Focused discussion on recruiting and Supporting asylum seekers and refugees - summary

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Created by Debbie Ambrose
Last updated 5 months ago

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05 January 2023 at 3:06pm


This is an ongoing conversation that many of you are interested in. There are challenges and we hope that you will find some of the advice and comments from our guests useful.

Question from one of our guests:

“I'm interested in what organisations do to prepare their staff and existing volunteers for refugees and asylum seekers joining them. Do you do any work on dispelling myths and stereotypes? Provide information on what the asylum seeking process is like for people?”


  • Present to organisations who look after asylum seekers and refugees.
  • VSI Alliance meets a number of people who come from asylum backgrounds either waiting or have got permission to stay. Many have health skills. For example: they have been midwives and doctors in their own countries and are desperate to use those skills.


  • Accept that they will sometimes not have a passport.
  • Allocate non clinical roles (ie Meet and Greet) that don’t require a DBS. After a 6 months probationary period review and then make a decision as to whether they can be placed in a clinical area.
  • Self declaration forms.
  • A sworn oath witnessed by a legal professional can sometimes be used if a DBS check is not possible, however there is a cost attached to this.

Additional support

  • Give support with the application process.
  • Provide bespoke in house training for those who are not able to do the online training. A paper version can be useful so that you can sit down with individuals and go through the process with them.
  • Buddy schemes.
  • Partner with other organisations who may provide general training to help make the experience of volunteering a good one, in particular how to ensure that the environment is welcoming for refugee volunteers.

Success stories

  • A Ukrainian refugee doctor is assisting with a young adult group. Once he is able to get his papers in order he will be able to do more.
  • A young woman who lives in a hotel and is also a patient at the hospital has nothing to do all day and is desperate to be busy. She only has a piece of paper saying that she is an asylum seeker and can’t provide a reference because she doesn’t know or trust anybody. The Trust have agreed to offer her an admin role in the hospital as this will not require a DBS.
  • One Trust is working with The Harbour Project - Wiltshire and has around 30 prospective volunteers going through the recruitment process.
  • A Syrian lady who has been here a couple of years is learning English at a college so her references were provided via the college. She is now doing well supporting the maternity ward where there are a number of Syrian mums.
  • One organisation is developing a toolkit of best practice including e-learning modules – this will be available during 2023.

Useful links

Accessibility tool (interpreting and translation) - Recite Me

DBS Checks Atlantic

  • “What is Atlantic data for DBS?
  • Atlantic Data's Disclosures service allows organisations to process, administer and manage criminal record checks for staff, volunteers and other workers, by providing an online solution which connects to the Disclosure and Barring Service via its eBulk service.”

Monzo - bank accounts for refugees.

This discussion took place on 2 November 2022.

For details of future network discussions please go to our events page.

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