A cost-effective way to restart careers of refugee civil, electrical and mechanical engineers, architects, IT, telecoms and business service professionals.

Why are professional paid returner placements the right approach?

Refugee professionals represent an untapped pool of highly skilled, graduate talent. Lack of professional UK work experience, means refugees often stand little chance of getting through competitive recruitment processes.

Returner placements enable employers to fill skills gaps, meet inclusion and diversity targets and build strong teams. Similar placements operate for women and ex military returners. Like graduate schemes, returner placements provide a low risk trial period for employers and candidates to learn and work together.

Meet our candidates

How do professional placements work?

  • 3-12 month paid placements, at National Living Wage (most employers pay higher) are developed collaboratively by the employer and Refugees & Mentors.
  • Employers seek experienced candidates with the ability to learn and perform well in roles, carefully considering what is essential to fulfill hiring needs.
  • Developing a successful, supportive placement requires good communication, ongoing commitment and teamwork across departments.
  • There’s no obligation to hire at the end of the placement.
  • If you do have a role to fill at the end of a successful placement, there’s a good chance of hiring a loyal employee.
Returner Process infographic
Returner Process infographic

Ready to Work

Refugees & Mentors’ candidates have permission to work in the UK, a Biometric Residence Permit and National Insurance number.

They are graduate professionals with between 2 and 25 years’ experience. Equivalency of overseas qualification are approved by UK NARIC and/or UK professional bodies. Many candidates have completed further degree or masters qualifications in the UK.

We assess candidates’ readiness for work and offer individually tailored information and guidance so they can map their skills and build their professional portfolio, including membership of professional bodies and ongoing placement support. You can find out more about the service offered to candidates on our Returner Project page.


Employers pay a one-off £1,200 agency fee for the returner placement service. This includes Refugees & Mentors’ screening of candidates, placement development, candidate learning journals and monthly 3-way reviews.

When candidates are hired following a placement or without placement support there is a 15% social enterprise fee with no hidden extra costs. (This fee is not deducted from candidates salary).

Refugees & Mentors Returner Project, was developed at the end of 2019 in collaboration with Transitions, London.


Free Government Checks

To check the right to work, use the government’s Employer checking service and Check a biometric residence permit service.