Government policies are preventing too many refugees from
working, according to a report by the Industrial Society,
writes Katie Leason.
‘A Poor Reception, Refugees and asylum seekers: welfare or
work?’ indicates that asylum seekers and refugees face barriers to
work with an estimated 80 per cent of asylum seekers unemployed
despite having high levels of skills.
People with refugee status and individuals granted ‘exceptional
leave to remain’ are automatically permitted to work while asylum
seekers have permission to work granted after six months.
The report recommends that permission to work after six months
should be given automatically other than in exceptional cases, and
that the government should develop a national database of refugee
and asylum seekers’ skills linked to the employment service
and other agencies.
It also recommends a national scheme for recognising
qualifications and a standard method for English language testing
so that employers can easily identify an applicant’s language
Gill Sargeant, co-author of the report, said: “Asylum seekers
and refugees in reality don’t fit the popular stereotype as
wasters and scroungers. They’re young, skilled, willing and
keen to work. It is a matter of national disgrace that nearly four
out of five asylum seekers and refugees are being excluded from
“It’s clearly high time that the government got its act
together on migration policy and made sure that those allowed to
live in this country are also allowed to work in this country.”