5 things you didn’t know about refugees in the UK
Refugees have been forced to flee their homes for fear of death and persecution. The plight of refugees re-entered the public consciousness following mass migration as a result of the war in Syria. Here are some of the interesting things we’ve learnt through volunteering and working with refugees in the third sector.
- Refugees tend to be highly skilled. A study found that 76% of refugees are either medium or highly skilled. Often people have had to leave their homes whilst at University or whilst working in professional roles. This means a number come with specific skills and talents that are currently under-utilised in the UK by employers.
2. There aren’t that many in the UK. There are about 120,000 refugees in the UK, which is 0.18% of the population. That is significantly fewer people that even the smallest borough in London. The figure is especially low when you consider that Germany admitted around 300,000 refugees in one year. One of the reasons for this confusion is the lack of understanding of the difference between a refugee and an economic migrant. A refugee has had to leave their country for fear of death or persecution. An economic migrant has not.
3. There aren’t any restrictions on their rights to work. Once a person has been granted refugee status, they’re allowed to live and work in the UK without any restrictions. Employers can benefit massively from hiring these people.
4. Refugees want to work. Refugees are often eager to rebuild their lives in their new country. This means they’re eager to find good work and are loyal once they’ve found it. A study found that the average turnover rate for refugees at manufacturing companies was just 4%, far below the 11% for all employees. Across industries, 73% of the employers surveyed reported a higher retention rate for refugees than for other employees.
5. Refugees tend to be creative and entrepreneurial. Refugees often use previous entrepreneurial experiences or bring a fresh pair of eyes to their new country. This means they’re able to spot gaps in processes and markets and build successful businesses, contributing to their host country’s economy.