I Refugio Nov 21, 2019 3:57:12 PM 11 min read

What is the true cost of recruiting international nurses


When it comes to sourcing international nurses from recruitment agencies, it seems that the discussion of recruitment cost only relates to the introduction fees for each successful hire. There is less consideration given to how long it takes to hire nurses which typically takes between 3- 6 months, and sometimes longer for most agencies.


We attempted to calculate this huge overhead in relation to the time of hire it takes IANS to recruit and deploy nurses from overseas. It is interesting to see the true recruitment cost beyond the headline costs. Given the typical reactive recruitment environment of international nurses, the average deployment time is 24 weeks from job interview to entering the UK on the right work visa, during which time the role is unfilled.

For this period, there is either no productivity, or productivity is provided by diverting someone else, likely a senior nurse, or by using an agency nurse. All these temporary solutions have a tangible cost and if there is delay in the  recruitment timeline the cost multiplies. 

We have recently been appointed by a leading NHS trust in the south of England to help them fill their nursing vacancies. Our promise was simple but very bold:

                "We guarantee that the candidates whom you interviewed from us and accepted your job offers will enter the UK within 4-6 weeks".

The first interview was held on 02/10, the second on 06/11 and the third on 02/11. They interviewed a total of 24 candidates with IELTS/OET and CBT test pass certificates and the first group entered the uk on 13/11 (we delivered!), in just 5 weeks from 15/10, the date offer letters have been received and accepted. It is important to note that if the offers were made on the date of interview, the candidates could have arrived the in the 4th week which is two weeks earlier than promised.

Assuming that a band 5 registered nurse starts at £11.80 an hour, an agency nurse cover costs an average of £32.26 per hour and the cost of productivity loss as identified above amounts to £45 (three times the salary of an experienced nurse taken out of the ward to cover), we have calculated the cost and our ability to reduce the hiring process to 6 weeks has significant savings from £26,034 up to £37,500 per nurse (see chart above).

"We guarantee that the candidates whom you interviewed from us and accepted your job offers will enter the UK within 4-6 weeks."



If your hiring time is more than 6 weeks and this is costing you as assumed above, please get in touch to know how we can help you eliminate completely your agency spend.