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Title: The labour force experiences of refugees in Britain : the case of refugees from Vietnam
Author: Roberts, Keri
Awarding Body: University of Sheffield
Current Institution: University of Sheffield
Date of Award: 1998
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This thesis examines the labour force experiences of refugees living in Britain. By describing and exploring the employment, unemployment, training and job-search experiences of refugees from Vietnam it seeks to fill gaps in the existing literature. The literature currently recognises the importance of employment in the resettlement process, but fails to provide much insight into the long term experiences of refugees. Further, this thesis presents a new conceptual framework for understanding refugee labour force experiences. Literature from a wide range of disciplines informs a theoretical framework which stresses the complex and diverse nature of influences on refugee labour force experiences. The review of the experiences of refugees from Vietnam, draws on existing literature and novel quantitative analysis of the 1991 census, before giving a voice to the refugees themselves. Workers at 27 Vietnamese Community Associations around Britain describe labour force experiences in the areas they serve, while half also detail their own individual labour force careers. Throughout, emphasis is placed on the refugees' own interpretations of what has influenced their labour force experiences, and their reactions to those experiences. This thesis confirms that the refugees from Vietnam are spatially concentrated in locations which are characterised by high unemployment and a high ethnic Chinese population. This is reflected in their labour force experiences, which are dominated by unemployment or manual employment, particularly within the ethnic sector. Employment remains a minority experience for Vietnam refugees living in the majority of locations, although location specific differences in labour force experiences are identified. Self-reliance within the community of refugees from Vietnam is strong, as is the significance of access to labour force opportunities with the ethnic Chinese population. Both factors, do however have benefits and drawbacks. The evidence presented in this thesis supports the proposed framework for understanding refugee labour force experiences. Accordingly, this thesis argues for a refugee policy which recognises both the importance of employment in the resettlement process, and the complexity of factors which influence labour force experiences. A comprehensive programme of intervention is recommended to improve refugee labour force experiences, and community development is seen as a key element of this. A call for a permanent refugee resettlement organisation is also made.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available