- Employment, Skills and Training Needs of Refugees, Asylum Seekers and Recent Migrants in Haringey
- Craw, Marc; Jefferys, Steve; Paraskevopoulou, Anna
- Working Lives Research Institute, London Metropolitan University
- Sep 2007
The report aims to answer the following research questions. What are the nature and impact of barriers to the labour market for refugees, asylum seekers and recent migrants in Haringey and what are the employment and training needs of these groups? What attitudes do local employers and providers of education and training hold about these groups? What is the skill base of these three groups in comparison with the requirements of the local labour market?
The research uses a multi-disciplinary approach to assessing the employment, skills and training needs of the three groups in question. Initially, a broad literature review was carried out including statistical data from local censuses and administrative databases, complimented by information gathered from 24 relevant organisations in Haringey. Between May and August 2007, face-to-face interviews were conducted with representatives of seven businesses and three employment agencies in the borough. A further 31 interviews were conducted with the target groups [16 recent migrants, nine refugees and six asylum seekers] from the following regions/countries of origin: A8 [Central and Eastern Europe], A2 [Bulgaria and Romania], Albanian/Kosovon, Turkish/Kurdish, Middle Eastern, Somali/Ethiopian/Eritrean, Sub-Saharan African and Latin American. Finally, four focus groups were conducted with 53 people of Polish, Turkish/Kurdish, Francophone African and Somali origin.
Common barriers to participation in the labour market include a lack of English language skills, a lack of recognition of qualifications and experience and a lack of appreciation of abilities. Some of the barriers specific to refugees include a long period of economic inactivity due to lengthy migration and time awaiting asylum decision, a reliance on their own community, dependence on benefits, difficulties with workplace culture. Refugees can become despondent about opportunities available often as a result of unrealistic expectations and the experience of discrimination and prejudice. The barriers specific to asylum seekers are more straightforward as they have no legal entitlement to work. The research found little evidence of informal working but found that most asylum seekers are unaware that they are able to apply for a work permit if they have been awaiting a decision for over 12 months. In terms of refugees' training needs, the report found that administrative support is required to access certain employment benefit schemes and that the need to find a job can result in refugees taking work below the level of their qualification and can mean they are unable to access free language courses. Refugees feel, therefore, that there are limited opportunities to break out of a cycle of short-term solutions. Asylum seekers find it difficult to build relationships with these organisations and therefore require more formal opportunities for training and volunteering in order not to lose touch completely with the labour market and training and enterprise agencies. The report also details the skills profile of the sample of refugees and asylum seekers involved in this research finding several with university degrees or teaching experience.
Contractors, the report suggests, should be asked by the Borough how they are to make recruitment accessible for refugees and should provide pay rates inline with London living wage for all staff. Employment agencies should engage in outreach to refugee communities and community groups, while public bodies should relax reference requirements for some categories of people. The Home Office should review its policy of denying asylum seekers access to the labour market. The Borough should offer firms a status confirmation service to avoid apprehension and confusion, establish a micro-credit provider to encourage self-employment among women refugees and offer grants for qualification conversion causes.
- Resource Type
- Research report
- Commissioned By
- Haringey Borough Council
- Funded By
- Haringey Borough Council
- £ Free