Guidance for applicants who qualified overseas
Guidance for people who qualified outside the UK and who would like to apply to join the register.
Guidance for applicants who qualified overseas
Last updated: 29 November 2023
- About this guidance
- How to apply to join the register
- Pre-application checklist
- Documents not written in English
- How long will my application take?
- Contacting you for further information
- Updates on the progress of your application
- Verifying your identity
- Qualification requirements
- Updating skills and knowledge
- Knowledge of English
- Employment and registration history
- Safe and effective practice
- Submitting your application
- Making a decision about your application
- Our register
- Misuse of title cases
- Appealing a decision
- Annex 1: Countries where English is the first and native language
- Annex 2: Citizenship list
- Annex 3: Listed offences
- Version history
About this guidance
This guidance is for people who qualified outside the UK who would like to apply to join the Social Work England register. This includes people with European Economic Area (EEA) or Swiss qualifications.
Anyone who wants to practise as a social worker in England must be registered with Social Work England. You must have received your registration number from us before you start work .
This guidance explains how to make an application to register online.
[note 1] Regulation 28 of The Social Workers Regulations 2018
How to apply to join the register
You must apply to join the Social Work England register before getting employment in the UK. If you do not meet the registration requirements, you cannot practise as a social worker.
If you are applying to register with us for the first time, you need to create an online account.
Before you apply to join the Social Work England register you should (do both of the following):
- read this guidance thoroughly
- refer to the pre-application checklist and prepare your documents. Throughout your online application, you will be required to provide evidence that shows how you meet our registration requirements. Required documentation not supplied at online application stage will delay the assessment
- make sure you have the money to pay the fees. We’ll ask you to pay a non-refundable scrutiny fee of £495 as part of your application. Depending on when you apply, you may also need to pay a registration fee of up to £90. Please see our 'fees' section for more details
To complete the application process, you will need (all of the following):
- a personal email to create your online account where we can message you
- your passport for identification
- evidence of knowledge of English
- evidence of your social work qualification and transcript. If you have two social work qualifications (for example a BA and a MA in social work), provide evidence of both
- evidence of training and development experience which relates to your social work qualification
- the professional email address for your course provider
- evidence of your skills and knowledge (if you completed your qualification more than 2 years ago)
- details of any current and previous social work related employer(s)
- details of your previous or current regulator (if you are currently, or have even been registered to practise as a social worker in any country)
- details of any convictions, cautions, penalty notices and criminal investigations
- details of any health conditions that may affect your practice
- details of any occasions when your fitness to practise has been found to be impaired by any regulatory body (or any open or ongoing investigations)
- details of any occasions when you have been barred from working with children or vulnerable adults
You may also need to provide (either of the following):
- a course information form (your university will complete and stamp this)
- a letter explaining how your education training and experience meets our professional standards
You will only need to provide these documents if your course is not on our list of assessed overseas qualifications.
You must notify third parties that we will be contacting them to verify your information.
Documents not written in English
Any documents that are not written in English must be accompanied by a certified translation . This means that the translator should confirm, by writing on the translation (all of the following):
• that the translation is a ‘true and accurate translation of the original document’
• the date of the translation
• the full name and contact details of the translator (or a representative of the translation company)
[note 2] Rule 23 of The Social Work England (Registration) Rules 2019
How long will my application take?
Please supply everything on the pre-application checklist. If we do not need to request any additional information to support your application, we aim to complete an initial assessment of your application in 60 working days. The 60 working days do not include Saturdays, Sundays or bank holidays.
If we need to request any supporting documents (including clearer identification documents) your application will take longer.
Contacting you for further information
We will contact you via the message centre of your Social Work England online account if we need any further information from you to process your application. It is your responsibility to check for communications and respond within 28 calendar days. You are encouraged to provide this information early, so that if documents provided do not meet our standards, your case officer can advise and you are able to provide the correct information within the 28 day timescale.
Once we receive further information, this will be dealt with in date order and we will continue to assess your application.
Check your emails
Please add the email address [email protected] to your safe senders list. Check that emails from us do not go into your junk mail folder.
Updates on the progress of your application
We will not provide updates or confirm receipt of documents via email, phone or the online message centre. This enables case officers to prioritise assessing applications in a timely manner. Due to data protection, we are unable to give any third parties any information or updates about the progress of your application.
