Top Overseas Recruitment Agencies In The UK

Top Overseas Recruitment Agencies In The UK

On June 10, 2022 | In Sponsor Licence | By A Y & J Solicitors Last Updated : February 06, 2024

Recruitment agencies bridge the gap between the best employers and prospective employees. UK-based businesses and foreign job-seekers in particular can benefit from this opportunity.

If you are a UK-based business looking to close the skills gap in your organisation, hiring overseas workers can be the ideal path forward. And if you’re an overseas worker with your sights set on working in the UK, you’re going to need to find a UK employer willing and able to sponsor your worker visa. Recruitment agencies can help to facilitate these introductions, making it easier for UK-based organisations to access the best global talent.

There is no shortage of recruitment agencies offering to facilitate these introductions, but we have discovered that not all companies are created equal. Some agencies have a stellar track record of supporting overseas workers in securing roles with UK visa sponsors. Working with the best of the best will help to increase your chances of success – whether you are an employer or an employee.

What to look for in a recruitment agency: for employers and job seekers

As mentioned above, there is no shortage of recruitment agencies offering to provide the same support to both employers and job seekers. So, how do you know who to trust with your candidate search? And how do job seekers know when they have found a reputable agency? In our experience, there are typically four factors that will determine if they have the skills required to support you. When choosing which overseas recruitment agency to assist in your search, make sure they are:

Knowledgeable

You want your overseas recruitment agency to have expert knowledge in every aspect of recruitment and visa regulations. Any recruiter can match a candidate to a role, but only a talented overseas recruitment agency will be able to support both candidate and employer through the visa application process.

They should be familiar with the Right to Work guidelines and be able to identify if a candidate will meet the requirements. They should also be able to advise employers on how to present the job opportunity to overseas candidates to give them the best possible chance of success.

Proactive

A proactive recruiter will save you time and energy by addressing issues as they arise. Rather than seeing every obstacle as an insurmountable issue, they will rise to the occasion and take action to overcome the issue.

Positive

Recruitment can be complex at the best of times, but international recruitment offers additional challenges to overcome. You want your recruiter to be eternally optimistic in the face of challenges and setbacks.

Interested in your business objectives 

A smart recruiter recognises that your recruiting objectives are linked to your wider business objectives. This allows them to become invested in your business goals and provide personalised support. When they are interested in your business goals, they will be far more likely to go above and beyond to help you find and secure the ideal candidate.

Top 9 UK recruitment agencies that recruit foreign workers

We recognise that there are many legitimate recruitment companies in the UK, but we have chosen to limit our list to the finest foreign worker recruitment agencies in the UK. These companies have an incredible track record of hiring foreigners for UK-based organisations.

1. Michael Page

The PageGroup brand is made up of 25 disciplines, each of which serves a certain market niche. They hire for permanent, temporary, contract, and interim positions and their clients range from SMEs to large, multinational corporations.

As they work across a wide range of sectors, including banking, digital, finance, health and insurance, you can be confident they will have a sector that can support your hiring objectives.

2. Hays

As one of the largest specialist recruitment firms, Hays has long been a market leader in the UK. They specialise in finding competent, professional, and skilled employees for a variety of sectors and occupations. 

They work in both the commercial and governmental sectors and deal with permanent, contract, and temporary employees. Their global workforce of approximately 6,200 employees (from 33 countries) collaborates to achieve excellent outcomes for their clients by sharing ideas, expertise, and experience across businesses and territories.

3 The Flame Lily

The Flame Lily specialises in healthcare recruiting for both private companies and the NHS. They work internationally, seeking qualified employees who fit the needs of their clients. Working with agencies both inside and outside the EU allows them to provide custom-made staffing solutions. 

As a result, they place a wide range of experts looking for work in the United Kingdom, Ireland, and Scotland. Doctors, nurses, allied professionals and information technology technicians are among their specialist areas of recruitment.

4. MCK Global Recruitment

MCK Global Recruitment is a UK-based recruitment agency with a global reach. They bring together UK visa sponsors with overseas applicants to help address skills gaps and improve outcomes for employers. 

They also provide relocation assistance to qualified individuals, guaranteeing a smooth professional transition to the United Kingdom. MCK Global Recruitment hires both national and international candidates on behalf of successful UK companies. Logistics, IT, finance, and the health sector are just some of their areas of expertise.

