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Refugee employment experiences : utilising Tamil refugee skills in London.

Healey, Ruth L (2009) Refugee employment experiences : utilising Tamil refugee skills in London. PhD thesis, University of Sheffield.

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Abstract

This research investigates the skills that Tamil refugees who have moved to the UK bring with them, the extent to which they utilise these skills, and how they adapt and develop their skills for the UK labour market. Through qualitative research with twenty-six Tamil refugees from Sri Lanka, and a further seventeen interviews with 'elite' contacts in London, the refugees' experiences of integration through employment are examined. Here the human and social capital factors influencing the use, or lack of use, of skills within the Tamil refugee community are analysed. Particular focus is placed on contrasting the practices of male and female refugees and the variations of perceptions of individual success within wider perceptions of success in broader Tamil societies. Further research undertaken with Tamils in Montreal offers a counterpoint to the situations of refugees in London, providing an international perspective on the wider Tamil diaspora. The concepts of success, gender. coping strategies, gratitude and integration are used to theorise the employment experiences of individuals. With a few exceptions, most previous research investigating the skills of immigrant groups has focused on the demand for, rather than the supply of, skills. and on the economic, rather than social, aspects of skill utilisation and adaptation. Research in this area has important implications for policies that disperse asylum seekers away from their ethnic communities. Supporting the utilisation of skills could contribute to overcoming some skill shortages and integrating refugees into society, as well as enhancing the lives of the refugees themselves. This thesis argues that the ethnic community and ethnic economy playa crucial role in shaping the employment experiences of Tamil refugees. The importance of the wider Tamil refugee community and the ability to be immersed within the Tamil ethnic economy on a day-to-day basis, however also contributes to the difficulties that Tamil refugees face integrating into wider societies. This is not a unique situation. Tamil refugees face some similar experiences to other immigrant groups. Consequently this work builds upon earlier work concerned with the migrationasylum nexus, arguing that the differentiation between forced migrants and economic migrants has been over-simplified when examining their experiences in host countries.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Academic Units: The University of Sheffield > Faculty of Social Sciences (Sheffield) > Geography (Sheffield)
Identification Number/EthosID: uk.bl.ethos.511931
Depositing User: EThOS Import Sheffield
Date Deposited: 13 Apr 2016 13:28
Last Modified: 13 Apr 2016 13:28
URI: http://etheses.whiterose.ac.uk/id/eprint/10338

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