Verifying your identity
To verify your identity, please use the online verification service. This will require your biometric passport.
If you are not successful (or choose not to use the online identity verification), we will manually verify your identification.
Our registration management team is trained in document fraud identification. They will manually review your documents for authenticity.
Passport identification documents submitted should (all of the following):
- be clear and legitimate
- be high resolution colour photographs (not scans)
- show all 4 edges
If you are attaching ID for manual verification
Please note (all of the following):
- we need to be able to see all 4 edges of documents and zoom in to see the numerous security features
- if your copies are not clear enough and we are unable to verify their authenticity, we will ask you to send additional high resolution copies
- providing identification that needs to be manually verified will delay the application process
Can I register in a different name to the one on my official documents?
The name that appears on the public register must be the name that you use when you are practising as a social worker in England.
If this is different from the name stated on your official documents, you will need to provide correspondence from your employer. This must confirm (all of the following):
- the name you are employed under
- the name you practise under
- that anyone you might encounter in the course of your work knows the name you practise under (including, but not limited to, colleagues, service users and the wider public)
Once your employer has provided a letter, we can ensure the public register reflects the name you practise under.
To register as a social worker, you must have (done either of the following) :
- completed a social work qualification which we are satisfied is of a standard comparable to an approved English social work qualification
- completed additional social work training or experience in the UK or elsewhere, which satisfies us you meet the required standards for admission to the register
For us to be satisfied that your qualification is of a standard comparable to an approved English social work qualification, you must have (all of the following):
- completed at least 200 days (including up to 30 skill days) gaining different experiences and learning in practice settings. A day is a minimum of 7 hours
- completed placements in at least 2 practice settings providing contrasting experiences
- completed a minimum of one placement within a statutory setting. This should provide experience of statutory social work tasks (involving high risk decision making and legal interventions)
You can find further information about the standards expected of social work courses in our qualifying education and training standards (2021).
If your course does not meet these requirements, we may consider your additional work experience.
[note 3] Schedule 1(1)(c) of The Social Workers Regulations 2018
Evidence of your qualification
As evidence of your qualification, you must provide (all of the following):
- a colour copy of your social work qualification certificate
- the name, address and email address of your course provider
- the name, address and email address of the awarding body
- a colour copy of your full transcript showing all the modules you studied
Your certificate must show the date your qualification was awarded. If it does not, you will need a letter from your institution confirming this date.
In accordance with our legislation, we have a list of overseas qualifications which we have assessed since 2 December 2019. We have confirmed these as equivalent to our standards.
If your course is not on the list of overseas qualifications, you must provide a course information form and letter to confirm (all of the following):
- the course name
- the course provider
- the course end date
- the year the qualification was awarded
Course information form
If your course is not on the list of overseas qualifications, you or your course provider should complete a course information form. You should do this before applying for registration, and include it as part of your application.
The course information form gives us information about the areas you covered throughout your social work qualification.
You do not need to complete a course information form if your course matches an entry on the list of overseas qualifications. It must match on all 3 criteria:
- the name of the course
- the name of the university
- the course end date
If your course is not an exact match, you or your course provider must complete the course information form.
To support your application, write a letter explaining how your education, training and experience meet our standards.
The purpose of this letter is to help us consider all of your relevant education, training and experience against our standards. We encourage you to include as much information as possible to support your application.
Qualifications completed more than 2 years ago
This information is in 2 sections, set out below:
- If you have been practising as a social worker within the last 12 months in a regulated country
- If you have not been practising as a social worker within the past 12 month in a regulated country
1. If you have been practising as a social worker within the last 12 months in a regulated country
For each role, you should provide (all of the following):
- your job title
- the name, address and email address of your employer
- dates of your employment
- a description of your duties
- dates and details of any training, relevant study or continuing professional development (CPD) you completed
- evidence that you have worked for at least 30 days in the last 12 months (if you qualified between 2 and 5 years ago)
- evidence that you have worked for at least 60 days in the last 12 months (if you qualified more than 5 years ago)
You must also provide (all of the following):
- the name of the regulatory body you were, or are, registered with
- the contact details for the regulatory body
- your registration number with that body
- the dates you were registered with that body
- confirmation as to whether registration with the regulator was a mandatory requirement of the role
We will then decide whether this work is enough to exempt you from a period of updating your skills and knowledge.
