Access to the labour market is a key element of displaced migrants’ ‘integration’ experiences. Labour market access provides displaced migrants with financial stability and sustainability, the development of community networks and positive health outcomes. It also provides benefits to local and national economies. Displaced migrants bring new skills-sets, perspectives and experiences to the labour market, and the medium to long-term fiscal impact of refugee labour market access are likely to be positive. In the UK, asylum seekers do not have access to the labour market and so support for displaced migrants focuses on refugees for the duration of their leave to remain. Refugee labour market access is subject to both devolved and reserved governance. Though the Scottish Government does not have power over immigration controls, it has policy control over areas related to labour market training, and to business development. Until recently, support for refugee labour market access in Scotland has focussed on the provision of employability and skills development services. While this remains a vital element of refugee support, it has meant two emerging areas of interest – (1) enterprise and entrepreneurship and (2) employer engagement – remain under-developed. GLIMER Research argues that an overemphasis on refugee employability services neither addresses the full scope of labour market opportunities in Scotland nor the structural barriers to the labour market encountered by refugees. We argue that equivalent focus on policymakers and employers is necessary to address these conditions. We also argue that increased consideration needs to be given to the local labour market conditions in Resettlement areas outside the Central Belt. While valuable lessons can be learned from Resettlement employability successes, a ‘one size fits all approach’ is not appropriate Scotland-wide where there is significant local-level diversity. This policy brief notes that there are likely to be significant changes and challenges to the labour market in Scotland in 2020, and suggests that in this environment improving refugee access to the labour market is critical. This policy brief presents our research findings and makes recommendations for how this can be done.

DOI: 10.5281/zenodo.5082916