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Unlocking the value of refugee talent

It’s not easy to find work when you’ve lost your home and many of your rights. There’s increasing evidence of the economic contribution of migrants – when they’re given the chance. Of the 22.5 million refugees in the world, the U.N. says less than 1% are resettled and able to look for jobs. To better capture the lost talent, the U.N. last month launched a 10-point plan to help refugees find jobs and integrate more smoothly in host countries.

  • Labor mobility pathways… Talent Beyond Boundaries, backed by foundations and the U.S. State Department, has created a “talent catalog” of the skills of 10,000 refugees to match them with employers. Its pilot project in Jordan and Lebanon, launched in 2016, reportedly had matched only three refugees with jobs as of March. “This is about opening up an entirely new labor mobility pathway, so the social impact vastly exceeds the invested costs,” says Talent Beyond Borders’ Sayre Nyce.
  • Private sector solutions… Billionaire George Soros in 2016 pledged to invest $500 million in refugee-support projects and companies. Other companies and wealthy individuals that have taken up the challengeinclude Thyssenkrupp, LinkedIn and the American yogurt maker Chobani.
  • 10-point plan… The U.N.’s suggestions include: helping refugees navigate the host country’s administrative framework; providing employers with legal certainty; verifying refugees’ skills; training; matching refugees with appropriate employers; making the business case for hiring refugees; and coordinating the needs and actions of refugees, communities and employers.

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