2. If you have not been practising as a social worker within the past 12 month in a regulated country
You’ll need to give us evidence to show how you have kept your skills, knowledge and experience up to date .
You must do this if (either of the following apply):
- you gained your recognised social work qualification more than 2 years ago and you’ve not been practising as a registered social worker within the past 12 months in a regulated country
- you have not practised social work since you qualified
[note 4] Rule 14(2) of The Social Work England (Registration) Rules 2019
What happens next?
Our registration advisers will assess whether your qualification is of an equivalent standard to those we recognise in England .
Our registration advisers are qualified social workers and independent from Social Work England.
If the registration advisers decide that your course and training do not meet our standards, they will consider whether your experience makes up for this.
If there are significant areas in which your qualification does not meet our standards, we may reject your application.
Updating skills and knowledge
You’ll need to provide evidence that you’ve completed relevant education and/or training .
You can use one or more of the following 3 options to update your skills, knowledge and experience :
- supervised practice
- formal study
- private study
However, private study can make up no more than half of the required period of updating your skills, knowledge and experience.
How much information to provide
How much information you need to provide depends on when you qualified as a social worker.
If it is between 2 and 5 years since you qualified, you need to show that you have spent at least 30 days (210 hours) updating your skills, knowledge and experience.
If you qualified more than 5 years ago, you need to show that you have spent at least 60 days (420 hours) updating your skills, knowledge and experience.
We consider a day to be a minimum of 7 hours. The days do not need to be continuous, but they must be completed in the last 12 months before you submit your application.
How to submit your evidence
Keep a diary of any activities completed as part of updating your skills and knowledge. Then, complete the relevant updating skills and knowledge form. Submit the form with your application.
Supervised practice involves working under the supervision of a social worker in a social work related role. This can be in the UK or another country. You should carry out social work duties.
Your examples of supervised practise must be relevant to social work in the UK.
You must evidence your learning and experience that you gained while working under a supervisor of social work.
If social work is not regulated in the country you wish to undertake your supervised practice, you can still be supervised by a social worker in that country. You must provide full details of what your supervised practice involved.
Where should I do supervised practice?
We recognise that social work skills and knowledge are used in many organisations that provide services and support to improve the lives of vulnerable people.
You can do supervised practice in local authorities and other settings in the health and social care sector. This is as long as they provide the opportunity to practise using social work skills and knowledge.
Your supervised practice could be a placement you have arranged, or paid employment in a role specifically related to social work. For example, carrying out social work duties as (any of the following):
- a social work assistant
- a family support practitioner
- a support worker
Please note that we do not arrange supervised practice for applicants.
Your supervisor must adhere to all of the following:
- they must be registered with the relevant regulatory body for the duration of your supervised practice
- they must have been registered as a social worker for at least 3 years continuously
- there must be no perceived conflict of interest between you and your supervisor
- they must not be subject to any fitness to practise sanctions or interim orders
The supervising social worker does not necessarily have to be based where you do your practice. However, you must negotiate with them how they will supervise and assess the work you do.
We also expect that your workplace supervisor or manager is aware that you are working with a social worker to update your skills and knowledge. They should contribute to the process.
There must be no perceived conflict of interest between the supervisor and the applicant.
What counts as supervised practice?
We do not specify the activities that you must undertake, but they must link to social work activity in the UK. This could include, but is not limited to (any of the following):
- undertaking or shadowing assessments
- social work care planning
- applying legislation
- signposting and liaising with other agencies
- attending team and multi-disciplinary meetings
- case recording
- providing information, support and guidance to service users and their families
- shadowing social workers
- any other activities relevant to the social work setting
You are not expected to carry your own caseload.
You can view further examples of supervised practice on our updating skills and knowledge webpage.
What information to provide
For each period of supervised practice you do during the 12 month period, you must provide (all of the following):
- the contact details of your supervisor (this must be the same person who is signing off your updating skills and knowledge form)
- the name of the regulatory body they’re registered with
- their registration number
- details of the setting where you have undertaken your period of supervised practice
- the dates and number of hours of your supervised practice
- details of what your supervised practice involved, including (all of the following):
- activity type and description of what the task involved
- any learning from the experience
- how your experience relates to social work practice in the UK
Guidance for supervisors
The social work duties you supervise must align to social work in the UK.
