Global refugee resettlement places are diminishing; only 0.5% of refugees access resettlement annually. Many in the Asia-Pacific region will never access traditional resettlement protection pathways, and during their protracted displacement (often 10+ years), they cannot access employment and they receive limited assistance to survive, placing them at risk of human trafficking and labor exploitation. The Asia-Pacific region is experiencing acute labor shortages. East Asia would have to import 275m people between the ages of 15 and 64 by 2030 to maintain the share of its population at working age*. Refugees need support to overcome the barriers to employment and employers need support to access this untapped labor source.
There are models in some resettlement countries but nothing currently in the Asia-Pacific region using employment pathways to match labor needs and refugees in need of protection. Refugee Talent has a web platform and associated database designed to collect refugee CV information and present these refugee profiles to employers. The approach is innovative on a number of levels: we are introducing a new product to facilitate a targeted link between refugee communities and the international job market through skilled migration pathways; we are innovating processes by establishing regional partnership networks aimed at creating disruptive change to restrictive migration policies in the region; we are shifting the position of skilled migration towards a viable option for refugees and assisting the private sector to address labor needs; and we are shifting the paradigm of international protection strategies for refugees to include skilled migration.
Several activities need to take place concurrently to maintain momentum for this project and fill current gaps. HOST and Refugee Talent will continue to work on many of these, but this grant will enable the following:
*The Economist, 11 Feb 2017
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