Hostname: page-component-8448b6f56d-gtxcr Total loading time: 0 Render date: 2024-04-15T07:23:51.268Z Has data issue: false hasContentIssue false

Welfare-to-Work and the Responsiveness of Employment Providers to the Needs of Refugees

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  06 October 2010

Leverhulme Early Career Fellow, Centre on Migration, Policy and Society, University of Oxford email:


Improving the responsiveness of service providers to the needs of users has been a principal aim of welfare state reform. In the context of employment provision, this article explores the effects of a job outcome-oriented performance system on the responsiveness of providers to the needs of unemployed refugees. These effects concern, first, the type of refugees to whom providers are responsive and, second, the type of employment assistance provided. It is argued that an emphasis on short-term job outcomes may conflict with supporting refugees who are ‘harder to help’, particularly those with English language needs. It may also conflict with supporting refugees to access employment related to their skills and interests by encouraging providers to focus on placing refugees in ‘easy to access’, low-skilled and low-paid jobs. The effects may, therefore, serve to reproduce labour market inequalities experienced by refugees.

Copyright © Cambridge University Press 2010

Access options

Get access to the full version of this content by using one of the access options below. (Log in options will check for institutional or personal access. Content may require purchase if you do not have access.)


Alcock, P., Harrow, J., Macmillan, R., Vincent, J. and Pearson, S. (1999), Making Funding Work: Funding Regimes and Local Voluntary Organisations, York: Joseph Rowntree Foundation.Google Scholar
Armstrong, D., Byrne, Y., Patton, L. and Horack, S. (2009), Welfare to Work in the United States: New York's Experience of the Prime Provider Model, Research report no. 614, London: Department for Work and Pensions.Google Scholar
Barnes, H., Hudson, M., Parry, J., Sahin-Dikmen, M., Taylor, R. and Wilkinson, D. (2005), Ethnic Minority Outreach: An Evaluation, Research report no. 229, London: Department for Work and Pensions.Google Scholar
Bloch, A. (2002), Refugees’ Opportunities and Barriers in Employment and Training, Research report no. 179, London: Department for Work and Pensions.Google Scholar
Bloch, A. (2007), ‘Refugees in the UK labour market: the conflict between economic integration and policy-led labour market restriction’, Journal of Social Policy, 37: 1, 2136.Google Scholar
Casebourne, J., Davis, S. and Page, R. (2006), Review of Action Teams for Jobs, Research report no. 328, London: Department for Work and Pensions.Google Scholar
Considine, M. (2000), ‘Selling the unemployed: the performance of bureacracies, firms and non-profits in the new Australian “market” for unemployment assistance’, Social Policy and Administration, 34: 3, 274–95.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Cragg, M. (1997), ‘Performance incentives in the public sector: evidence from the Job Training Partnership Act ‘, Journal of Law, Economics and Organization, 13: 1, 147–68.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Daguerre, A. (2004), ‘Importing workfare: policy transfer of social and labour market policies from the USA to Britain under New Labour’, Social Policy and Administration, 38: 1, 4156.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Dean, H. (2003), ‘Re-conceptualising welfare-to-work for people with multiple problems and needs’, Journal of Social Policy, 32: 3, 441–59.Google Scholar
Department for Innovation, Universities and Skills and Department for Work and Pensions (2007), Opportunity, Employment and Progression: Making Skills Work, London: Department for Innovation, Universities and Skills and Department for Work and Pensions.Google Scholar
Department for Work and Pensions (2005), Working to Rebuild Lives: A Refugee Employment Strategy, London: Department for Work and Pensions.Google Scholar
Department for Work and Pensions (2008), Raising Expectations and Increasing Support: Reforming Welfare for the Future, London: Department for Work and Pensions.Google Scholar
Dockery, A. and Stromback, T. (2001), ‘Devolving public employment services: preliminary assessment of the Australian experiment’, International Labour Review, 140: 4, 429–51.Google Scholar
