“You have to work…but you can’t!”: contradictions of the active labour market policies for refugees and asylum seekers in the UK

Francesca Calo*, Tom Montgomery, Simone Baglioni

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

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Abstract

The discourse of deservingness has been mobilised against certain groups in the UK society navigating UK labour markets, among them refugees and asylum seekers. These discourses, leading to the stigmatisation of the unemployed are coupled with an emphasis on the importance of individuals taking responsibility to develop their ‘employability’. Little attention has been paid to scrutinise the contrast between the deservingness rhetoric and policy making with the actual conditions newcomers, and in particular refugees and asylum seekers, are confronted with when seeking employment. Our paper fills such a gap by indicating key contradictions at the heart of labour market integration in the UK. On the one hand, the emphasis on deservingness is coupled with policy discourses that construct an environment shaped by welfare and labour market chauvinism. On the other hand, the policy architecture is fundamentally flawed in a number of ways in terms of the support mechanisms necessary to ensure that newcomers can successfully integrate into the labour market.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages19
JournalJournal of Social Policy
Early online date13 Jul 2022
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 13 Jul 2022

Keywords

  • newcomers
  • integration
  • UK labour market
  • discourse analysis

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