We believe that the level of supervision and the activities carried out are best decided between the applicant and their supervisor. These decisions should be based on (all of the following):
- the learning needs of the applicant
- the type of service they’re working in
- the expertise of the supervisor
We rely on the supervisor’s assessment of (both of the following):
- the applicant’s knowledge and skills
- the applicant's capability to perform a social work role in line with our professional standards
The applicant will then ask their supervisor to complete part of the form and sign a declaration. Once we receive this we will (do all of the following):
- contact the supervisor to verify the contents of the form
- ask the supervisor to verify that the supervised practice has been completed to a satisfactory level
- ask the supervisor to confirm that your learning has been reflected in your practice
We do not ask supervisors to provide a report. However, it is good practice to keep records of supervision sessions to share with the applicant.
We accept postgraduate courses as formal study. This could be a degree, diploma, return to social work programme, or shorter course. This is as long as (both of the following):
- a qualification in social work was mandatory to enrol on the course
- the course is linked to a university
We must also be confident that the course content and quality assurance processes and governance are of a sufficient standard.
The following do not count as formal study:
- CPD completed in the workplace
- online learning that is not provided by a university
However, these activities can count as private study.
Evidence of formal study
You’ll need to upload a high-quality copy of your qualification certificate and/or a copy of your transcript.
We will also contact your course provider for confirmation.
Private study is a way of updating your skills and knowledge through self-structured learning. Examples of the types of activities that you may include in your period of private study are (any of the following):
- reading journal articles or books which relates to social work in the UK
- reading information on relevant websites
- attending training courses
- reflecting on and recording your learning
Private study can make up no more than half of your required period.
You will need to keep a record of the activities you do throughout any period of private study.
When you apply to join the register, you will need to demonstrate how each aspect of your private study has:
- contributed to your learning
- enabled you to meet our professional standards
For each day or activity that makes up your private study, it is important that you keep a record of:
- the date
- the number of hours spent
- what you did
- how this helped you meet our professional standards
Why do we require evidence of updated skills, knowledge and experience?
Social work is a constantly evolving profession. Many things impact social work, for example (any of the following):
- new legislation is introduced
- local and national policy is revised and updated
- learning from case reviews and research takes place that may impact on practice
Changing cultural and social factors also shape the work undertaken by social workers and the issues they must be aware of and respond to. England has a legal framework for children's social work, adults social work and mental health social work which may be different from other countries. If you gained your social work skills outside of the UK, your skills and experience will need to align with social work in the UK.
As the regulator, we must ensure that those joining the profession are fit to practise and can uphold our professional standards.
Applicants often find that undertaking this period of updating their skills and knowledge helps them to prepare and develop confidence for their return to social work employment.
It is your responsibility to ensure that what you learn during a period of updating your skills, knowledge and experience is enough to ensure that you meet our professional standards.
Knowledge of English
Our legal framework requires us to be satisfied that you have knowledge of English. This means you need to be able to demonstrate you can do all of the following:
- speak and write in English
- understand people when they speak to you in English
- understand documents written in English
Why have we introduced English language controls as a new registration requirement?
The Law Commission recommended that regulatory bodies carry out proportionate language controls on those applying to join professional registers.
The government agreed, stating this was a priority to ensure public protection.
In order to practise safely and effectively, every social worker must be able to understand and communicate effectively with the people they work with, those involved in their care and other professionals.
This follows the introduction of language controls for other regulated professionals including doctors, nurses, dentists and pharmacists, as well as a code of practice on English language requirements for public sector workers .
[note 9] The Immigration Act 2016, Part 7
Evidence to demonstrate your knowledge of English
There are 3 ways you can demonstrate your knowledge of English . These are (any of the below):
- an International English Language Testing System (IELTS) certificate
- a social work qualification awarded in a country where English is the first and native language. The qualification must have been taught and examined in English
- proof you have practised social work in English in a country where English is the first and native language
[note 10] Rule 16 of The Social Work England (Registration) Rules 2019
1. IELTS certificates
For us to accept an International English Language Testing System (IELTS) qualification, your certificate must show (all of the following):
- that you took the full academic version of the test. We cannot accept:
- the general test
- the IELTS in-centre online
- the online indicator test
- that you got an overall score of at least 7.0
- the original stamp and test report form number
- that you received your IELTS qualification in the last 5 years
We do not accept UK ENIC (the UK National Information Centre) for the recognition and evaluation of international qualifications and skill. This was previously known as National Academic Recognition Information Centre (NARIC).
