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

StarMetro Edmonton - - CANADA & WORLD - Ni­cholas Ke­ung SUP­PLIED

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.

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