based.

3. When you’re completing application for a job you have to be mindful of several things:

a. there are two documents you need to read IN DETAIL, the job description and the person specification.

– The job description will tell you your duties.

– The person specification is your outline. You will have to describe how your experience meets EVERY point on this document or you will not even get an interview.

b. you have to apply online

c. you cannot attach a CV or resume, you have to enter all your information on individual jobs separately into an online form.

d. try to use as many buzz words from the job description and person specification as possible but only if they apply to you. If you don’t understand what they mean google it. Don’t try to fudge it because you will be asked to explain yourself when you get an inteview.

e. understand that if there is someone from the UK or the EU/EEA with the experience they are looking for, you will not get the job.

f. you will need to know about all the relevant legislation information about the job you are going for because that is HUGE here. If you don’t know which legislation governs the work you do, you won’t get the job. This is a bit of help but don’t rely solely on this, as things change and make sure you know which parts apply to the work you want to do.

g. RESEARCH, RESEARCH, RESEARCH. Know as much as possible about the practice of Social Work in the UK and don’t just rely on one source. if you want the job you’re going to have to work for it.

h. Find out what the current immigration laws say. At the moment they only let in a certain number of migrant workers based on the shortage list which you can find here. Always look at the most recent document.

4. After you get a sponsor you will need to get your visa. This will more than likely be a Tier 2 visa unless you are already a UK citizen. Here is the information on Tier 2 visas (click on the link). Again, MAKE SURE YOU READ THROUGH ALL THE INFORMATION. No one will be able to tell you absolutely everything you need to know and you let yourself down if you don’t know what you’re getting into.

5. Make sure you have consider the following:

You have enough funds to sustain yourself for a few months

Conversion rates

Realistic costs of accommodation

Where you want to live in relation to where you are working

At present HSBC is the only place you can open a bank account until you have been here for a year

Public transport is good but it is not 24 hours. They have all night buses but they take circuitous routes because there is a limited number.

If you have children you need to look into the education system here

What your spouse will be doing when you come (are they coming on a spousal visa or applying to work themselves)

Visas for your children

You can access your US accounts from here but at an exceptional cost and although there is HSBC here, you get charged for accessing your US accounts

And any of relevant lifestyle details

6. If you’re coming here to practice as anything other than a Social Worker (psychotherapist for example as they are not covered by the HCPC; psychologists are) you may need to find out which relevant body you need to register with in order to practice.

7. My own piece of advice is to make sure within your first month or work you do a training that gives you the basics of how your profession or role is practiced here. I would suggest looking up the relevant organizations that work with your population. Here is just a few related to children and young people:

NSPCC – national society for the prevention of cruelty to children

NCAS – National Care Advisory Service

CAMHS – Child and Adolescent Mental Health Service



6 responses to “Coming over? START HERE!

  1. Nina

    April 14, 2014 at 6:35 pm

    Thank you so much for all the great information! I am now in the process of registering with HCPC via the international route. I am a US citizens with a MSW degree. Do you know approximately how long it takes to become registered. On the website they say an estimated 12-16 weeks… This seems very long, so I’m just wondering if you remember how long this process
    took you? Thank you again!


    • TG Consultancy

      April 15, 2014 at 9:10 am

      This is going to be so negative, but things can take a while. I guess it would depend on how many they are receiving. It did take a few of months when I got mine but I registered under the old organization and was “grandparented” into the HCPC. I think I started the process in May 2007 but didn’t get all my paperwork done until about July (this includes my visa and everything).


  2. England to US

    May 21, 2014 at 1:58 am

    I am assuming this is not your area of expertise, but do you have any knowledge of the process of getting your social work degree in England and going to the US to work? Do you know if the degree translates? Or if the US has a process for allowing social worker who received their degrees in England to become licensed in the US?


    • TG Consultancy

      July 3, 2014 at 9:48 am


      Sorry for the late reply. I am not sure and in terms of licensing, every state has their own rules. I would say – if you know what state you will be moving to – to google and find out who the regulatory board is for Social Work then get in contact with them to find out what they require. There are different levels of licensing as well so you will need to get in touch with the individual state. The good news is pretty much all of them have the information you will need listed on their website, you just need to find out the name of the department that manages it. I know teachers who have gone and needed to do a top up because of the differences in education and just from what I know of the system here, you might or might not have to do one for the Bachelor level which is more like casework etc here. But again depending on which state you are going to if you are trying for Masters level social work you may very well have to do more courses because in some places the Masters is a clinical degree. Here is a good place to start


  3. Liann Noble

    September 7, 2014 at 5:23 pm

    Thank you for the great advise. I am almost finished with the HCPC process and plan to come over to see how business is practiced. I have started reading legislation and doing research but anymore advise would be helpful. At present, I work as an MSW for last 15 years in children and adult services. I have the paperwork completed for my Italian passport, dual with USA.

    If you know of some recruiter or local council that is willing to work with me, please let me know.

    I read your articles and you are an impressive writer. Perhaps a PhD is in your future.

    If you have time, I could use some additional insider knowledge. My email is or work at

    Best regards,
    Liann Noble


    • TG Consultancy

      September 7, 2014 at 5:44 pm

      Hi Liann, I am glad you found it useful. I guess where you would work depends on what you want to do. Are you looking at clinical social work (in that case I would say look at the NHS, Community Mental Health teams or child and adolescent mental health teams, functional family therapy teams, multi-systemic therapt teams). If you’re looking at more at working with children and families I would say local troubled families teams, or on the casework side of things working for the local authority. You could have a look at organizations like, NSPCC, Action for Children, Banardos. It really depends on what you want to do. I would have a look at the link on the coming over page that links to organizations that sponsor workers and (this site lists vacancies in social work across the UK). I hope that’s a bit helpful. If you have any specific questions let me know and I will drop you an email! Good luck!



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