n Law, Democracy & Development - Refugees and asylum seekers : barriers to accessing South Africa's labour market

Volume 19, Issue 1
  • ISSN : 1028-1053
  • E-ISSN: 2077-4907



The employment of those who are seeking or granted asylum in South Africa is very challenging. The challenges range from ill-sentiment towards non-citizens to legal and procedural barriers, such as, measures that are taken by different role players to protect citizens with regards to accessing the labour market. Worth mentioning is the inability of some employers and professional councils to distinguish between the Refugees Act and the Immigration Act. These dynamics have restricted refugees' and asylum seekers' employment opportunities. In this situation, the skills that the refugees and asylum seekers bring with them are not potentially contributing to the South African economy. These refugee skills or human capital which Jacobsen refers to as "refugee resources" or "refugee economic assets", have not been accessed and controlled by South Africa to its own benefit, as will be illustrated in this article.

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