The 1951 UNHCR Refugee Convention enables a person to ask for safety from persecution from a signatory country. It has saved millions of lives. The UK is a signatory. No country has ever withdrawn from it.
An ‘asylum seeker’ may have their claim for safety refused. If they are accepted, they are a ‘Refugee’.
When an asylum seeker is given refugee protection they receive an email from the Home Office informing them of their status. It can be difficult for a refugee to know what to do next; at the moment there are very few resettlement services in the UK that help refugees navigate the labour market.
The Refugee Integration & Employment Service was closed in 2011. The remaining refugee agencies are under-funded and under-staffed.
Refugees are treated as mainstream customers by Jobcentre Plus and are expected to find a job without specific support, despite the additional barriers they face.
Refugees have a refugee biometric residency card stating they can work and a National Insurance number. They don’t need a visa.
Around 25% of refugees in the UK are highly skilled. Many have had successful careers as engineers, finance and business professionals, lawyers and scientists.
The high number of barriers to finding work in the UK for refugees results in around 70% of refugees experiencing long-term unemployment.That’s around 6 times the national rate for the population as a whole.
Although many employers collect statistical data related to the gender, ethnicity and age (among other characteristics) of applicants, very few ask if an applicant is from a refugee background. This means that most employers are unaware that they are not hiring refugees. Having refugee background is not a protected characteristic in the Equality Act 2010.