Campaign for Refugees in Employment begins

Throughout the country there are organisations facing skills shortages, and
demographic forecasts show that this problem is likely to intensify in the
decades ahead.

Refugees and asylum-seekers are potentially part of the solution, but there
are great barriers for employers who want to recruit from among this group.
Many fear falling foul of immigration law. Others wish to recruit refugees, but
are put off by red tape.

Personnel Today is launching the Refugees in Employment Campaign to persuade
the Government to make it easier for employers to recruit refugees and
asylum-seekers who have permission to work in the UK. We want the Government to
make it simpler for employers to know when they are legally entitled to offer
work to people in this group. And we want ministers to develop a strategy to
match the skills of refugees and asylum-seekers with the needs of employers.

The Government has made a manifesto commitment to deal with asylum,
including a pledge to introduce the first-ever strategy for integration of
those fleeing persecution into British society. A key part of this strategy
will be supporting employers who want to offer work to refugees and
asylum-seekers. Now it is time to turn that commitment into action.

Personnel Today has written an open letter to the immigration minister, Lord
Rooker, spelling out the four aims of the campaign. We want the Government to:

– Make a commitment to producing a standard permission-to-work document for
refugees and asylum-seekers

– Act to reduce red tape preventing refugees who are entitled to work from
gaining employment

– Adopt a strategy to develop a skills database of refugees and
asylum-seekers

– Produce concrete plans to co-ordinate the employment of refugees and
asylum-seekers

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