Helping the Workforce, Hire a Refugee! (The Rule to Hiring One)

October 21, 20193:53 pm988 views

As per UN High Commissioner for Refugee data, there are approximately 70.8 million people around the world who have been forced to fly from their home country with 1 person is displaced every two seconds.

What does it mean for global demography and business?

Some countries might face major challenges to integrate refugees in their economy and society due to overload population. Yet, refugees also offer a significant opportunity for the host country given the many skills and aptitudes they bring. They also play a crucial role in creating conditions for sustainable employment, UNHCR reported.

See also: How Can Organisations Encourage Diversity through Fairness in Assessments?

In many countries, employers have made decisions to connect with, support, and integrate refugees in the workplace. This has been particularly noticeable in countries at the forefront of a recent upsurge in refugee arrivals in Europe. Countries which have a long tradition in receiving resettled refugees also give an effort to developing this untapped talent pool. By doing this, both corporate social responsibility and the economy will improve, demonstrating potentials of refugee employment.

So, are you ready to hire talented refugees? If yes, let’s learn more about them, read on…

Who are refugees and what is their potential?

A refugee is any person who cannot return to their country of origin owing to a well-founded fear of persecution for reasons of race, religion, nationality, membership of a particular social group or political opinion. They can also be referred to as someone who is compelled to leave their country of origin due to indiscriminate violence or other events seriously disturbing public order or is someone who experienced a threat of life, safety or freedom as a result thereof.

A refugee who has applied for protection and is awaiting the determination of their status in a host country is referred to as an asylum seeker. Commonly, employers will hire asylum seekers because they are more eligible in terms of documents to be employed in a host country.

Refugees also bring talents and skills with them when fleeing from their torn-country. According to a media release published at Deakin University, refugees have the following potential for the workforce.

  1. Skills and qualification – Most of the refugees hold qualifications and practical experience in their home country. Thus, they are highly motivated to learn and build up more practical experience when employed.
  2. Native of different languages – Refugees might still need to improve their English proficiency, however, they are a native of their own mother tongue. This could be an employer’s advantage to expand the business globally.
  3. Diverse background – Researcher suggested that the more diverse a workplace is, the higher the level of innovation, productivity, and staff retention are.
  4. Loyal people – It is well documented that employees from a refugee background are more loyal to a company, a good solution for a lower turnover rate in an organisation.
  5. Fulfil your social responsibility as a company – Supporting and employing refugees in your workforce can build stronger community both locally and internationally. Society will also see your company as a generous industry.
Know their challenges

Albeit refugees can bring above potentials to the business marketplace, they are also subjected to barriers to employment issues. Tent’s guide for employers found that there are some gaps for refugee job seekers when it comes to applying for a job. These gaps often make an employer question their credibility and skills.

  • Lack of host country references
  • Racism and negative stereotyping
  • Lack of work experience in a host country
  • Public and workplace perception that accessional costs and admin will be required when hiring a refugee
  • Significant gaps on CV due to prolonged asylum process during which most refugees are unable to work

For the aforementioned barrier, UNHCR has developed detailed actions to close the gap between refugees and employment. The action includes acknowledging employers about refugees potential, job readiness for both employer and refugees, job and employment training for refugee talents with employer’s needs.

Further, employers and hiring managers should understand that:

1) the gap on their CV might be a reason for rejection, a result of the unavoidable process of fleeing an unsafe environment followed by lengthy asylum process.

2) Refugees might be unfamiliar with the interview process or online tests required by many organisations during selection.

3) Sometimes skills and experience might not seem matched to the job advertised, therefore, refugees often look for lower-skilled jobs that are suited for their immediate needs, in order to improve English language ability, for instance.

Where to find refugees?

“Partner with an organisation that understands the sector – this is hugely important. People from vulnerable backgrounds often need extra support and we just don’t have the HR capacity to give it.” – Hiliary Jenkins

To hire refugees, you can partner with a specialist agency, such as Career Seekers, Organisation for Refugee Employment, Advocacy, Training and Education Centre for Refugee, or Refugee Talent organisation. This option will ease your way to hire the refugee talent you need.

What to do after hiring ones?

After successfully recruiting refugees, the HR department needs to complete the pre-employment checks to confirm that the hired refugees have the right to work. All document will outline an individual’s leave to enter or remain or leave granted outside of the rules and it will state their right to work in the host country. Documentation might not necessarily state that an individual is a refugee. HR also required to conduct normal hiring procedures such as onboarding new staff.

Here are the examples of documents you need to consider:

  • National Insurance Number
  • Biometric Residence Permit (BRP)
  • Family Reunion Visa or Visa (refer to this pdf page 5 for detailed information)
  • Resettlement Document
  • Formal letter from the Home Office

Note: You might want to refer to the local community for more detailed documentation.

In addition, providing additional upskilling is often required to ensure employment is found and then sustained. You might also want to conduct on-the-job training and onboarding program to assist new hires in their new workplace. 

Read also: Inboarding vs. Onboarding: A Guide for Employers

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