The number of migrants and refugees is increasing across the globe. According to statistics, there are over 135,000 refugees currently in the U.K., with many more waiting to have their asylum cases approved. In terms of migration, over 570,000 people migrated to the U.K. in 2021. The U.K. is home to many migrants and refugees and the numbers continue to rise.
In turn, understanding and preparing to hire migrants and refugees as a significant portion of your workforce is an imminent reality in the U.K. For employers, migration and refuge-seeking should be something you understand well. If you don’t, it is very easy to make mistakes and exclude people unintentionally. To be fair and equal, we need to be educated. This topic is a key one in which to educate yourself. At Aspiring to Include, we are going to help with that.
How is the Term “Migrant” Defined?
To understand migrants and refugees, it is important to know the difference between the two. Starting with the definition of a migrant, this simply means someone who has left their home country willingly to find a new life. Migration often centres around finding better employment opportunities.
The terms “immigrant” and “migrant” are used interchangeably. Some people use the term immigrant to refer to someone who moves to a new country and stays there permanently, whereas a migrant simply moves for a period of time to work and gain new opportunities. Not everyone will abide by these same definitions, however. It is always important to refer to someone how they want to be referred to, and never make any assumptions.
How is the Term ‘Refugee’ Defined?
Generally speaking, a refugee is someone that has been displaced, removed or who has fled their home country and cannot return for fear of their own or their family’s safety. As such, they are unlikely to have a stable foothold in the U.K. This includes having an established employment network. Employment opportunities are essential to their integration and successful refuge.
We can see how things easily go wrong with the statistic that a quarter of homeless people in the U.K. are believed to be refugees or asylum seekers. Stable employment is something that can change the lives of refugees. It is often the object that stands between an unsuccessful and successful integration into a new country. Without stable employment, every other aspect of life suffers.
This means that the issues of seeking refuge in a new country and finding work go hand in hand. They are two issues very strongly linked together. As an employer, therefore, you cannot afford to ignore the topic. Knowing how to help refugees can be a huge support to the growing community. It also has benefits in store for you too. As does all engagement with diversity and inclusion.
Supporting Refugees and Migrants With Employment – The Benefits
The following are just some of the benefits and advantages you can expect as an employer who works with migrants and refugees:
As discussed in our pages on improving EDI and developing inclusivity, it is essential to have a diverse set of experiences among your employees. This is because, when discussing the need for change and increased inclusivity, it is difficult for one employee to conceptualise the challenges each protected characteristic faces without first-person examples. Diversity breeds understanding and perspective.
As such, being able to include the experiences of refugees, migrants or asylum seekers in any discussions about equality, diversity and inclusion will help expand the perspectives of the rest of your employees. In turn, they will be more open to accept and encourage change and greater inclusion from their colleagues.
This is essential for successfully developing an inclusive company culture. Inclusivity cannot be imposed from above but has to be understood and partaken in by all employees. It is very much so a trickle-down structure.
Many people who are refugees or migrants will be very appreciative and grateful to get a job. Stable work opportunities mean a lot to people with this status. As unfortunate as it is, they know first-hand the alternative should they lose their position with you. Therefore, dedication and loyalty are something you will expect to see from these employees.
These qualities are great for overall staff morale. Having employees who really want to be there and want to work hard has a great knock-on effect on the rest of your staff force. They are also good for increasing levels of staff retention. The more dedicated an employee, the longer they stay working for you. That saves a lot of time and money on your part. Given that staff turnover is one of the most significant wastes of company expenses in the U.K., solving that issue could significantly decrease your annual running costs.
Filling Skills Gaps
Employing a group of diverse workers is likely to expand the diverse selection of skills available to you. Given the major issues surrounding skills gaps in the U.K., having a greater selection of skills is only going to be beneficial. It is not a far stretch to say that having people from all sorts of different backgrounds increases the likelihood of a varied set of skills within your workplace. The more the merrier.
Often, refugees have a diverse skillset of languages, allowing your company to expand its consumer base to other regions abroad and to communicate with a wider range of people. Opening up to the world is much easier with a diverse staff force. It also helps diverse customers become attracted to your company. When we see someone like us working somewhere, we are more likely to approach them. Having a diverse staff can easily increase your customer base.
In addition to this, with a refugee’s increased incentive to hold onto the role, many are likely to also be open to taking on further training. This will allow you to develop a more and more skilled and valuable set of employees.
How to Find Diverse Employees
If this page has convinced you of the benefits of employing migrants and refugees, you might now be wondering how to find them. Opening yourself up as an inclusive employer is one of the best things to do, and it is time to get started.
To reach a diverse group of employees, you can work with us at Aspiring to Include. We help companies become diversity-positive and reach a wide pool of candidates in doing so.
We can help you create an inclusive company profile, advertise your vacancies in an accessible way, provide coverage for your company, and more. Our services for employers can help you reach the next level of equality, diversity and inclusion, and therefore gain all the benefits from that.
Take a peek at all of the services we offer, right here, and get started on your journey to equal opportunities today.