Employing Refugees; guidelines to help UK businesses

Employing Refugees; guidelines to help UK businesses

Simple steps that companies can take in employing refugees to enable employment and build their skills, benefiting companies and the UK economy.

The guide covers:

  • Getting the facts right – where do refugees live? Can refugees work in the UK?
  • Business benefits of hiring refugees
  • Inspiring and preparing refugees for employment in the UK
  • Hiring: Creating a refugee-friendly recruitment process
  • Growing: Enabling refugees to thrive in the workplace
  • An International Action Plan: OECD and UNHCR stakeholder 10-point Action Plan
  • Frequently Asked Questions

Businesses in the UK are beginning to discover the benefits of refugee-friendly employment – addressing skills shortages, tackling high turnover and diversifying their workforce. Business in the Community’s new guidelines, published in partnership with the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) and International Organization for Migration (IOM), provides a framework of practical action and examples to help businesses know where to start.

On 18 December 2018, 181 UN Member states, including the UK, voted in favour of adopting the Global Compact on Refugees, which establishes an international framework for a stronger, more predictable and more equitable international response to large refugee situations. A key component of the Compact is to foster the resilience and self-reliance of refugees. In working towards these goals the Compact highlights the need for cross society partnerships, and a crucial role for the private sector – whether through providing investment in areas hosting refugees, making refugees part of their supply chains, helping humanitarian agencies innovate to better deliver assistance, skills acquisition or providing employment.

One of the key contributors to refugee integration is meaningful employment. Employment enables self-sufficiency and provides social connections as refugees use their skills and experience in a new context. Yet many refugees in the UK struggle to gain employment or find themselves in jobs that do not match their skills and experience.

UK businesses are beginning to respond to this, adopting refugee-friendly employment practices to address core business challenges

The guide builds on the UNHCR and OECD global action plan to boost refugee employment, and research commissioned by the Refugee Employment Network1 in the UK. It provides advice and case studies tailored to the UK context.

Business in the Community is helping create
a skilled and inclusive workforce for today and tomorrow.


  1. BITC for the Refugee Employment Network (REN), Effective Partnerships: A report on engaging employers to improved refugee employment in the UK, 2018 and Milestone Tweed for REN, Refugee Employment Support in the UK, May 2018. Both reports can be provided by REN on request from hello@refugeeemploymentnetwork.co.uk