CANADA & WORLD Refugee pilot project turns lens to Canada
Washington-based NGO built a refugee talent pool, matching candidates with employers FULL STORY AT THESTAR.COM/GTA
Call it a global job recruitment agency for refugees.
A Washington-based NGO has built a refugee talent pool and is matching candidates with employers from around the world. Not only does it help pull displaced migrants out of poverty, it alleviates labour shortages in western countries by providing them with skilled workers.
Since its 2016 inception, Talent Beyond Boundaries (TBB) has vetted and developed skill profiles for more than 10,000 refugees now in Lebanon and Jordan — 30 per cent of them with an undergrad degree or above and half with intermediate to full English proficiency. The talent pool includes people from 200 professions, the majority with a background in engineering, health care, IT, teaching, accounting and university education.
“We need to change the Syrian refugee Mohammed Hakmi has been offered an IT job with Ontario-based tech firm Bonfire Interactive.
narrative of the way we view refugees as unskilled and uneducated,” said Bruce Cohen, a former counsel in the U.S. Senate, who co-founded the organization with his wife Mary Louise Cohen, also a lawyer. “This is not to undercut the existing refugee resettlement effort but to open up new pathways to add to the solution.”
With an established — and still expanding — talent pool as well as backing from the United Nations Refugee Agency, the project has reached out to Canadian employers
and is using Canada as the testing ground to bring in skilled refugees on work permits and maybe even as permanent residents.
Currently, fewer than 1 per cent of the 20 million UN-registered refugees around the world are resettled from a temporary host country in the developing world to the west.
Cohen said he hopes to resettle as many as 25 refugees to Canada under the joint pilot with Ottawa and if successful, expand it to other countries.