International Debate

Understanding why refugees in London work in the ‘informal economy’

May 17, 2011 1345

A new report by Community Links and the Refugee Council examines the causes of informal economic activity within refugee communities in London and considers what the ‘refugee-specific’ factors might be. The report, which was commissioned by the Greater London Authority, finds that – despite having permission to work in the UK – a proportion of the refugee population is working cash-in-hand.

The report states that refugees are sometimes forced into the ‘informal economy’ out of necessity, as they are in poverty and may have difficulties accessing the formal labour market. The reasons for this are explored, and include refugees’ unfamiliarity with the way the UK job market works, language difficulties and a lack of understanding among some employers of refugees’ entitlement to work. The report concludes with a series of recommendations to address these issues.

A full copy of the report can be downloaded here.

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