Frequently asked questions
Registration and relocation
What are the minimum requirements to get an interview for a social worker role in the UK?
The minimum requirements for a social worker role are a three-year undergraduate degree or a two-year postgraduate degree in social work from your home, which is approved by Social Work England. You’ll also need to have an overseas police check from all countries you have worked/lived in within the past five years, and passed the International English Language Testing System (IELTS) unless you were taught English during your degree programme (and can therefore go down the NARIC route).
In addition, you’ll need to have at least three years statutory or government experience within child protection or assessment, as these are the types of roles that will mostly need filling.
What’s covered in your relocation package?
Up to £8000 (in most cases)
Immigration health surcharge
Flights to the UK
1-3 months of accommodation
Essential items – I.e. – clothing, electrical goods, kitchen ware, cleaning items and the first food shop
In some cases, if there’s relocation money left over, you can use it for visas / flights for family members
Can I bring my spouse/family when I relocate to the UK?
Yes – once you’ve been issued a Certificate of Sponsorship (COS), which is a Tier 2 skilled visa, by your council. You’ll then be able to sponsor your immediate family (e.g. husband/wife and children under the age of 18) to be relocated with you. You’ll need to pay the cost of sponsoring your family as the councils don’t pay these costs. Find out more information on applying for a family visa, which usually takes 3-4 weeks (working days).
What’s the process to get my children, who are relocating to the UK with me, registered at a school?
If you’re applying from your home country, you will need to contact the local council in the area where you’re going to live. Follow your new local council’s application process to apply for a primary and/or secondary school place. You may need to provide proof of your new address (e.g. a rental agreement) and that you’ll live in the area before the start of the next school term.
What are the typical school holidays in the UK?
School holidays in the UK vary between regional local authorities. School calendars are split into three terms, with most schools having additional half-term breaks in the middle of each term, meaning that children usually get six breaks per school year. Generally, the holidays are:
• Autumn break: one week between October – November
• Christmas break: two weeks between December – January
• February break: one week between February – March
• Easter break: two weeks in April
• May break: one week in May
• Summer break: six weeks between July – September
Working in the UK
As a social worker, what salary can I expect?
Experienced social workers tend to receive a salary of £33,000 - £39,000 but this depends on certain factors such as location and experience (e.g. in London salary tends to be higher, but accommodation and the cost of living is also higher, so it’s usually relative).
Example offer and benefits below:
£3,000 “Golden hello” payment after 1 years’ service
Retention payments of £2000 after completing 2 years’ service, and
A further £2000 after 3 years’ service
Relocation allowance of up to £8,000
What support will I receive from Sanctuary International?
We’ll support you by reviewing your CV to ensure it meets the required criteria and will arrange for you to interview at a UK council (also providing mock interview prep). We’ll then help with the Social Work England registration and connect you with your council for general questions. We also help with the visa application process, as well as settling you into the UK. Don’t just take our word for it - look through our candidate case studies.
What help is there when I start working?
A representative from the council will meet and greet you at your new home, and then the following day you should be able to go and meet your team. You’ll be given a corporate induction into the council and receive a welcome pack as well as additional guidance and advice from your Sanctuary International consultant. As added support for new arrivals, we’ve partnered with Dr Muzvare Betty Makoni, an impressive advocate for international social work, who helps us prepare candidates for life in the UK through training sessions, webinars and legislation courses.
You’ll also have help to set up a bank account, as well as getting information about registering with a local doctor’s surgery and dentist. Don’t forget, we’re on-hand for any queries you may have.
What are the normal working hours and holiday entitlement?
Working hours are 37.5 hours per week. You’ll be entitled to at least 25 days annual leave, per year.
What sort of team will I be working in?
It depends on the service, but usually it’s either children in need, child protection or assessment.
What are the various acronyms used in UK social work, and what are their meanings?
Take a look at this list of acronyms, which may appear from time to time in your case notes.
Life in the UK
What are the house prices and living costs, and how do they vary nationally? And, what tourist attractions are there?
This depends on where you’re based, geographically. Read our blog on what to expect from life in the UK.
What’s the benefit of working and living in the UK?
There are many! The main benefits are the exciting professional opportunities that are available to you, enabling you to support your family. There’s also the stability of working for a UK council.
If you have any further questions, please get in touch.