Firms should be offered incentives to employ refugees as part of a
drive to help them integrate into society and raise their
self-esteem, a conference recommended last week.
The incentive could take the form of either a payment or the award
of a national standard. The Working to Rebuild Lives conference was
told this could be along the lines of an Investors in People
standard or the two-tick disability symbol for companies that make
a commitment to the employment of disabled people.
Delegates to the conference in London discussed a Department for
Work and Pensions report, Working to Rebuild Lives, as part of a
consultation to create a refugee employment strategy.
Jennifer Hurstfield, principal research fellow at consultancy and
research centre the Institute for Employment Studies, told
delegates she was investigating why businesses were reluctant to
Early findings suggest several reasons, including the process
involved in checking documents, the language skills of refugees and
the difficulty in getting references.
She said: “It’s very difficult for employers to get simplified
guidance in a step-by-step process. They are not in a position to
check for forgery.
“There’s not sufficient support for employers that are trying to
take a positive stance.
“They are also concerned they might be doing something wrong in
terms of documentation and that even positive stories about
refugees being recruited into the workforce may be turned into a
negative one by the media.”
A delegate to the conference revealed that Leicester Council
already offers a £1,000 bonus payment to employers who take on
refugees. Many councils said employer incentives were a key tool in
“rebuilding” the lives of refugees.
– Working to Rebuild Lives.