We will verify all results on the official IELTS verification service.
2. Social work qualifications
It may be possible to use your recognised social work qualification as evidence of your knowledge of English. To do this, your qualification must have been (all of the following):
- awarded within the last 5 years
- obtained in a country where English is the first and native language (see below)
- entirely taught and examined in English
We’ll contact your course provider to confirm that the qualification was entirely taught and examined in English.
3. Practising social work in English
If you’ve been registered and practising as a social worker in a country where English is the first and native language, this can be used as evidence of your knowledge of English.
To do this, all of the following must apply:
- you were registered and practising for at least 1 year. This must have been within the last 5 years
- social work is regulated in that country
- an English language assessment was required for registration
You’ll need to provide:
- details of the regulatory body you were registered with
- contact details for your employer
First and native language
You can find a list of the countries we currently recognise as having English as their first and native language at the end of this guidance in Annex 1. We use this list to determine whether someone meets our English language requirements in 2 ways:
- to decide whether their practice in the country demonstrates their knowledge of English
- to decide whether a qualification from that country demonstrates their knowledge of English
Please note that a first and native language is different to an official language.
If you hold a passport for a country on our citizenship list, we can consider this as evidence of your knowledge of English.
If you’re a British national (overseas) you will be required to undertake an IELTS test.
Employment and registration history
If you are currently working in the UK (or outside the UK), we need your employer’s contact details. We encourage you to include additional information from your employer or supervisor to support your application.
Registration outside of England
You should tell us if you have been registered with another regulator. We need information about your registration history including confirmation of the dates of your registration and whether there is any fitness to practice history. You need to tell us (all of the following):
- the regulatory body you were (or are) registered with
- contact details for the regulatory body
- your registration number with that body
- the dates you were registered with that body
We will contact the regulator directly to get the information.
You may wish to check with the regulator before you apply to join the Social Work England register. This is to ensure that they will provide the information we need within our timescales of 28 calendar days.
If you are currently registered with a regulator in another country, we strongly advise you to contact them before you apply to Social Work England. This is to ensure that you are adhering to the rules and regulations in that country. Failure to do so could result in us rejecting your registration.
If the country you are practising in does not regulate social workers, there is no need to take any action.
Safe and effective practice
Our legal framework requires us to be satisfied that you’re able to practise safely and effectively .
You must declare anything that could affect your ability to practise safely and effectively to us.
You should read the safe and effective practice guidance carefully to decide whether you should make a declaration to us at the time of applying.
We will request further information for any declaration made as part of your application.
Things that impact your ability to practise could include, but are not limited to (any of the following):
- criminal proceedings
- findings by other regulatory bodies. For example, if another regulator (that you are or have been registered with) finds that your fitness to practise is impaired
- if you are barred from working with children or vulnerable adults
- health conditions that affect your ability to carry out your usual duties as a social worker
[note 11] Regulation 11(2)(b) of The Social Workers Regulations 2018
Before you submit your application, we’ll ask you to complete a declaration. The declaration will ask you to confirm (all of the following):
- I confirm that I have read, understood and will comply with Social Work England’s professional standards .
- I confirm that I have read and understood the privacy notice.
- I understand that Social Work England will process my data as required by the Social Worker Regulations 2018 and associated rules.
- I agree to pay the fees for my registration.
- I understand that Social Work England may contact other relevant person(s) or organisations in order to:
- obtain further information about my application
- verify the information that I have provided
- I agree that any person who is so contacted may provide Social Work England with any information about me which that person holds.
- I confirm that the information I have provided in this application is correct and understand that fraudulently procuring an entry in the Social Work England register is an offence under the regulations for which I may be prosecuted.
[note 12] Rule 15(6) of The Social Work England (Registration) Rules 2019
Submitting your application
You should submit your application via your Social Work England online account. Do this once you have (done both of the following):
- ensured that your application to the Social Work England register will meet our requirements
- gathered all of the documentation (including completing your updating skills and knowledge if required)
If you are having issues with logging into your account or progressing through the online application process, please refer to our website support guide.
If you require reasonable adjustments please contact us.
Contacting third parties
There may be several third parties that we will need to contact in order to make an assessment of your application. For example (any of the following):
- previous employers
- education providers
- other regulators
We recommend that you contact them in advance of making an application. You should explain our requirements and that they need to reply to any requests within 28 calendar days.
