Refugees and the UK Labour Market

Published 25 April 2019 / By Zovanga Kone, Isabel Ruiz, Carlos Vargas-Silva

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Facilitating the integration of refugees is an important objective of civil society organisations and government departments at the local and national level. However, efforts to facilitate integration have been constrained by the lack of information on the short- and long-term outcomes of refugees.

This report uses the best available data to date to explore labour market and other related outcomes of those who migrated to the UK for asylum reasons. These outcomes are compared to those of UK-born individuals and to those of other migrants who moved to the UK for employment, family, and study reasons. For clarity, we refer to the different migrant groups based on their initial reason for immigration to the UK as: asylum migrants, employment migrants, family migrants, and study migrants. These categories do not refer to actual legal status or current main activity. For instance, most asylum migrants included in our analysis have spent many years in the UK and are now British nationals. In addition, ‘asylum migrants’ should not be confused with ‘asylum seekers’, who are individuals waiting for a decision on their asylum application and are not the focus of this report.

This report is the concluding summary of The Economic Integration of Refugees in the UK (ECONREF) project, a two-year study financed by a grant from The Nuffield Foundation and conducted at the Centre on Migration, Policy and Society (COMPAS), University of Oxford.


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