The national situations in the partner countries (as of 2013) may be summarised as follows:

United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland

Home Office statistics1, found that the proportion of refugees in the UK who were employed increased from 34 per cent at 8 months (when first recorded) to 49 per cent at 21 months. However this remained well below the UK average of 80 per cent. More than one-half of new refugees in employment felt that they were overqualified for their jobs.

However, there is a geographical variance in employment levels and at a more local level, taking Birmingham in the West Midlands as an example, evidence gathered by the West Midlands Strategic Migration Partnership and the University of Birmingham suggests rates as high as 65% unemployment amongst male refugees, and 80% for females.

1Cebulla, Andreas, Megan Daniel, and Andrew Zurawan. Spotlight on Refugee Integration: Findings from the Survey of New Refugees in the United Kingdom – Publications – GOV.UK. Migration Research and Analysis. London: Home Office, July 15, 2010.

 Republic of Ireland

In Ireland, a major barrier to developing best practice resources on refugee employment is that there are no concrete statistics on refugee unemployment currently recorded.

General unemployment in Ireland stands at 12.9%1, which is a significant decrease from 14.4% in 20122. By contrast immigrant unemployment in Ireland currently stands at 18.1%2, which is only a small decrease from 18.4% in 2012; 27.1% for those from an African background (which is the highest proportion seeking asylum currently in the State) and 23.2% among those from non EU, European countries3.

1 Quarterly National Household Survey, First Quarter, 2013
2 Quarterly National Household Survey, First Quarter, 2012

Federal Republic of Germany

In Germany, persons with immigration background are, according to the results of the 2009 micro census, affected by unemployment about twice as often as persons without any immigration background. Especially affected are young men and older employees as well as men and women with Russian background and men with Turkish or Serbian backgrounds.

Making a difference between foreign people (no-German passport) and people with immigration background (immigrants with German and with no-German passport), the situation can be describes as following: the unemployment rate in Germany has dropped from 11.7% in 2005 to 7.7% in 2010. But for the group of foreign persons (no-German passport), at 15.8%, it was almost twice as high as in the total population. The development of long-term unemployment shows a similar picture – since 2006 the percentage of permanently unemployed persons has fallen but the rate of foreign persons is almost twice as high as in the total population.

Barriers to employment and skills gaps identified in initial research are:

  • Language, especially vocational (major priority)
  • Lack of work experience in host country
  • Lack of knowledge/awareness of fitting current experience to roles applied for
  • Cross-cultural misunderstandings cause suspicion or hostility
  • Lack of awareness of cultural nuances and etiquette of host country
  • Qualifications gained in home country not accepted
  • Lack of understanding of host country employment culture and job application procedures
  • Lack of host country references
  • Lack of appropriate training or unrecognized qualifications
  • Racism and negative stereotyping
  • Lack of access to networks which would strengthen employment prospects and knowledge of recruitment methods
  • Uncertainty (caused by a lack of life and work perspectives)
  • Boredom and frustration leading to loss of self-esteem (caused by the lack of meaningful occupation, especially work)