What is a vulnerable person?

We recognise that some of the people we engage with through our recruitment activities will not always have the capacity to fully understand the nature of the service they are attempting to access, or the consequences of making a decision to move to another country and take up a new job..

An individual who finds it difficult to immediately make an informed decision about the choices offered to them is called a ‘vulnerable person’.

A vulnerable person may experience:

  • a diagnosed condition such as dementia
  • a recent bereavement
  • an undiagnosed or temporary mental health condition such as severe anxiety
  • learning difficulties
  • difficulty understanding the language

Our obligation to protect vulnerable people

NurseGate has an obligation to protect vulnerable people and those in vulnerable circumstances. Whenever we suspect that someone we engage with is lacking capacity or is in vulnerable circumstances – we call them a ‘vulnerable candidate’ – we will take steps to manage and sometimes terminate the contact in a way which seeks to:

  • protect that person
  • protect their dignity
  • note any desire they have expressed to move jobs or location.

Recruitment and vulnerable candidates

If a recruiter suspects that a person they are talking to may be vulnerable, they should end the conversation immediately. They should do this politely, without:

  • attempting to complete the recruitment process
  • asking about the individual’s capacity to make a decision or the existence of vulnerable circumstances

We know that it may be difficult in some situations for staff to decide whether or not someone is in a vulnerable circumstance or lacks capacity. We provide guidelines but our approach is always to err on the side of caution.

This applies to all recruitment, by our direct employees or through a third party or agency.

We believe everyone has the right to work and to travel if they wish to and are able to do so. That’s why we offer further support for people in vulnerable circumstances who want to make a decision about whether to continue searching for work abroad.

Our vulnerable person policy

  • NurseGate is compassionate towards its candidates and will never exploit vulnerability
  • we will always do everything we can to assist candidates to make informed decisions about their careers and location.
  • when dealing with candidates via telephone, we follow guidance provided by the Direct Marketing Association (DMA), specifically: NurseGate only works with telephone recruitment professionals who agree and follow the DMA’s guidelines for call centres dealing with vulnerable consumers (August 2015)
  • NurseGate allows staff / candidates or those acting on their behalf to declare vulnerability
  • NurseGate will not contact candidates with the aim of asking for finding work for them overseas where the candifdate’s records indicate a declaration of vulnerability
  • regardless of whether a declaration has been made or not, NurseGate does not work with candidates where it has reason to believe that they may be experiencing vulnerable circumstances and that placing the candidate with a new employer in a foreign country would be ethically wrong and/or harmful to the candidate
  • should a situation arise where NurseGate becomes aware that it has unknowingly accepted and placed an individual during a time that he or she was experiencing vulnerable circumstances, it will endeavour to return all fees accepted during this period
  • should NurseGate receive information regarding a candidate’s vulnerability from a third party, it will not act on any request to alter the candidate’s preferences unless the third party can provide evidence that he or she has authority to act on behalf of the candidate.
  • if NurseGate becomes aware of a situation where a third-party agency acting on its behalf has not acted in accordance with this policy, it may stop working with the agency or ask that individual recruiter responsible for non-compliance with the policy be removed from NurseGate work.


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