The UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR), the International Organization for Migration (IOM), Business in the Community (BITC) and the UK Government yesterday released a new guide to help British businesses employ refugees.
UNHCR explains that the guide sets out simple steps that companies can take to enable refugees to more seamlessly enter the workforce and build their skills, benefiting companies and the national economy.
The guide builds on the UNHCR and OECD global action plan to boost refugee employment, and research commissioned by the Refugee Employment Network in the UK. It provides advice and case studies tailored to the UK context.
It includes case-studies from employers that have initiated programmes to clear the path for refugees into employment, including Waitrose & Partners, Grant Thornton and IKEA.
Immigration Minister Caroline Nokes said: “The UK is committed to supporting refugees as they rebuild their lives here, including with opportunities in the workplace. Employing refugees can bring great benefits to businesses, individuals and communities. These practical guidelines highlight the crucial role for the private sector, in partnership with Government and others, in helping refugees across the country find work.”
Dipti Pardeshi, IOM Chief of Mission in the UK, said: “More inclusive communities and workforces frequently report increased socioeconomic benefits. It’s not only about refugees learning about life here in Britain. To have inclusive societies and workforces, employers can also make strides to better understand refugees and identify beneficial employment opportunities, both for companies and refugees themselves.”
Meanwhile, the Centre on Migration, Policy and Society (COMPAS) at the University of Oxford last month released a study looking at barriers to employment for refugees.
The 51-page report, Refugees and the UK Labour Market, is available here.
COMPAS says the report uses the best available data to date to explore labour market and other related outcomes of those who migrated to the UK for asylum reasons.
Key findings of the report include:
• Asylum migrants are less likely to be in employment than individuals born in the UK and other migrant groups. The employment rate among asylum migrants is 51%, compared with 73% for the UK-born. The gap narrows over time but remains present even after more than 25 years of residence in the country.
• Asylum migrants who are employees earn less and work fewer hours than UK-born and other migrant workforces. Asylum migrants earn an average of £9 per hour and £284 per week – 55% less per week than the UK-born and 38% less per hour.
• Asylum migrants are more likely to be in self-employment than the UK-born and other migrants. In total, 21% of asylum migrants in employment are self-employed compared to 14% among UK-born workers. Self-employed asylum migrants are more likely to have employees than self-employed UK born.
• Unemployed asylum migrants are more likely to rely on public agencies (e.g. job centres) to look for jobs. In total, 37% of unemployed asylum migrants used public agencies as their main job search method. This is about twice the rate of UK-born unemployed job-seekers.
• Asylum migrants are more likely to report a long-term health condition that affects their labour market performance. Close to 37% of asylum migrants report a health condition lasting longer than 12 months. The likelihood of reporting this type of condition is 4 percentage points greater among asylum migrants than the UK-born.