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Health Soc Care Community. 2011 Sep;19(5):468-75. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2524.2011.00989.x. Epub 2011 Feb 24.

Exploring the potential of refugees and asylum seekers for social care work in England: a qualitative study.

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Social Care Workforce Research Unit, King's College London, London, UK. shereen.hussein@kcl.ac.uk

Abstract

Literature highlights the potential for refugees to contribute to the labour force of receiving countries. Such a contribution may be welcomed in sectors, such as social care, where demand for labour is increasing and high vacancy rates exist. This article reports on empirical data examining the potential of refugee communities to work in social care in England. The analysis is based primarily on 20 interviews with refugees and asylum seekers and five representatives of refugee support groups, conducted in 2008-2009. The findings of this sub-study are set within results obtained from other interviews as part of a multi-methods study examining the contribution of migrants to the English care sector. In-depth interviews were analysed thematically, guided by a theoretical framework linking employment, migration and the nature of care work. The findings highlight a general willingness of refugee participants to join the care workforce. Individual and structural barriers to increased employability were identified, as well as possible strategies to overcome them. Although the findings and discussions presented are based on data collected in England and are specific to the care sector, most are more generalisable and may inform strategies aiming at maximising refugees' employability in other sectors and in other developed states.

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