Making a decision about your application
Once we have received your application, you will be allocated a case officer who will review the information you have provided.
Applications are assessed in date order. We will not prioritise any applications based on employment start dates.
As an applicant, you are ultimately responsible to ensure that we receive the information we need in order to complete an assessment. We will contact you via the message centre of your online account if we require any additional documents or information. You must ensure that we receive these within 28 calendar days if you would like to continue with your application .Failure to respond within given timescales will result in the application being closed and you will be required to reapply to the register .
We will not provide updates regarding progression of your case or confirm receipt of documents via email, phone or the online message centre. This enables us to assess your application in a timely manner.
When making a decision about your application we have 3 options. We may:
- accept your application to join the register
- refuse your application to join the register
- accept your application with conditions
You can read more about registration with conditions.
You must also pay a non-refundable scrutiny fee of £495 as part of the application.
In some cases, we can waive your scrutiny fee. This is if (both of the following apply):
- you are currently registered with one (or more) of the following UK social work regulators:
- the Northern Ireland Social Care Council
- the Scottish Social Services Council
- Social Care Wales
- the other regulator has assessed your qualification as equivalent to their standards
If your application is successful, we will inform you via the message centre in your online account. We’ll also ask you to pay the registration fee .
When you first join our register, your registration fee will be calculated based on the length of time remaining before the end of the current registration period.
Each registration period runs from 1 December to 30 November . If your application is approved between:
- 1 December and 28 February (29 February if it is a leap year), you will pay £90.00
- 1 March and 31 May, you will pay £67.50
- 1 June and 31 August, you will pay £45.00
- 1 September and 30 November, you will pay £22.50
You must pay this fee in full within 10 working days of our first request for payment. If you do not pay your fees within 10 working days, we’ll close your application . If you still wish to practise as a social worker, you will need to make a new application to join the register. You are not registered until your fee is paid and you have received your unique registration number.
You’ll need to pay a £90 registration fee annually when you apply for renewal . The renewal period is 1 September to 30 November . Read our guidance on fees.
[note 15] Regulation 17(1)(a) of The Social Workers Regulations 2018 and Rule 4(2) of The Social Work England (Registration – Fees) Rules 2019
[note 16] Rule 55 of The Social Work England (Registration) Rules 2019
[note 17] Rule 9(3) of The Social Work England (Registration – Fees) Rules 2019
[note 18] Regulation 17 of The Social Workers Regulations 2018
[note 19] Rule 56 of The Social Work England (Registration) Rules 2019
How to pay
The easiest way to make payments is via your Social Work England online account, which uses GOV.UK Pay. If you are unable to use GOV.UK Pay, please contact us.
You can search the Social Work England register on our website. Anybody can search the register to check that a social worker is registered and to find out (all of the following):
- their Social Work England registration number
- whether they’re subject to any registration conditions
- the postal town in which they work
- whether they have additional qualifications enabling them to act as an approved mental health professional (AMHP) or best interests assessor (BIA)
- whether they’re subject to any fitness to practise sanctions or proceedings
Misuse of title cases
If we identify that you may have been practising as a social worker in England without registration, we will investigate this further.
We take these matters very seriously, as practising as a social worker in England without being registered with us is a criminal offence . If we believe you have been using the protected title of ‘social worker’, your application will be put on hold while we investigate. We’ll consider the outcome of the misuse of title case with your application.
You can read our misuse of title guidance for more information.
[note 20] Regulation 31 of The Social Workers Regulations 2018
You must not carry out any work as a social worker until you have received confirmation that you have been added to the Social Work England register.
It is important to be honest when applying to join our register. Before you submit your application, you will be asked to confirm that the information you have provided is accurate.
You must tell us as soon as possible if any of your details change. It is your responsibility to ensure that all the information we hold about you is up to date and accurate throughout your registration .
This includes your personal and employment details, as well as any information relevant to your fitness to practise (as required by standard 6.6 of our professional standards). Failure to inform us of any changes could lead to you being suspended or removed from the register . You can check and update your details on your Social Work England online account.
Appealing a decision
If we reject your application, you’re entitled to appeal this decision. The only times you cannot appeal the decision is if (either of the following apply):
• you did not pay the relevant fee within the required timeframe
• you did not follow the processes set out in our rules 
Read more about making an appeal.
