Strategy does not tackle core issues, CIPD claims

CIPD has criticised the Government’s proposed strategy for promoting the
employment of asylum-seekers and refugees, claiming it fails to assess their

But John Philpott, CIPD chief economist, questions whether the Government’s plans
to address the problem go far enough.

In a Home Office policy document released in November, the Government
outlined a two-pronged approach to tackling the integration of refugees into
the UK labour market.

It aims to promote employment levels by raising awareness among New Deal
advisers. The Employment Service’s training package will be adapted to raise
awareness of the cultural needs of ethnic minority and refugee job seekers.

Philpott said, "A lot of the Government’s strategy for integrating refugees
is about improving the skills of the employment service to make sure that they
are clued up on the employment needs of refugees. It is only addressing the
problem indirectly."

The strategy also intends to raise awareness of refugee issues among representative
bodies. Five professional bodies, as yet unnamed, are expected to have refugee
integration strategies in place by 31 August 2001.

Philpott said, "This is vaguely aspirational, rather than anything
happening in concrete terms."

He is calling for the Government to create a skills database, which would
match employers with refugees who have the appropriate skills. He suggested
that a government agency could collaborate jointly with a refugee charity to
set up the skills database.

Nick Hardwick, chief executive of the Refugee Council, believes the
Government strategy is "a good start" towards realising the potential
of asylum- seekers and refugees.

He said, "The creation of the National Refugee Integration forum is

"We hope it will assist communication and planning between the Home
Office, other government departments, local authorities and the voluntary
sector to enable the effective integration of refugees and asylum

By Karen Higginbottom

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