Refugees, Social Capital and Labour Market Integration in the UK

Jennifer Phillimore, Sin Yi Cheung

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

72 Citations (Scopus)


This study examines the relationship between social capital and labour market integration of new refugees in the UK using the Survey of New Refugees (SNR). Our findings suggest that length of residency and language competency broaden one’s social networks. Contacts with religious and co-national groups bring help with employment and housing. The mere possession of networks is not enough to enhance access to employment. However, the absence of social networks does appear to have a detrimental effect on access to work. The type of social capital appears to have no significant impact on the permanency or quality of employment. Rather, language competency, pre-migration qualifications and occupations, and time in the UK are most important in accessing work. Our findings also have clear implications for both asylum and integration policy. The unequivocal importance of language ability for accessing employment points to a clear policy priority in improving competency.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)518-536
Issue number3
Early online date5 Jun 2014
Publication statusPublished - 2014


  • labour market integration
  • language fluency and literacy
  • refugees


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