How to Hire Syrian Refugees

Many people in Syria have faced the tragic experience of leaving their home country to find a better life elsewhere. If your company has the means, hiring them is a great way to help. Start by connecting with state agencies in the United States to find refugees to hire, and then make the hiring process easier for them. Also, add additional training and support for these employees as they make their way in a new country.

EditSteps

EditFinding Syrian Refugees to Hire

  1. Contact your state or local office for refugees. Most states and many cities have offices dedicated to helping refugees settle in the area. Employment counseling is part of the settlement process, so many of these offices have departments devoted to employment.[1]
    Hire Syrian Refugees Step 1.jpg
    • Often, these agencies will be under health and human services. They may also be listed under workforce services. Check for their contact information on your local state and city government websites.
  2. Let the agency know you want to hire refugees. Often, these agencies are more than happy to work with employers who want to hire refugees. Once you let the agency know you’re interested, you’ll likely be put on a list of potential employers for Syrian refugees entering the country.[2]
    Hire Syrian Refugees Step 2.jpg
  3. Work with host organizations. Many agencies set up host organizations, which are typically churches or community organizations. If you work with these organizations, you can assist the hosts and refugees by helping them find employment in your organization.[3]
    Hire Syrian Refugees Step 3.jpg
    • Ask your state agencies if they can give you a list of host organizations to contact.
    • Contact the agencies to let them know you’re willing to hire Syrian refugees so they can point them your direction.
    • These hosts provide support to refugees, such as helping them with applying for government benefits, assisting them with enrolling children in school, and providing orientation training.
  4. Drop applications off at these agencies. To make employment more accessible, have a stack of applications available at both the state agencies and the host organizations. Also, leave a list of commonly open jobs at your company. That way, anyone assisting a refugee can just walk them through one of your job applications.
    Hire Syrian Refugees Step 4.jpg
  5. List your jobs as open to refugees. A simple, more passive way to find Syrian refugees to hire is to state you’re open to refugees in your job postings. That way, refugees will be more likely to apply for employment at your company.
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    • For instance, you could write the following at the end of your job posting: “We are an equal opportunity employer. Everyone is encouraged to apply.”

EditAssisting Syrian Refugees through the Hiring Process

  1. Translate your application to make it easier for Syrian refugees to apply. Though a number of languages are spoken in Syria, Arabic is the official language. Most of the minorities in the country speak it as a first or second language.[4]
    Hire Syrian Refugees Step 6.jpg
  2. Allow translation services for interviews. State agencies often provide a translator when you’re interviewing candidates. Make use of this service so that your potential employee can present themselves to the best of their ability.[5]
    Hire Syrian Refugees Step 7.jpg
    • If the state doesn’t provide a translator, consider providing one yourself.
  3. Hire Syrian refugees at all levels. Syrian refugees will come from all walks of life, with all levels of education. Some will be suited for entry-level positions, but others will be perfect for higher level positions. Look at each person’s background to figure out where they would be the best fit.
    Hire Syrian Refugees Step 8.jpg
  4. Accept Syrian degrees. One issue refugees face is employers often won’t accept their degree, so they’re forced to take a job below what they’ve trained for. Many Syrian refugees were professionals in their home country, and they have much to contribute if you’re willing to accept their training.[6]
    Hire Syrian Refugees Step 9.jpg
    • Many refugees submit hundreds of applications before a company is willing to accept a degree from their home country.
  5. Look for the I-94 or Employment Authorization Document. Upon entering the country, a Syrian refugee will receive an I-94, which shows they have a legal right to be here. This document is enough to establish they can work legally in the United States, though they will eventually receive an Employment Authorization Document.[7]
    Hire Syrian Refugees Step 10.jpg
    • The I-94 will have a refugee admission stamp.

EditOffering Training and Support

  1. Provide English as a Second Language (ESL) training. While the government agency will likely provide this service, it can be beneficial to offer it to your new employees. Most refugees will need more ESL training than they received from the government to help improve their English.[8]
    Hire Syrian Refugees Step 11.jpg
    • Specifically, provide ESL training related to your particular company and field, as the ESL classes provided by the state are likely to be more general.
  2. Give an extended orientation. New employees from another country are likely going to need a longer orientation period than native employees. Set aside a long time period for the initial training, for instance, as the language barrier will make this step more difficult.
    Hire Syrian Refugees Step 12.jpg
  3. Allocate funds and space for vocational training. While many of these refugees do have professional training, some do not. If you can provide vocational training in your business, you’ll give refugees a chance to start a new life here.[9]
    Hire Syrian Refugees Step 13.jpg
    • Often, this training takes the form of customized job training, meaning you work to train the new person for a specific job.
    • In addition, some states provide subsidies if you’re willing to offer training to new employees. Check your state laws to see if your business can receive this benefit.[10]
  4. Offer apprenticeships. Apprenticeships combine classroom learning with on-the-job training. It’s similar to vocational training, but it’s more extensive. You can even register your apprenticeship program. If you do, you can receive certification to show your customers that your apprentices are qualified for the job.[11]
    Hire Syrian Refugees Step 14.jpg
    • Typically, you’ll agree to provide a mentor to apprentices for a year, as well as training at a community college, trade school, or apprenticeship school.
    • Find your state representative at https://www.doleta.gov/oa/contactlist.cfm to learn more about setting up and running the program. You can also receive funds for these programs, depending on the state.
  5. Provide housing programs. Syrian refugees do receive assistance in finding a place to live. However, providing housing to refugees you hire can make the transition that much easier for them.
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    • You can offer on-campus housing if you’re working for a larger company.
    • Alternatively, you can maintain a program that finds furnished housing and matches families to that housing, while also providing a housing stipend.

EditTips

  • Help your new employees integrate with the workforce by hosting company events. Consider a cultural exchange potluck, where everybody brings a dish made from or inspired by a family recipe.
  • Make your new employees feel more welcome by pairing them up with other employees who will help acclimate them to the workplace. Rather than a formal training program, this program would just give the new employee a familiar face to come to for help with basic questions.

EditSources and Citations

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