The global picture
At the end of 2022 108.4 million people worldwide had been displaced from their homes as a result of violence or persecution.
The majority (76%) of the world’s refugees and other people in need of international protection are currently living in low- and middle-income countries (with the largest proportions living in Turkey, Iran, Colombia, Germany, and Pakistan).
Refugees and asylum seekers in the UK
As of November 2022 there were 231,597 refugees, 127,421 pending asylum cases and 5,483 stateless persons in the UK. The war in Ukraine has driven a large increase from the previous year, when there were an estimated 135,000 refugees.
Of the top 10 nationalities applying for asylum, half have a grant rate above 80% (Afghanistan 98%, Iran 80%, Syria 99%, Eritrea 98%, and Sudan 84%).
On average, our clients waited nearly 3 years to hear the outcome of their cases. While they wait, most asylum seekers are not permitted to work, cannot choose where they live, and rely on government cash grants equivalent to £5.84 per day for food, sanitation and clothing.
Barriers to employment for refugees
Refugees living in the UK face a variety of barriers to employment, including:
- employment gaps on CVs due to the lengthy asylum process
- lack of UK work experience
- limited understanding of the UK job market and no professional networks
- non-recognition of qualifications
- language barriers
- cultural differences
- public misconceptions and discrimination.
84% of refugees reported that they did not have sufficient English language ability to get a job. Support with these issues is very limited – in some places waiting lists for English classes are two years long, and the majority of those in classes say that the classes they are doing are not sufficient to learn the language.
As a result, refugees in the UK are 4 times more likely to be unemployed than people born here, and on average earn about half the amount per week that UK nationals do. This is despite high levels of qualifications and skills (38% of refugees from Syria living in the UK have a university degree, for example).