A broader range of talent is good for business, including hiring immigrants and refugees. With this post, we’ll go over the benefits of hiring from these groups and strategies to make the most of these unique employees. Did you know that upgrading your free online recruiting software can also help your overall hiring strategies? Convert to Recruiteze today! We’re number one in the market place for free applicant tracking. Read on to learn more.
Benefits of Hiring Immigrants and Refugees
The upsides boil down to two main points: immigrants’ and refugees’ appreciation of the opportunity to work and the diverse experiences they bring to the workplace.
Whether still residing in another country and merely staying for a period of time to work in this one or moving to this country by choice or by force, employees originating from another country offer unique benefits to the workforce.
Let’s get the simplest one out of the way first. Depending on your location, the job, and the employees you want to hire, you may be eligible for a tax credit for your hire.
Gratefully Fill Hard-to-Fill Positions
The most well-known benefit is that they give you access to more talent if your own country’s talent doesn’t provide enough opportunities to fill the positions you need.
If there aren’t enough candidates for a job, the candidates don’t have the skills or attitude you need, or simply don’t want the job, employers often turn to immigrants and refugees. These people often appreciate opportunities to better themselves in positions and jobs that locals are jaded by. Honest labor, a chance to interact with customers and improve their language skills, and a way to gain experience to help them get established in a new country’s job market mean a great deal to someone starting over or looking for new opportunities.
They also help make up for talent deficits locally. If an employer is struggling to meet experience and education requirements in their present candidate base, looking to immigrants, global talent, and refugees opens a wide range of new possibilities.
Many people probably aren’t aware of this, because we normally are only made aware of their plight or their desire to come to this country and not the lives they had before, but refugees and new citizens possess a wide variety of skills and education.
The U.S. Committee for Refugees and Immigrants describes it well, “Refugees showcase a variety of employable skills. Our refugee community is composed of doctors, nurses, small business owners, farmers, construction workers, graphic designers, tailors, and more. Most refugees speak several languages. Some refugees hold Master’s Degrees while others are expert farmers or gifted artisans. If you’re looking for a skilled employee, we can match you with a qualified refugee.”
Bring Diversity and Creativity to the Job
People who grew up in another country had different experiences and grew up with the influences of another culture. They have different viewpoints that aid problem-solving and team-building and may particularly suit individual corporate cultures.
Here is an excerpt from a 2016 study regarding refugees in the workforce:
“Persons who have been uprooted from traditional cultures, or who have been thoroughly exposed to two or more cultures, seem to have the advantage in the range of hypotheses they are apt to consider, and through this means, in the frequency of creative innovation,” according to Donald Campbell, one of the leading psychologists in creativity research in the 1960s.
Anyone who fought hard to work in or come to a country as opposed to simply being born there, clearly has a drive and desire to be there. They probably aren’t just throwing applications your way because they halfway want to work for you as we sometimes fear about local workers.
Bilingual individuals literally think differently. This aids in creative thinking and problem-solving.
People who are fluent in several languages also tend to be more creative. “Languages codify concepts differently, and the ability to draw upon these varied perspectives during a creative process generates a wider range of associations,” Frans Johansson explained in The Medici Effect: Breakthrough Insights at the Intersection of Ideas, Concepts, and Cultures.
Refugees Are Unusually Resilient
When a person has been persecuted, forced to leave their home, quite likely had to endure unspeakable hardships to come to a new land, and has learned a whole new way of life, that person is resilient, adaptable, and likely to be loyal to your business. Their strength can be a motivator for your entire team, and they definitely have some rare insights to share.
These people also have a strong desire to be self-sufficient, support their families, and improve their lives. They are going to be invested in their work and in their growth, making for passionate and engageable employees who are eager to learn.
Whether you want to manage costs, fill a difficult position, navigate a poor talent field, fix retention rates, boost employee engagement, or increase creativity, hiring immigrants, global talent, and refugees may be a major benefit to your business.
