Find Durable Solutions for Global Refugee Crises
Joblio.Co is a technology powered social impact enterprise that seeks to bring transparency and order into the industry of global labour migration. Its founder Jon Purizhansky is an ex-refugee who says that according to the UNHCR, at least 89.3 million people around the world have been forced to flee their homes. Among them are nearly 27.1 million refugees, around half of whom are under the age of 18. There are also millions of stateless people, who have been denied a nationality and lack access to basic rights such as education, health care, employment and freedom of movement. Ongoing and newly developed conflicts have driven the displacement across the globe.
For example, the conflict in the Tigray region in Ethiopia led to at least 2.5 million more people being displaced within their country, with some 1.5 million of them returning to their homes during the year.
In Afghanistan, the events leading up to the Taliban’s takeover of Kabul in August 2021 resulted in displacement within the country as well as into neighbouring countries. The number of people displaced internally rose for the 15th straight year, even as more than 790,000 Afghans returned during the year.
The Democratic Republic of the Congo, Nigeria, South Sudan, Sudan, the Syrian Arab Republic and Yemen saw increases of between 100,000 and 500,000 people displaced internally in 2021. In last year’s Global Trends report, UNHCR predicted that “the question is no longer if forced displacement will exceed 100 million people – but rather when”. The when is now? With millions of Ukrainians displaced and further displacement elsewhere in 2022, total forced displacement now exceeds 100 million people. This means 1 in every 78 people on earth has been forced to flee – a dramatic milestone that few would have expected a decade ago.
As new refugee situations emerge and intensify, and as existing ones reignite or remain unresolved, there is an acute need for durable solutions at increasing scale. What’s important to realize is that finding solutions for the displaced populations will also create a solution for the corporate world that is experiencing an exponentially growing shortage of talent.
There is currently no concerted globally coordinated effort to analyse this populations’ professional backgrounds to see if they can be matched with employers globally who are experiencing dire shortage of staff.
It is because of this lack of global effort to create synergies between corporate employers in the developed world and the displaced populations globally that are few options for regular migration, for the vast majority of refugees and displaced persons. The rest are left to migrate irregularly, stay in the host countries, meaning they either work irregularly or not in their fields of training.
Not just companies, Jon Purizhansky points out, but actually entire countries are now facing skills gaps that are impeding their economic growth. Since the Second World War populations of the developed countries have both aged and have built generational wealth, which is employers report that talent shortages and difficulty filling positions. And the shortages are growing every month. The population of OECD countries is aging at the same their working-age population is shrinking. Without migration, by 2050, OECD countries will need 400 million more workers to maintain the working-age to elderly ratio that underpins their pension and health schemes. These demographics are relatively easy to reliably predict, and yet, to date, little is being done to prepare for this dramatic and unprecedented future. OECD countries are not likely to be able to meet their entire need for new workers by increasing birth rates.
Jon Purizhansky points that with the right kind of support, these shortages may be partially filled by assisting displaced populations and refugees fill the talent void. Migrants need more options for legal migration and companies need more flexible immigration systems so they can recruit internationally when they cannot find the local talent.
Jon Purizhansky says that focusing on human rights of refugees and creating economic opportunities for them benefits not just the refugees but the corporate world as well. Ultimately, the entire ecosystem will benefit as refugees will now move from uncertainty to certainty and will improve their lives economically; the employers will now secure the talent they need from amongst the refugee populations and the governments will benefit from reduction of illegal immigration and tax revenues that will inevitably come about as a result of the improved ecosystem.
As labor shortages will continue to grow, Jon Purizhansky predicts that more and more governments will realise that by creating better future for refugees they will improve their own economies greatly.