London Metropolitan University Research Institutes


Employment barriers for refugees and asylum seekers in London

Funded by:

the SEQUAL Partnership


May 2003 - May 2005

Refugees and asylum-seekers in Britain currently experience disproportionately high rates of unemployment. IPSE and RAGU (the Refugee Assessment and Guidance Unit) jointly conducted a 2 year research project to investigate the range of barriers that are faced by refugees and asylum-seekers when seeking work. The project was funded by the SEQUAL partnership, which is a national network that is funded by the European Social Fund, to investigate the range of barriers and good practice that exists in relation to improving 'employability' among diverse groups

The research sought to understand the issues from a variety of perspectives: we gathered the views of employers, policy-makers, recruitment firms, specialist refugee/asylum-seeker agencies and of course from refugees/asylum-seekers themselves. The project identified examples of good practices and made recommendations for removing existing barriers and for improving access to the labour market for these groups.

The project used qualitative methods, primarily semi-structured interviews and the collection of documentary evidence. We interviewed around 20 refugees/asylum-seekers, 10 employers/organisations, 5 specialist agencies and a small sample of policy organisations.


The final report is available online at:

Project Team:

Azar Sheibani
Louise Archer
Sumi Weldon-Hollingworth
Uvanney Maylor
Marie-Pierre Moreau.


Azar Sheibani -
Louise Archer -


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