The Big Dogs Do It
Many major corporations make it part of their business strategy to hire refugees:
- Marriott Hotels
Certainly, this choice will be following in the footsteps of the most successful businesses.
Strategies for Success When Hiring Immigrants and Refugees
To make the most of the benefits of hiring immigrant and refugees as quickly as possible, you should consider using our free online recruiting software and the following tips.
If you plan to hire immigrants who are still citizens of their former country, you will have to gain Foreign Labor Certification, whether hiring permanently or temporarily. To hire permanent employees, you also need a Permanent Labor Certification which means you acquire immigration authorization from USCIS. It is also important when hiring anyone, local, immigrant, refugee, or new citizen to fill out the I-9 forms appropriately and check their identifications as directed.
Monster explains more on the subject, “Employers who want to hire noncitizens who live outside the United States to work temporarily in the US must show their actions will not negatively affect the job opportunities, wages or working conditions of workers already residing here by demonstrating there are not enough such workers available and that the proposed wages and working conditions meet regional standards.
The employer must also actively attempt to recruit workers already residing in the US to fill the position, including newspaper and radio advertising. Employers must also provide free, approved housing for workers unable to go home each day, as well as certain types of transportation, workman’s compensation or equivalent insurance and appropriate tools and supplies at no cost. Employers must also show that the position is not open because of a strike or lockout.”
Be flexible with experience and education expectations, because many refugees and immigrants run into barriers in this country because their experience and education is hard or impossible to prove.
This excerpt from The Guardian provided two examples:
“Although he’s applied for jobs, 22-year-old Yousefi has faced challenges common among refugees when seeking work: a language barrier and no local work experience or references. He’s just started a part-time job with tea company Chaigaram, which provides employment to refugees and aims to help them better integrate into the UK.”
And, “Mursal Hedayat, for example, witnessed the plight of her mother, a civil engineer who not only had to abandon her possessions and social connections when she fled Afghanistan for the UK in 1994, but also the professional identity she’d worked hard to build. “Settled in one of the world’s most developed economies, she encountered numerous barriers to using her ample skill and experience for the benefit of herself or society,” says Hedayat. These included no recognition for her overseas qualifications and lack of UK-based experience.”
Look for alternate ways to prove their knowledge and skills rather than immediately discarding their applications because these items may not be able to be fact-checked. If you want to start hiring refugees, perhaps try a screening tool or trial period to prove their experience and knowledge. There are many tools and strategies of this sort you might like to use in your business at all times as self-screening measures, and implementing such a tactic keeps your hiring methods easy to verify and compare.
Creating a Fertile Environment
As the law states in Monster’s quote above, employees are able to work, and able to do better work, when they have a healthy home environment, temporary or permanent, and have an engaging work environment. The law dictates the basics, but the more you can do, the better the outcomes.
Give them opportunities to train and learn as much as they want to. If they are ready to add on another role, encourage them. This helps them get the most from their immersive experience in this country and motivates them to be creative and helpful as well as to develop verifiable work experiences.
Address any incidents and complaints of harassment or discomfort in the job, should they arise. Be mindful of anti-discrimination laws as well as issues that are not illegal but could have a detrimental effect on the employee’s work and job satisfaction. Consider training in anti-discrimination of all types and working lessons learned from these programs into the company culture.
Utilize organizations like the U.S. Committee for Refugees and Immigrants to ease the process.
Here are the services they promise on their website:
- Pre-screen applicants to find the most qualified workers
- Match employers with dependable employees
- Increase productivity by reducing staff turnover
- Manage external factors so that employees can focus on work at work
- Ensure that refugees have access to English classes
- Facilitate communication between the employee and employer
- Follow up—we won’t disappear after the placement is made
Pranav Chopra, the owner of Chai grams mentioned above said, “We have an amazing wealth of talent on our hands, which is being under-used, so I strongly feel more should be done to work with such groups. They’re not in need of ‘help’, more that first opportunity to get into meaningful employment.” With a little extra planning, we can offer these immigrants, global talent, and refugees an opportunity to better themselves and better our businesses at the same time.
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