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Job Search for Asylum Seekers

By: Beth Morrisey MLIS - Updated: 9 Aug 2013 | comments*Discuss
Job Search Employment Asylum Immigrants

Looking for employment can be frustrating for asylum seekers in the UK not the least because it is usually illegal for them to be employed during the first 12 months of their asylum application and then they may only be allowed to work once they have received a positive response from the government.

If they are legally allowed to look for work, asylum seekers often must overcome language difficulties, accreditation from foreign bodies and obstacles in work culture in order to be successful and employable in the UK. Thankfully most of these obstacles can be overcome by asylum seekers seeking employment by using their time for volunteering and upskilling or retraining as well as drawing on resources for immigrants.


During the time that they are barred from paid employment many asylum seekers begin to form networks in the UK by volunteering. Not only does this help pass the days, but volunteering can also give you an introduction to British culture, a chance to practice English language skills, the opportunity to form work contacts, and of course something to put on your CV and someone from which you can count on a letter of reference for when the time comes to look for paid employment.

Upskilling or Retraining

If you have some resources at your disposal, consider enrolling in courses to upskill or retrain in order to set yourself apart from the pack when it comes time to apply for paid employment.

Your local authorities should be able to provide you with information on adult education in your area, or look online for distance learning courses that you could do from home or in a public library. Local charities, community groups and religious organisations may also have further information on upskilling or retraining courses for adults.

Draw on Resources for Immigrants

Many organisations exist in the UK today to support recent immigrants and asylum seekers in the UK, so don’t hesitate to make contact with them as needed. Not only will these organisations be able to inform you of common job search procedures in the UK, but they may also be able to help you write a CV, find referees to give you a letter of reference, advise you on work culture in the UK and even offer practical tips on things like your interviewing outfit. Many asylum seekers receive support from:

Go it Alone

If you are ready to start job hunting in the UK, remember that you can also go it alone and start your job search without the counsel of any charities or support organisations though you will have fewer advisors to help you navigate things like legal contracts if you choose to do this. If you are alright with this, then get a jump start on your job hunt by:

  • Looking at the job ads in your local, regional or even national newspapers.
  • Browse the fliers on community notice boards in local supermarkets or libraries.
  • Check job databases or websites on-line.
  • Call in to local recruitment agencies.

The job search for asylum seekers can be fraught with difficulties, but there are many avenues for asylum seekers to pursue and a host of local and national organisations to offer support. Don’t be afraid to ask for help when needed, and hopefully soon you’ll have great news to share.

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