• EDF Energy

    “I realised from our very first meeting the passion, expertise and proactive outlook .. takes to helping qualified refugees into full time employment. It is also clear that Transitions... is into the next stage of stakeholder engagement and that Transitions is making quite a remarkable impression on a range of stakeholders“

    Karen Elgy, Sustainability Performance Manager, EDF Energy
  • Crossrail

    “It is widely predicted that the UK will need more skilled engineers at both technician and graduate level. Transitions provides a credible source of engineers with the skills and experience to contribute to meeting this need. We encourage engineering companies to engage with Transitions to identify potential opportunities to meet their specific needs.“

    Bola Fatimilehin, Head of Diversity, Royal Academy of Engineering
  • Crossrail

    “Transitions provides an invaluable service for its highly-skilled refugee clients and KPMG has been delighted to run a series of employability skills workshops with them for teams of our volunteers. These have been insightful, impactful, rewarding and beneficial for all involved. A great way to put your skills to good use!“

    Corporate Responsibility Team, KPMG
  • National Grid

    "Transitions opens up an avenue for us to recruit a diverse graduate workforce. There's an option for recruiting to more experienced roles too. There's a real demand in the UK for highly skilled candidates in cables and tunnels and this presents a real alternative to find international people without the complexities around international recruitment."

    Sharon Goymer, Resourcing Manager, National Grid
  • Refugee Action Kingston

    "Transitions was able to identify a suitable candidate immediately and pass those details on. Our request was quite specific and only a short-term contract, so it did not attract a lot of general interest. without the use of the service, we may have been short of candidates. We recruited the Transitions candidate."

    Heather Knight, Project Manager, Refugee Action Kingston
  • Circle Housing

    “Demonstrating a clear commitment to Corporate Social Responsibility is an important component of being a modern, inclusive employer of choice. Working with Transitions really is a win win. Skill and talent are brought into your business that meet your business requirements. The team at Transitions have a rigorous matching service that makes it easy to support ready to work refugee professionals.”

    Jen Smith, Group Head of Diversity, Circle Housing Group
  • Crossrail

    "We gained a first-class civil engineer employee as a result of Transitions. The internship and intern was above our expectations.. The refugee community offers a good untapped market."

    Dawn Barker, Head of HR, Crossrail

Refugees in the UK do not require a UK visa.

Refugees have specific 'Refugee Status' documentation and a UK National Insurance number. Their specific immigration status is 'Refugee', awarded via the 1951 UN Convention on Refugees, which no country has ever withdrawn from. This status has saved millions of lives around the world since 1951.

Refugees are permitted to work in the UK  in any profession and at any skill level.  (page 5 of guide below)

Refugees are not economic migrants and are not subject to the points-based system: where migrants are required to meet particular skill and experience levels and employers given sponsorship duties. Many employers are not aware of this specific immigration status and mix it up with 'migrant' or 'student' or 'asylum seeker'. Asylum Seekers are currently not allowed to work in the UK. Refugees are.

Very few people are awarded Refugee Status in the UK - it requires a very high level of proof and around 75% of applicants for Refugee status fail.

Refugees are issued by the Home Office with:

  • A Biometric Residence Permit (issued since June 2012) or (pre June 2012)
  • An A4 document called an ISD (see below) which clarifies their full permission to work in any job
  • All refugees are issued with a National Insurance number.

Refugee permission to work has a 5 year lifespan.  They are then entitled to apply for ILR (Indefinite Leave to Remain) and then British citizenship. During this time, a refugee continues to have the same rights to employment and training as before. (page 6 of guide below)

Photographs of these documents can be found in this Home Office guidance document (page 20 of second link document : ‘Comprehensive guidance…’)

Who is a refugee?

Refugee status is granted to a person who has had a positive decision on their claim for asylum under the 1951 United Nations Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees (the Refugee Convention) and has been granted leave to remain in the UK.

A refugee is not an ‘asylum seeker’. Refugees have been granted leave to remain as a refugee in the UK. Asylum seekers have not. Asylum seekers may not be employed in the UK. Refugees may work in any job.

Guide for employers on employing refugees

Guide produced by the Equality and Human Rights Commission and the Refugee Council


Refugee Status & Humanitarian Protection

Here is the text from the 2012 Home Office guidance on employing refugees.  The document includes photographs of the documents that refugees are given, providing them with unrestricted permission to work for 5 years in the UK.

An asylum seeker whose claim is successful is granted refugee status. Refugees are foreign nationals or stateless people who we have allowed to remain in the UK because they have demonstrated a well founded fear of persecution for one of the reasons listed in the 1951 Geneva Convention.

Humanitarian protection can be granted to those who do not qualify for protection under the 1951 Geneva Convention. This would be if there is a real risk that if they were removed to their country of origin they would face serious harm.

Refugees and those with humanitarian protection have no restrictions on the type of work they can do, as long as they continue to hold this qualifying status. These individuals do not have to meet the tests of the points based system, and you do not need to be a sponsor under this scheme to employ someone of one of these statuses. We are committed to the integration of refugees and those with humanitarian protection.

(page 49 of second link document: ‘Comprehensive guidance…’)

Transitions is happy to take responsibility for the ID confirmation of our interns and hired candidates.

Transitions has collated this information in good faith and is providing it as collated  secondary resource information. Please refer to the Home Office for formal advice and confirmation of ID documents for interns or staff who are not Transitions staff.

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  A highly skilled refugee should rebuild their career for everyone’s benefit", Transitions Founder Sheila Heard speaks on Share Radio:

  Jon Hull, Group Head of Resourcing, Carillion Plc talks about inclusion of refugees in resourcing:

  Transitions services - Financial Services professional employed in London:

  Collaborating with other refugee supporting agencies - Louise Salmon RAGU London Met University: