This paper draws on data from the Labour Force Survey (LFS) and from a survey of400 refugees in Britain in order to present an up to data comparison of thelabour market experiences of minority ethnic groups and refugees. It will showthat refugees experience lower rates of employment than their ethnic minoritycounterparts and that those refugees in employment are more likely to be intemporary and part-time work with poorer terms and conditions of employment andwith lower wages. The reasons why refugees experience greater disadvantage inthe labour market than others include structural barriers due to policies suchas dispersal that can leave refugees isolated from social and community networksthat provide information and advice and informal routes into employment but alsoleave refugees in areas with higher levels of unemployment. Migration patternsare also influential with refugees for the most part arriving more recently inBritain than people from minority ethnic groups. Refugees are also increasinglyreliant on agents and smugglers to plan their route and destination and soasylum seekers can find themselves in countries where they have no socialnetworks. Social networks and community organisations play an important role inthe early stages of settlement. Finally, the circumstances of exile, attitudesto the country of origin and the insecurity of having temporary status inBritain all prevent economic activity.
Sociological Research Online – SAGE
Published: May 1, 2004
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