Letters

first_img Comments are closed. LettersOn 9 Oct 2001 in Personnel Today This week’s lettersAt the launch of Personnel Today’s Refugees in Employmentcampaign in June, we wrote to Immigration Minister Lord Rooker. Here is hisfull responseRefugees must be able to reach their potentialThank you for your letter of 6 July asking me to respond to a campaignlaunched in Personnel Today in July which aims to assist refugees andasylum-seekers gain employment. I believe that it is important to remember that there are fundamentaldifferences in the terms “refugee” and “asylum-seeker”.Refugee applies to those who have received a positive decision on theirapplication for asylum. The term also includes those whose application for asylum has been refusedbut who have been granted leave to remain on humanitarian grounds. Refugees are able to work. They are issued with a letter confirming thegrant of this status and the letter makes it clear that they are able to work. We have been working closely with a number of refugee groups and othervoluntary organisations, particularly the Employability Forum, to enhance theway in which these letters express that refugees have permission to work. Webelieve that this will help to ensure that potential employers are clear thatpeople from this group have no barriers preventing them from taking upemployment. In terms of the broader issues facing refugees seeking employment andtraining, we have established a National Refugee In- tegration Forum to overseethe implementation of a national integration strategy. This forum bringstogether key policy-makers from central Government, local authorities, thevoluntary sector and refugee groups themselves. We believe that it is essential that refugees are given the chance toachieve their full potential in the UK and we consider that the attainment of employmentis a key factor in this process. A sub-group of the forum has therefore beenset up to look exclusively at matters surrounding employment, training andadult education. The Employment, Training and Adult Education Sub-group has been tasked to addressthe difficulties that refugees have in entering the job market. Membership ofthe sub-group has been drawn from key stakeholders in the voluntary, public andprivate sectors. Issues that the sub-group are presently addressing include: – Monitoring data on the profile of refugee job-seekers – Reviewing the provision of English language training – Recognition of overseas qualifications – The promotion of refugee employment among employers – Consultation with the Department for Work and Pensions over thedevelopment of a policy on refugee employment The term “asylum-seeker” refers to those who are still awaiting adecision on their claim for asylum. Generally speaking, those in this group areallowed to work only if their conditions of stay do not preclude this. There is a concession which allows adult asylum-seekers to apply forpermission to work if their application remains outstanding for longer than sixmonths without a decision being made on it. Permission to work is granted on the standard acknowledgement letter whichis issued to all asylum-seekers. Section 8 of the Immigration and Asylum Act makes it an offence for anemployer to employ a foreign national who does not have permission to workhere. Guidance is available to employers who wish to satisfy themselves that theperson they are considering employing can work here. We are keen to ensure that employers do not inadvertently discriminateagainst refugees and those asylum-seekers who are allowed to work. We believe that employers should ask the same questions of all potentialemployees in order to establish their eligibility to take employment. We have no plans to establish a database of skills for asylum-seekers. Inmany cases the asylum application will be finally determined as unsuccessful.In these cases the person concerned is expected to leave the UK. We believe it is far more important to use our available resources to assistthe integration for those granted refugee status. As a team of new Home Office Ministers we have been actively exploring arange of options for change and hope to be able to make some announcementsduring the autumn. Jeff Rooker Minister of State, The Home Office Related posts:No related photos. Previous Article Next Articlelast_img

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