Skip to main content

How to apply to work in social care in Wales if you are not a UK citizen.

First published:
4 January 2023
Last updated:


We are currently recruiting staff to work in the social care sector.

If you are looking for work and enjoy working with people, you may want to consider a career in social care.

Social care is a rewarding career where you can make a real difference to people’s lives.

We welcome applications from anyone, including:

  • overseas/international
  • refugees
  • displaced people from Ukraine

What working in social care involves

Working in social care is very rewarding. You will offer support, encouragement, and guidance to the people you work with. You will help to meet their needs so they are able to have the best life they can. 

Take the quiz: could you work in adult social care?

Your duties will likely be the following things:

  • helping people with their personal care, for example, washing, dressing, having a meal and taking their medication 
  • listen, chat and have social interactions with the people you care for
  • support people with their interests
  • follow hygiene routines and maintaining health and safety standards
  • keep people safe and following safeguarding procedures
  • record keeping, making observations and reviewing progress
  • liaise with family / other professionals / relevant persons and establish good working relationships

For some roles in social care it is helpful to have a driving licence.

Qualifications and registration

To work in social care in Wales you must have certain documents and abilities. If you do not have social care qualifications, you still can work in certain roles. You then can do your qualifications as you work. 

Depending on your social care role you might need to become registered.

Registration means social care workers are part of a professional workforce. They can show they have the skills and knowledge to provide good care and support.

You must register with Social Care Wales if you work in:

  • a care home for children
  • secure accommodation
  • a domiciliary support service
  • an adult care home service
  • a residential family centre service

For some roles you can start and work towards registration, but for others you need to register before starting. You can find the qualification framework for social care on the Social Care Wales website. Social workers and managers also need to undergo a registration process.

If you have a qualification that is not on this list, you can ask to see if it is acceptable. All requests are on a case-by-case basis. Social Care Wales will let you know what you other training you might need to work in social care.

English language requirements

Wales is a bi-lingual country where Welsh and English are both spoken. If your English language levels are good, you will have no problems working in social care.

You will usually need to prove your English language abilities when you apply for a visa.

You must prove you can read, write, speak, and understand English to a certain level. People from some countries do not need to do this. Check to see the level of English required and a list of exempt countries.

Your future employer needs to make sure your English is suitable for the role you are applying for.

Immigration rules for non-UK nationals

Wales is part of the United Kingdom (UK) and UK immigration rules apply. It will depend on your situation if you're allowed to work in the UK.

If you are currently not in the UK, you will likely need a visa. You can check to see your best option to work on the UK Government visas and immigration website. This website provides all the details you need to apply for a visa. For example, you might be eligible for the health and care worker visa.

You must have a confirmed job offer before you apply for your visa. Depending on your visa, you might have up to 5 years before you need to extend it. You can apply to extend your visa as many times as you like, as long as you still meet the eligibility requirements. After 5 years you may be able to apply to be a resident in the UK. This is also known as indefinite leave to remain.

If you are a non-UK national and already in the UK, permission to work here will depend on your immigration status. You can check this and prove your right to work to an employer.

Roles in social care

What roles are available

There are about 60 different roles in social care, including:

  • Care workers: they assist people with care and support needs. Their workplace can be in a care home or in people’s own homes in the community.
  • Activities co-ordinators: generally based in care homes or day centres. They organise social activities such as outings, entertainment, games or crafts.
  • Supervisors and team leaders: lead or supervise a team of care workers. This can be in a care home, or with care workers in the community.
  • Social workers: support people for a limited time. For example, they offer support to people during an illness, age related problems, disability or bereavement. They also get involved when vulnerable people need protection.

In certain roles you can start working without having formal qualifications. It is more about treating people with respect, being kind and honest, and being a good communicator. Your employer will then be able to help you get the needed training and qualifications.

Your work can fit around your life, in social care there can be a lot of flexibility in the hours and times you work.

You can find more information on roles in social care on the WeCare Wales website.

If you live in Wales and would like to know more about working in social care, there is a free 3 day online course available.

How to find a job

There are many websites where employers advertise jobs in social care, such as:

If a career in social care interests you and you are in Wales already, the Working Wales service can help. They can support you to plan, prepare, and find a job or training course to suit you. They can also provide personalised expert careers advice and employment support. It is a free service available to anyone aged 16 and over and living in Wales.

If you are not in Wales, or the UK yet, you can apply for a job with a social care employer. An important question to ask is if they can sponsor you with your visa.

