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Migrants and Employment

Wales is committed to becoming a Nation of Sanctuary, one nation that welcomes people fleeing persecution to live well, work and thrive in our communities throughout Wales.

Employment rates are lower for migrants than many other communities within the UK, however we are not urging businesses to employ migrants out of sympathy or charity.

Migrants who arrive in Wales fleeing war or persecution, possess talent that is being under-utilised in the Welsh labour market. Your company can fill vacant posts and skills gaps, diversify your workforce and become more inclusive as an organisation, but also support people who have fled their home countries to start a new life in Wales.

Migrants have a diverse range of skills and experience and are keen to find employment. Your company can show good practice for forward thinking by investing in these hard working candidates whilst demonstrating corporate social responsibility.

Employing migrants will not only encourage and empower other employers to follow your lead, but allow your business to thrive, succeed and flourish. We can provide training, resources and support to Businesses who share Welsh Government’s values of equality, diversity and inclusion as a Nation of Sanctuary.

Migrants have the right to work in the UK with no restrictions and have many skills and qualities that are going unutilised in Wales. We want to offer you the exciting opportunity to fill vacant job posts in your organisation.

What is in it for you?

  • Research by Mckinsey (2019) demonstrated culturally diverse companies are 36% more likely to financially outperform competitors and can increase your companies’ strength and presence in the international market.
  • Businesses have an opportunity to share their company ethos with candidates prior to their applications.
  • Candidates can add a range of educational and work related skills and experiences to help your business develop.
  • These individuals have experienced adversity in their countries of origin and have been forced to leave their homes, undergo a difficult journey to start a new life in the UK demonstrating their resilience, determination and resourcefulness. They can bring these qualities to the workplace
  • Our clients can give businesses the opportunity to develop existing employees by giving them the opportunity to train, support and mentor new starters. 
  • Investing in these employees is beneficial as there is a 75% higher retention rate with refugees than with other staff (Fiscal 2015). 

What can our Employer Engagement Officer offer to businesses?

The Welsh Government Employer Engagement Officer can work with any type and size of business who have either recruited migrants or who are considering this new venture but have reservations over the process.

Avenues of support include:

  • Training sessions to give further information about employing migrants.
  • Answering any questions that businesses may have and highlight the potential benefits of recruiting migrants.
  • Enable businesses to expand their recruitment by connecting employers with organisations supporting migrants to find candidates.
  • Guidance can be given to businesses to create paid placement schemes to bypass normal recruitment processes to level the playing field for sanctuary seekers. Read more about the success of IKEA’s UPPNA Programme.
  • Advise employers about other Welsh Government employability schemes which can be used when recruiting migrants.
  • The Welsh Government Employer Engagement Officer can meet with businesses for informal updates at the post recruitment stages.
  • Businesses can have the opportunity of attending engagement events to learn more about other businesses experiences of recruiting migrants.
  • Join an online secure workspace to learn from other employers involved and to share knowledge.

Find out more

If you would like to learn more about how we can help you to recruit excellent candidates to grow your business you can register your interest via the Expression of Interest form

You can contact the Employment Engagement Officer at

Research was conducted to identify gaps in the labour market for Refugees in Wales. Read more about this

Welsh Government ran the ReStart project from 2019- March 2022 (part funded through UK Responsible Authority) which supported Refugees to integrate into Wales by providing accredited ESOL (English for Speakers of Other Languages) courses, and employability support. Refugees undertook a language assessment to see if they required ESOL classes and to allocate them to a class in line with their ability. A holistic assessment was completed that explored different integration factors including their employment goals, previous experience, education and need for support. Work coaches in the hubs provided support with CV writing, interview technique and job search. The 4 hubs that provided employability support were in Wrexham, Swansea, Cardiff and Newport. 3 Employer Engagement Officers covered these regions and connected hopeful candidates with employers to kick start their careers and lives in Wales.

Tools for harnessing the skills of refugees in your workplace

Success stories

You can also read our guidance documents: