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Refugees in the UK Labour Market: The Conflict between Economic Integration and Policy-led Labour Market Restriction

  • ALICE BLOCH (a1)

Abstract

This article draws on data from a survey of 400 refugees and shows low levels of labour market activity. The minority of refugees who are working are in secondary sector jobs with little opportunity for progression. Moreover, refugees with high levels of skills who are working are not in jobs commensurate with their skills and qualifications. The article examines the human capacity and personal characteristics that have an impact on refugee employment, and finds the greatest difference in employment is between men and women, although English language fluency and training are also very important. Employment is a major part of the refugee integration strategy, and employment initiatives focus on capacity-building rather than discrimination or reversing restrictive policies. The article concludes that strategies need to focus on individual employability as well as measures to overcome personal and structural barriers to the labour market.

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