Another option is to enrol with a reputable international recruitment agency. They will help you through the process and can suggest potential employers.

Regardless of whether you are in Wales or applying from abroad you will still need an interview. Potential employers must be confident you have the right skills to work in social care. The type of interview will vary between providers (social care employers). The provider should tell you what to expect. If they do not, ask what the interview process will involve.

During the interview, the provider will ask you questions, including about:

  • the experience and skills you have
  • your full employment history (including any gaps)
  • if you have related qualifications, their content, and the level you studied

Documentation needed for the checks required to start work

Before you can work for a registered social care provider, they need to do some checks. The law in Wales requires this for everybody working in social care. You can only start once these are complete. You will need to supply certain documentation for these checks.

Some examples of what a provider may need includes:

  • identification (ID) and a photo of you: if you are from Ukraine, the Home Office should be providing temporary ID, when the Home Office has processed it, you will get a Biometric Residence Permit
  • your employment history and/or a CV (curriculum vitae)
  • at least two references: they may be a former employer, an academic reference, or personal references, employers may consider personal references in certain circumstances
  • an Enhanced Disclosure Barring Service (DBS) check: you can only work in social care if you have a satisfactory enhanced DBS check, this is a UK specific check and requires you to provide certain identification (ID) documents (your employer will apply for it)
  • your right to work in the UK: see general information about proving Right to Work to an employer, people from Ukraine can check for information about proving their immigration status
  • National Insurance (NI) number: apply for an NI number
  • evidence of your abilities to speak, write and understand English
  • bank account details (to pay your wages)

Your potential employer may want further assurances that you have no criminal convictions. This could be with a criminal record check via your home country embassy. Another name for it is ‘Certificate of Good Character’. This is because a DBS check would only show whether you have any convictions in the UK.

The employer should discuss their reasons for this check with you. If you have reasons for not wanting this, be open and explain your situation to the employer. For example, if there is a risk for you or your family if your home country discovers your location. 

The necessity for this type of check will depend on individual circumstances. More information about the police checks is available. Usually you will need to apply for the criminal record check in your home country.

How to get help with job applications

If you want to apply for a job in social care from outside the UK, you can do so. Many people manage the process themselves. There will be costs involved depending on your individual situation. It may be useful to research the process before you start. 

You can also apply using a reputable recruitment agency. They will be able to make it easier for you to go through the process. Agencies don’t usually charge you as the worker. If you have any doubt about anything, check your rights as a worker.

If you are already in Wales, Working Wales can help to improve your skills and with job opportunities. They can also help you to prepare for interviews and inform you of potential funding.

Your provider might also get support for employing you if you meet the criteria. This can be through the ReAct+ business Wales skills gateway scheme.

Modern slavery awareness

Modern slavery is the illegal exploitation of people for personal or commercial gain. International workers, refugees and other displaced people are especially vulnerable. There have been recent cases of modern slavery in the social care sector in Wales. It is important to be aware of the signs. Victims of modern slavery can be any age, gender, nationality, or ethnicity.

UK law protects your rights as a worker, and entitle you to:

  • at least the national minimum wage
  • receive an itemised payslip
  • have rest breaks and time off work
  • have paid holiday and sick pay
  • have fair and legal deductions from your wages
  • get a copy of your terms and conditions
  • have a safe working environment

If you have concerns about labour abuse and exploitation, please report this to the Gangmasters Labour Abuse Authority (GLAA). You also can report concerns of modern slavery to the Modern Slavery and Exploitation Helpline on 08000 121 700 or online.

You can find more detailed information on modern slavery and labour abuse in social care.

Useful links

Support with interviews and finding a job

Working Wales 

Support for refugees in the UK

Refugee Council

More about support for people from Ukraine

There is a guide for Ukrainians arriving in the UK.

Ukrainian citizens can use the Ministry of Internal Affairs of Ukraine website to apply for criminal record checks. To apply for this service, the Ukrainian citizen will need an electronic signature. The Embassy will then issue a confirmation letter. Applications to the Ukrainian Embassy can be via email ( The process usually takes 2 days after receipt of the application. The Embassy have asked that UK authorities accept records from the online system without confirmation from them.

General support and advice

Citizens Advice

Third Sector Support Wales

List of ethical recruiters

It might be difficult to identify a reputable international recruitment agency. The NHS has a list of ethical recruiters.