Government moves to exploit refugee skills

The Government has listened to Personnel Today’s Refugees in Employment
campaign and is to create a skills database to help refugees fill the UK’s
skills gap.

Immigration and Citizenship Minister Lord Rooker said a White Paper, to be
published later this month, will outline plans for a skills database to
identify the qualifications and work experience of people seeking asylum in
this country.

The White Paper will also reveal proposals to cut red tape and make it
simpler and easier for employers to recruit refugees.

Over the last six months Personnel Today has campaigned for a skills database
so refugees can be placed into appropriate jobs, and has put pressure on the
Government to reduce the bureaucracy surrounding the recruitment of refugees.

Lord Rooker said asylum-seekers are to go through a new system of induction
centres where they will be asked to provide details of qualifications and work
experience.

"Refugees will go through the induction process for at least a day,
maybe two, and because of the extra resources we will be in a position to
introduce a more managed system of collecting information."

Rooker said the White Paper will also include plans to help refugees have
their qualifications recognised in the UK – a problem highlighted by Personnel
Today’s ground-breaking survey (News, 20 November).

John Stevens, director of development and public policy at the CIPD,
welcomed the proposals.

"Knowing what skills people have and helping them relate their
qualifications to those in the UK is obviously very sensible."

Margaret Lally, deputy chief executive of the Refugee Council, said,
"The Home Office decision to collect information from asylum-seekers on
their professions and qualifications should help refugees find employment.

"But we strongly urge the Government to allow asylum-seekers to work
while their cases are being considered to help overcome existing labour
shortages."

Full interview with Lord Rooker, p4

By Ben Willmott

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