90 per cent of employers are willing to employ refugees

90 per cent of employers say they are willing to employ refugees or
asylum-seekers to fill skill shortages… So why is it so hard for them to find
work?

Nine out of 10 employers want to take on refugees and asylum-seekers to meet
skills shortages, but many are put off by red tape and legal fears, according
to exclusive research released today.

The joint Personnel Today and Refugee Council research shows that six out of
10 of the surveyed organisations are having difficulties in filling job
vacancies.

But many of the 255 HR professionals surveyed who have tried to employ
asylum-seekers or refugees claim they face confusing Home Office paperwork and
verification problems with applicants’ qualifications and work experience.

It means that seven out of 10 employers who took part in the research fear
breaking the law when employing a refugee.

An additional survey of over 150 refugees and asylum-seekers in the UK shows
that they are well-qualified and keen to work.

Katja Klasson, head of employee resourcing at the CBI, said, "This
research highlights the fact that many asylum-seekers or refugees do have much
needed skills."

But the survey shows many face long periods of unemployment before securing
work. Over 60 per cent of the refugees who responded have been unemployed for
more than a year.

Nick Hardwick, chief executive of the Refugee Council, called for the
Government to set up a national skills database for refugees and implement an
employment strategy that cuts down on red tape.

He said, "The survey proves that employers want to access these skills
as much as refugees themselves are eager to work.

"It is in the best interests of UK businesses, refugees and the
national economy to put these skills to good use. A targeted and co-ordinated
strategy could stop employers being deprived of the skills they desperately
need."

By Mike Broad

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