Creating accessible services

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Co-financed by the European Fund for the Integration of Third Country Nationals

7. Creating accessible services

7.9 Employment services

7.9.1 Preventing exploitation 

It is crucial that foreign nationals working in Scotland are not vulnerable to exploitation, and understand and can access their rights.  New migrants are more likely to be vulnerable, because they are often unfamiliar with the UK labour market and their legal entitlements.  It is important to be sure that exploitative practices are not allowed, including:

  • people being paid under the minimum wage; 
  • people not being provided with holiday and sick pay;
  • people having no contract or pay slip; 
  • illegal deductions from wages; 
  • excessive working hours; 
  • unsafe working conditions; and
  • poor or overcrowded tied accommodation.

The Gangmasters Licensing Authority provides protection for vulnerable and exploited workers by improving labour rights standards and ensuring employers operate within the law.  It licenses gangmasters who meet acceptable operating standards in agricultural, food processing, shellfish gathering and associated industries.  However, exploitation can also be prevalent in other sectors such as construction, hospitality and social care.  

It is important to make sure that migrant workers know who to approach if they need help, and that these are trusted organisations.  People can be more likely to approach organisations in the third sector, due to concerns about the repercussions from approaching a formal ‘authority’ for assistance.  However, having staff who can speak community languages, are trained in intercultural communication, and who   are out and about in communities can greatly help to break down these barriers.

7.9.2 Promoting opportunities 

To encourage migrants to come to and settle in local areas, it is important that people are supported to use the skills and qualifications that they have.  Many migrants may have graduated in their home country, or have left high skilled employment.  However, it can be difficult for them to gain highly skilled employment due to the need to develop English language skills or employers not recognising the qualifications that they hold.  Migrants may also face other issues such as discrimination, lack of work experience in the UK, no references from UK employers and not being members of UK professional bodies.  Migrants can also find it difficult to understand job market processes – of application and interview – and the processes in place to support new business start-ups.

Find out more...

The Scottish Credit and Qualifications Framework (SCQF) is Scotland’s national qualifications framework.  It aims to support lifelong learning and to assist employers and learners in understanding Scottish qualifications and how they relate to each other.

The UK National Recognition Information Centre (NARIC) helps employers to understand the qualifications of prospective employees.  Individuals can also apply for a ‘statement of comparability’ which confirms the validity of overseas academic, vocational and professional awards and indicates a comparable level in the UK.

The European Qualifications Framework also allows for comparison of different qualifications within the European Union.

Talent Scotland supports people who are planning to relocate to Scotland.  It includes a detailed section on work opportunities.

Business Gateway provides free business support services, including advice on starting and growing a business.

The Refugees into Teaching Database is a network of support for refugees with teaching qualifications.

Video clips

Hear about Eman’s experience of employment in Scotland: