This web platform is an initiative of the UNHCR Country Office in Cyprus, in collaboration with Cyprus Refugee Council, to support refugee integration through work. It is meant for refugees, employers, institutions running vocational education and training (VET) programmes, and individuals and organizations committed to promoting social participation, inclusion and diversity.
While the primary responsibility for facilitating the integration of refugees rests with the government, employers have a crucial role to play in helping refugees gain access to the labour market so that their skills, talents and competences are not wasted. When refugees are effectively integrated into the labour market, they can help meet the country’s growing needs for skilled labour and contribute to the flourishing of the national economy.
Refugees are indeed among the most vulnerable people who have endured enormous suffering. And yet, they are among the most resilient people on earth. They often find the strength to overcome despair, and forge new lives in strange lands against seemingly overwhelming challenges. They bring valuable skills, and are eager to support themselves and their families by hard work. Refugees are not people who are going to take anything away from us. To the contrary, they can and will contribute to their host society economically, socially and culturally, if we give them the chance to do so, and if we ensure that proper integration programmes are in place.
WHY FOCUS ON WORK
Work is essential to helping refugees rebuild their lives and integrate into the economic and social fabric of the host society. Yet the unemployment and underemployment of refugees is unacceptably high in Cyprus. Despite high levels of qualifications and extensive work experience in their home countries, many refugees in Cyprus encounter enormous difficulties finding jobs that match their skills. They often can only find informal, short-term, low-paid, menial jobs. This has further exacerbated their sense of alienation, marginalization and hopelessness. And it has left the refugees less able to meaningfully contribute to Cyprus. For refugees to be able to effectively exercise their legal right to work as enshrined in the Cyprus Refugee Law, they need to be given adequate support to access jobs. Many need to be provided with specific, technical language and skills training that allows them to re-gain confidence and self-esteem.
HOW TO HELP
If you are able to provide any of the support listed below or help in any other way, please sign up to this initiative and contribute to creating career opportunities for refugees in Cyprus and further developing their skills and competences:
• Offer jobs to qualifying refugees
• Provide apprenticeship places combined with language training
• Provide internships that are structured around concrete learning outcomes
• Post-placement support to ensure sustainability of employment
• Provide career guidance through outreach activities (e.g. visit to reception centres)
• Continuous on the job training and mentoring/coaching
• Support skills/competence assessment
• Provide scholarships
• Provide vocational training combined with work-focused language classes
• Training of trainers in understanding refugees’ needs
By joining HelpRefugeesWork, you will show your contribution to the integration of refugees into the labour market. UNHCR will acknowledge your contribution on the webpage of HelpRefugeesWork.