CURRENT UNEMPLOYMENT LEVELS AMONG REFUGEES
[AND ASYLUM SEEKERS WITH PERMISSION TO WORK]
The Settlement of Refugees in Britain; Carey-Wood,
Duke, Karn and Marshall HO 141 (1995).
About 73 per cent of the sample were
unemployed at the time of the study yet generally well-qualified;
only 14 per cent had been regularly
earning for the most of their time in this country;
their unemployment rate was far above
even ethnic minorities in the inner city area;
many were underemployed;
over 1/2 those who had obtained professional
qualifications in England were still unemployed;
of those employed 23 per cent had
a temporary position;
94 per cent had encountered difficulties
when applying for jobs;
only 6 per cent had been steadily
employed, after an initial short period of unemployment;
only 8 per cent felt they had progressed
in their careers.
Refugee communities have between 60 per cent
and 95 per cent unemployment rates.
Refugee Skills Analyst (North London TEC 1997).
Found 73 per cent of respondents unemployed;
and 85 per cent had never succeeded in getting employment in the
Developments to Assist Refugees and Asylum Seekers
Towards Earlier Self-Sufficiency. A Report for Refugee Action
(MBA. December 1997).
Focusing on new arrivals to complement the Home
Office research found at least 75 per cent of refugees and asylum
seekers unemployed after two years, a high level of underemployment
and a concentration of employment in ethnically specific businesses
eg restaurants, mini-cabbing and interpreting.
Labour market information for the Objective
3 ESF programme in London (DT PIEDA Consulting in 1998) found:
Possibly 160,000 unemployed refugees
Rate of unemployment of Rs thought
to be at least twice that of ethnic minorities in general.
Vietnamese. After 15 years still 75 per cent
of unemployment in spite of extensive community development programme
and cluster settlement.
Chileans. Better employment outcomes probably
linked to education level and job background on arrival, planned
arrivals, efforts by Joint Working Group funded by Home Office,
efforts of Chilean Solidarity Campaign, special reception team,
Advice Team with Regional Resettlement Officers, one year MSC
language course plus job training etc. But even so, according
to WUS, four years on, 59 per cent unemployed.
HAMLETS. A REPORT
CONSORTIUM (CSC. SEPTEMBER
(LRC) FOR PEABODY
The evidence is compelling but insufficiently
soundly based. The most authoritative and widely used are the
Home Office figures but they are seriously out of date and likely
to be an underestimate because they applied to settled refugees
only, many of them professionally qualified. And there is every
reason to think the situation has got worse since restrictions
on employment were introduced. Other figures are either estimates
or based on small and arguably unrepresentative samples.
There is also a good deal of evidence on underemployment;
refugees with casual employment, part time jobs and jobs way below
their capacity, experience and skills. Some of this, in common
with others in the UK, is inevitable; in some cases a low level
job will be a necessary step to a better one. But in others the
underemployment is the result of unnecessary obstacles which could
be surmounted eg by facilitating the recognition of qualifications
and or requalification.