April 2001 to June 2002
Background, summary and aims
People from minority ethnic communities continue to face substantial disadvantage in the UK labour market. Refugees face additional barriers to employment and training over and above those common to all minority ethnic groups, including language problems, cultural barriers, and negative perceptions on the part of employers, and they have very high levels of unemployment. In addition, refugees who are in employment are often underemployed, in low-skilled and low paid work bearing little relation to their qualifications, skills or experience. Recent policy changes which have dispersed refugees and asylum seekers to areas outside the capital mean that refugees will now be looking for work in areas with varying labour market conditions, with fewer established refugee communities, and where the infrastructure of support services is far less developed.
The project has been commissioned by the DfEE, in order to identify the support needs of refugees entering the labour market, and to identify similarities and differences in the types of support required by refugees and other people from minority ethnic groups
The project consists of four main elements:
- A literature review on the barriers to employment and training faced by refugees and people from minority ethnic groups, to be carried out by PSI
- Secondary analysis of LFS, to be carried out by PSI
- Focus groups with community organisations serving refugees and minority ethnic groups in the dispersal areas, and with individuals from minority ethnic groups, to be carried out by PSI and Goldsmiths College
- A survey of 400 refugees, to be carried out by Goldsmiths college The project as a whole is managed by Alice Bloch at Goldsmiths college.
Importance of research
The research will be an important source of information on the support needs of refugees and people from minority ethnic communities in relation to employment and training, and will be highly relevant to policy development in this area. It will also provide evidence of the emerging effects of the compulsory dispersal policy introduced in the 1999 Act, particularly in relation to employment and training opportunities, but also in terms of the capacity of voluntary sector organisations to meet local needs