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Skilled Refugees Integration into the UK Labour Market

Citation: Bajboj, Ammar (2023) Skilled Refugees Integration into the UK Labour Market. [Discussion or working paper]

WPS No.67.pdf

Creative Commons: Attribution-No Derivative Works 4.0

War in the Middle East, especially Syria, recently led to a significant refugee increase in the United Kingdom. Almost 29,000 people were settled in the U.K., mainly from Syria. But the 2021 report shows that the number had dropped to around 12,000, thus making 43% of the refugees who were granted refuge in the United Kingdom in 2020. Therefore, as much as the numbers are dropping, it is clear that there are still Syrian refugees moving to the UK as of 2021 (House of Commons (2022). For these reasons, the research analyses the challenges influencing employment accessibility of skilled refugees in the UK, evaluates how the integration of skilled Syrian refugees impacts UK’s labour market and the economy, and determines how the failure of the UK government to recognize refugee credentials complicates their ability to get decent jobs. Skilled refugees, in this case, are Syrian refugees who are academically qualified, experienced, and also meet UK’s labour market requirements. The research used the quantitative approach, but there were some minimal instances where the qualitative research approach was applied. Information was gathered from 20 respondents from the UK’s skilled refugees, and the respondents were selected randomly through probability sampling to avoid biases. The primary data for this study was collected with the help of a questionnaire. The findings first provided a comprehensive conclusion that age, language, education, experience, gender, culture, length of stay, and social networks influence the employment accessibility of refugees. For instance, it was also found that skilled refugees’ age hindered refugees under 26 years old since they had not acquired the required experience, especially in medicine, engineering, and technology-related jobs. Besides, skilled refugees over 65 were also not considered in the labour market because the UK’s Employment Equality (Age) Regulations set the retirement age to 65. That notwithstanding, language was a hindrance because skilled refugees were good in Arabic and not English, the common language in the U.K., thus making it hard for them to secure professional employment (Jamil et al., 2012). Regarding gender, most skilled refugees were limited by the Islamic culture that does not allow women to work unless they are working from home. The length of stay and social networks also hindered skilled refugees from Syrian being absorbed into the UK’s labour market because of their limitations in personal relationships and social interactions. According to Hogan (2017), social interactions improve the ability of people to keep and find jobs meaning that skilled Syrian refugees will be limited in securing employment. Skilled Syrian refugees in the UK also faced challenges of accreditations from Syrian not being recognized in the UK and lack of job readiness skills and sponsorship. But it was also concluded that this was improvable through the government and relevant organizations identifying credentials from the former country, offering refresher courses in subjects like computers, developing programs that can assist refugees in getting jobs, the introduction of policies that can enable skilled refugees to get recognized as equals and offering adequate sponsorship especially when it comes to education and employment in professional jobs.

Creators: Bajboj, Ammar and
Subjects: Law
Sociology & Anthropology
Keywords: Refugee integration, labour market, refugees, skilled refugees, labour market gaps.
Divisions: School of Advanced Study: Central Offices
Collections: Refugee Law Initiative
  • 12 July 2023 (published)


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