[note 23] Regulation 19(2) of The Social Workers Regulations 2018
Annex 1: Countries where English is the first and native language
These are the countries and territories we currently recognise as having English as their first and native language. Please note that a first and native language is different to an official language.
- British Antarctic Territory (BAT)
- British Indian Ocean Territory (BIOT)
- Falkland Islands
- Guyana (formerly British Guiana)
- Isle of Man
- New Zealand
- South Africa
- Sovereign Base Areas of Akrotiri and Dhekelia on Cyprus (CBA's)
- South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands
- St Helena
- Tristan da Cunha
- United Kingdom
- United States of America
- US Virgin Islands
- Antigua and Barbuda
- British Virgin Islands
- Cayman Islands
- St Kitts and Nevis
- St Lucia
- St Vincent
- Trinidad and Tobago
- Turks and Caicos Islands
Annex 2: Citizenship list
List of countries where for the purposes of citizenship, an applicant would not need to prove their knowledge of English:
- Antigua and Barbuda
- The Bahamas
- Great Britain
- New Zealand
- Ireland (for citizenship only)
- St Kitts and Nevis
- St Lucia
- St Vincent and the Grenadines
- Trinidad and Tobago
Annex 3: Listed offences
2. An offence under any of the following provisions of the Sexual Offences Act 2003(1)—
(a) section 1 (rape),
(b) section 2 (assault by penetration),
(c) sections 5 to 8 (rape and other offences against children under 13),
(d) sections 9 to 12 (child sex offences),
(e) sections 30 to 33 (offences against persons with a mental disorder impeding choice), or
(f) sections 47 to 50 (abuse of children through prostitution and pornography).
3. An offence under any of sections 9 to 12 of the Protection of Children and Prevention of Sexual Offences (Scotland) Act 2005(2) (sexual services of children and child pornography).
4. An offence under any of the following provisions of the Sexual Offences (Northern Ireland) Order 2008(3)—
(a) article 5 (rape),
(b) article 6 (assault by penetration),
(c) articles 12 to 15 (rape and other offences against children under 13),
(d) articles 16 to 19 (offences against children under 16),
(e) articles 37 to 40 (abuse of children under 18 through prostitution and pornography), or
(f) articles 43 to 46 (offences against persons with a mental disorder impeding choice).
5. An offence under any of the following provisions of the Sexual Offences (Scotland) Act 2009(4)—
(a) section 1 (rape),
(b) section 2 (assault by penetration),
(c) sections 3 to 6 (sexual assault and sexual coercion) committed against a person who is, by virtue of section 17 of that Act (capacity to consent: mentally disordered persons), treated as incapable of consenting,
(d) sections 18 to 26 (rape and other offences against children under 13), or
(e) sections 28 to 33 (offences against older children).
6. An offence under either of the following provisions of the Modern Slavery Act 2015(5)—
(a) section 1 (slavery, servitude and forced or compulsory labour), or
(b) section 2 (human trafficking).
7. An offence under either of the following provisions of the Human Trafficking and Exploitation (Scotland) Act 2015(6)—
(a) section 1 (offence of human trafficking), or
(b) section 4 (slavery, servitude and forced or compulsory labour).
8. Extortion (in Scotland).
9. An offence under section 21 of the Theft Act 1968(7) (blackmail).
10. An offence under section 20 of the Theft Act (Northern Ireland) 1969(8) (blackmail).
11. An offence under section 3 of the Sexual Offences Act 2003 (sexual assault).
12. An offence under article 7 of the Sexual Offences (Northern Ireland) Order 2008 (sexual assault).
13. An offence under section 3 of the Sexual Offences (Scotland) Act 2009 (sexual assault).
14. An offence under the following provisions of the Human Trafficking and Exploitation (Criminal Justice and Support for Victims) Act (Northern Ireland) 2015—
(a) section 1 (slavery, servitude and forced or compulsory labour);
(b) section 2 (human trafficking).
Last update: 29 November 2023
- removed section on safe and effective practice, signposting to central safe and effective practice guidance
4 October 2023
Previous update: 14 December 2022
- updates to reference change in verification process
Previous update: 7 October 2022
- Updated course information form
Previous update: 29 July 2022
- Updated to reference changes to our rules
First published: 2 December 2019