European Commission, (2007), Third Annual Report on Migration and Integration, COM(2007) 512, Brussels: European Commission.Google Scholar
Felstead, A. (1998), Output-Related Funding in Vocational Education and Training: A Discussion Paper and Case Studies, Thessaloniki: European Centre for the Development of Vocational Training.Google Scholar
Finn, D. (2003), ‘The “employment-first” welfare state: lessons from the New Deal for young people’, Social Policy and Administration, 37: 7, 709–24.Google Scholar
Finn, D. (2005), ‘The role of contracts and the private sector in delivering Britain's “Employment First” welfare state’, in Sol, E. and Westerveld, M. (eds.), Contractualism in Employment Services: A New Form of Welfare State Governance, Amsterdam: Kulwer Law International, pp. 101–17.Google Scholar
Finn, D. (2009), Differential Pricing in Contracted Out Employment Programmes: Review of International Evidence, Research report no. 564. London: Department for Work and Pensions.Google Scholar
Freud, D. (2007), Reducing Dependency, Increasing Opportunity: Options for the Future of Welfare to Work, London: Department for Work and Pensions.Google Scholar
Gray, A. (2000), ‘The comparative effectiveness of different delivery frameworks for training of the unemployed’, Journal of Education and Work, 13: 3, 307–25.Google Scholar
Heckman, J., Heinrich, C. and Smith, J. (2002), ‘The performance of performance standards’, Journal of Human Resources, 37: 4, 778812.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Hudson, M., Phillips, J., Ray, K., Vegeris, S. and Davidson, R. (2010), The Influence of Outcome-based Contracting on Provider-led Pathways to Work, Research report no. 638, London: Department for Work and Pensions.Google Scholar
Kirk, R. (2004), Skills Audit of Refugees, Home Office online report no. 37/04.Google Scholar
Knight, G. (2010), Jobseekers Regime and Flexible New Deal, the Six Month Offer and Support for the Newly Unemployed Evaluations: An Early Process Study, Research report no. 624, London: Department for Work and Pensions.Google Scholar
Lindley, J. K. (2002), Economic Assimilation and the Labour Market Performance of British Refugees and Economic Migrants, Nottingham: Leverhulme Centre for Research on Globalisation and Economic Policy.Google Scholar
Lindsay, C. and McQuaid, R. (2009), ‘New governance and the case of activation policies: comparing experiences in Denmark and the Netherlands’, Social Policy and Administration, 43: 5, 445–63.Google Scholar
Lindsay, C., McQuaid, R. and Dutton, M. (2007), ‘New approaches to employability in the UK: combining “Human Capital Development” and “Work First” strategies?’, Journal of Social Policy, 36: 4, 539–60.Google Scholar
Lødemel, I. and Trickey, H. (2000), An Offer You Can't Refuse: Workfare in International Perspective, Bristol: Policy Press.Google Scholar
London Research Centre, (1999), Refugee Skillsnet: The Employment and Training of Skilled and Qualified Refugees, London: Peabody Trust.Google Scholar
OECD, (2005), Employment Outlook, Paris: Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development.Google Scholar
Ogbonna, E. (1998), ‘British ethnic minorities and employment training: redressing or extending disadvantage?’, International Journal of Training and Development, 2: 1, 2841.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Peck, J. (2001), Workfare States, New York: Guildford.Google Scholar
Phillimore, J., Goodson, L., Beebeejaun, Y. and Ferrari, E. (2003), The Access, Learning and Employment Needs of Newcomers from Abroad and the Capacity of Existing Provision to Meet those Needs, Birmingham: Birmingham and Solihull Learning and Skills Council.Google Scholar
Ray, K., Hoggart, L., Vegeris, S. and Taylor, R. (2010), Better off Working? Work, Poverty and Benefit Cycling, York: Joseph Rowntree Foundation.Google Scholar
Schellekens, P. (2001), English Language as a Barrier to Employment, Education and Training, London: Department for Education and Skills.Google Scholar
Shiferaw, D. and Hagos, H. (2002), Refugees and Progression Routes to Employment, London: British Refugee Council.Google Scholar
Struyven, L. (2004), Design Choices in Market Competition for Employment Services for the Long-term Unemployed, Paris: Organisation of Economic Cooperation and Development.Google Scholar
Struyven, L. and Steurs, G. (2005), ‘Design and redesign of a quasi-market for the reintegration of jobseekers: empirical evidence from Australia and the Netherlands’, Journal of European Social Policy, 15: 3, 211–29.Google Scholar