Conflict and environmental pressures have driven a sharp increase in displacement over the past decade. Refugees come from all walks of life - they are doctors, engineers, skilled trade workers, software developers, aged and disability carers, and more. So many refugees have marketable skills, yet find themselves in countries where they cannot work locally or access basic rights, and are locked out of international employment opportunities.
Talent Beyond Boundaries (TBB) is creating safe migration pathways that enable displaced people to move for work, resume their careers, and rebuild their lives. We work with governments to design skilled immigration systems that are accessible to displaced people, we listen to the needs of businesses and we leverage technology to connect refugees with employers in need of their skills.
Three of the world’s largest immigration countries have now established formal refugee labour mobility schemes with TBB’s support (Australia, Canada and the UK), and the US and several European governments are now setting up pilot programs. More than a thousand people have secured solutions to their displacement as a result of these programs already, and millions of refugees will benefit in the decades to come.
Over the next five years we aim to open skilled migration pathways for refugees into 27 target countries, enable more than 15,000 refugees to relocate through these pathways with safety and dignity, and establish the foundations for the sustainable growth of this solution beyond 2027.
This work is changing people’s lives, and changing tired old narratives. When displaced people are able to move internationally for work, economies benefit, global employers gain access to a previously untapped talent pool, and families find safety, security, and the agency to rebuild their lives in communities where their talents are needed.
Talent Beyond Boundarieswebsite: http://www.talentbeyondboundaries.org/
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Scaling up programs
In 2022 TBB led successful refugee labour mobility programs in Australia, Canada, and the UK and directly matched 198 refugees with skilled jobs in a diverse range of industries in these countries, enabling them to migrate together with their family members and rebuild their careers. This represented a fifteen fold increase in recruitments since we started job matching in 2019. By the end of 2022 more than a thousand displaced people had secured solutions to their displacement as a result of these visa programs, and TBB had successfully advocated for increased skilled visa places for refugees in 2023.
Each of the refugees who have moved through these programs has made an impact - for themselves, for their families, and in their work. This year TBB alumni have treated thousands of patients with care in the UK, brought climate change mitigation expertise from Afghanistan to Australia, contributed much needed trade skills to Canada’s manufacturing industry, and won awards for technology and civil engineering innovations. More than 70% of the alumni in 2022 reported sending regular remittances to loved ones still in vulnerable situations abroad, creating significant flow on benefits.
Opening new skilled pathways
In 2022 the European Commission partnered with the International Organization for Migration (IOM) and TBB to open pathways into Belgium, Ireland and Portugal, and the United States committed to starting a pilot in 2023 with the support of TBB. We also helped launch the Global Task Force on Refugee Labour Mobility, chaired by the Government of Canada, to mobilize more governments and businesses around the world to embrace refugee recruitment and opening migration pathways to displaced talent.
Scaling technology and partnerships
More than 55,000 displaced people have now registered themselves on the Talent Catalog - the largest, fastest growing, and most geographically diverse database of refugee skill profiles in the world, developed by TBB as a shared resource for the growing ecosystem of partners working to facilitate international refugee labour mobility. Six partner organizations are now using the Talent Catalog technology to support refugees moving on labour pathways, and partner interest in using the platform is growing.
TBB launched a global partnership with IOM to strengthen labour mobility pathways for refugees and continued working closely with UNHCR. Building on our early work with Syrian refugees and other talent pools in the Middle East, TBB also launched new regional partnerships that led to our first job matches of refugees from Asia in 2022 and Latin America in January 2023 - helping us move to a global model and establish the framework for significantly expanded scale.
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2021 Swift Grant Awardee
Talent Beyond Boundaries was selected as a 2021 Swift Grant awardee in partnership with Southern New Hampshire University (Global Education Movement). The Swift Grants fund provides small grants to Bold Solutions Network members for collaborative projects.
These two Larsen Lam ICONIQ Impact Award finalists will team up to create an internship and long-term employment program for 150 refugees in Lebanon. The program will also train employers on how to recruit and retain refugee employees.