London’s employers are being urged to do more to use the city’s refugee community to fill skills gaps.
The government-backed initiative, London Refugee Economic Action, was launched on 12 October, with a mandate to increase the refugee community’s influence, by serving as a voice for the sector on employment-related issues.
The project aims to work with the government, employers, professional associations and trade unions to promote the contribution that refugees can make to London’s economy.
Government research shows that refugees offer a huge range of skills to the city’s economy, and that most are highly motivated to find work.
Yet, they find it tougher than other minority communities to find jobs that match their skills. Refugee unemployment is estimated to be at least six times the national average.
In the first phase of its work, the group will strengthen the capacity of services aimed at refugees.
Jon Williams, project co-ordinator, said: “We know that despite high levels of motivation to work, refugees face many barriers in finding suitable employment. This is a waste, as London’s thriving economy faces shortages in both skilled and unskilled professions, both of which refugees would be well placed to fill.”