5. Pearls International

Pearls International is a specialist healthcare recruitment agency based in the UK with a global reach. They work with private healthcare providers and the NHS to help close skills gaps and ensure patients receive the best possible care.

Around 16.5% of all NHS workers are foreign nationals, which highlights the importance of international recruitment for the healthcare sector. Pearls International helps to support UK-based health organisations to meet their staffing requirements.

6. Airswift

Airswift is a specialist international recruitment agency with a special emphasis on technology and engineering recruitment. Based in the UK, they help UK employers to expand their search to international audiences. Their country hiring guides offer invaluable support to employers looking to find workers overseas.

7. Impellam Group

Impellam’s speciality teams provide skilled recruiting services for permanent and contract opportunities, using their in-depth industry expertise and a wide network of specialist candidates. Their scope of operations is simply astounding.

They oversee the employment process for their clients from beginning to end, offering performance gains and cost savings along the way. This allows its customers to concentrate on their primary business. Impellam Group also offers a specialist recruitment service for Ukrainian nationals looking for work after being displaced by the war.

8. REED

REED provides permanent, contract, temporary, and outsourced recruitment services, as well as IT and HR consultancy. REED has been assisting job searchers and companies in Europe, the Middle East, and the Asia Pacific since 1960. 

REED has 350 offices across the world, employs 3,000 people, and provides world-class service in over 30 specialities. Its mission is to provide the finest recruitment experience possible by combining human enthusiasm, market understanding, cutting-edge technology, and exceptional service.

9. Skills Provision

Skills Provision is a job network that offers a wide range of international job opportunities. They’re situated in the United Kingdom, and one of their main focus areas is worldwide remote labour supply. Remote employment and European job opportunities are two of their areas of expertise.

How to hire overseas workers using a recruitment agency

To hire a worker from outside the UK – including EU citizens – a UK-based organisation will need a valid sponsor licence. There are also requirements for the candidate, as they will need to qualify for the new Points Based System visa, typically the Skilled Worker Visa.

How to get a UK visa sponsor licence:

Before you can hire overseas workers, you will need to apply for a sponsor licence. To do this, you will need to submit an online application form with supporting documents to demonstrate that you are eligible to sponsor a worker’s visa.

As part of your application, you will typically need to provide four specified supporting documents as evidence of your trading presence in the UK, alongside a cover letter to provide background information about the company.

The list of essential documents varies depending on whether you are representing a government agency, a startup, a franchise, or a small business. The required documents could include:

  • Bank statements for your business
  • VAT registration certificate
  • Evidence of HMRC employer registration, such as PAYE and Accounts Office Reference Number
  • Proof of company premises ownership, lease, or rent agreement
  • Latest audited or unaudited financial statements (audited accounts are mandatory if your company is legally obliged to file audited accounts)
  • Evidence of your registration if you are required to be registered with and/or inspected/monitored by a regulatory authority to operate lawfully in the UK

Alongside these documents, you’ll also need evidence that your organisation has employer’s liability insurance of at least £5 million.

The Home Office may occasionally request extra documentation, such as proof of the company’s HR operations, in order to determine if the compliance standards and sponsorship obligations will be followed. The Home Office could also visit your premises to determine if you are a suitable sponsor.

Sponsors must follow immigration restrictions and the UK legal system in order to be granted a licence.

It’s important to remember that sponsorship is a privilege, not a right. It’s possible to secure your licence and then have this downgraded if you fail to follow the guidelines and regulations. If this happens, you will have to pay for a road map to help get your organisation back on track, and then follow these recommendations before your A-rating can be restored. 

Need help with your application?

If you are a UK employer looking to expand your recruitment activities overseas, get in touch with our team today. We can help to guide you through the sponsor licence application process to help increase your chances of success. 

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A Y & J Solicitors is a multi-award winning, 14+ years experienced, recommended by Legal 500, boutique UK immigration law firm based in Central London. Having assisted 5000+ clients, we are well equipped to help you with our ‘In It To Win It’ approach. For your assurance and confidence, we are pleased to share our trust rating of 4.9/5 based on 1000+ reviews on Trustpilot & Google.

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