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With unemployment at its lowest level since 1974, many businesses are struggling to find candidates to fill vacancies.

But one potentially untapped area that employers could look at is among the refugee population, who have right to work status in the UK. By giving work to refugees, two problems are solved at once: businesses have a talented pool of workers to call upon and refugees get back into employment, and the opportunity to rebuild their lives in a new country.

At 24-7 Staffing, we saw this working in action, when we were able to place into temporary employment six refugees from Syria and six from Ukraine. In all cases, there is the option for the employment to become permanent – great news both for our clients and our candidates.

Getting Syrian refugees into employment

We were asked to look for employment for five Syrian refugees, who were struggling to find work. There was potentially a language barrier although one spoke good English. Shane, our Director for Driving and Industrial, swung into action, contacting two of our long-standing clients to see if they’d consider employing the refugees. Both businesses were recruiting and we already had a number of temporary staff placed in each.

We had cultural considerations to take into account, but our clients even organised tours of their premises to allay concerns the refugees might have. In the end, all five were offered temporary contracts in the runup to Christmas and we have also found employment for a sixth. If all goes well, there is an option to be taken on permanently. As it turned out, the language barrier didn’t prove a problem for the employer or for Shane, who used a translation app on his phone.

Placing Ukrainian refugees in employment

We now have six Ukrainian refugees working with another of our clients and three (who are close friends) have even been placed on the same shift pattern so they can work alongside one another. They have been in the country since the Russian invasion of Ukraine, and they have mixed levels of English. Initially, we placed two Ukrainian men into employment. Since then, we have placed a further four Ukrainians, all women. Residence permits are coming through quickly for Ukrainian people, but they don’t need to wait for these to start work; they can take up employment from day one as long as they have the correct stamp in their passports.

Our Senior Recruitment Consultant Hayley has been helping the Ukrainians to find employment and is delighted with how well it has worked out.

“We helped them to complete all the paperwork and the processes, and then booked them in for an induction with our client.
“When it came to placing three of the women, who were all friends, there wasn’t enough space for them all to work together on the same shift pattern. So, we spoke to the client and they kindly made some changes so they could be together.”

The language barrier has not been a problem, as our client has been extremely accommodating. Working on the same shift has an added bonus, as those with better English are able to help those whose English is not so good. If all goes well, the jobs will be made permanent, giving extra security to the refugees.

If you know of any refugees with right to work status, living in the Wiltshire and Bristol area, we would love to hear from them.

We specialise in perfectly matching people into the right roles for our clients. For more information, please get in touch.