The "Refugee Employment Info" guide answers dozens of questions and includes graphics and images for easy reading and understanding. Credit: Benjamin Loyseau for Action Emploi Réfugiés
The "Refugee Employment Info" guide answers dozens of questions and includes graphics and images for easy reading and understanding. Credit: Benjamin Loyseau for Action Emploi Réfugiés

Late last month, Action Emploi Réfugiés, an online platform that links employers and refugees in France, published a guide for migrants, the organizations that work with them and potential employers. The guide aims to promote access to employment for migrants and refugees in the country.

"If I'm recognized as a refugee in another European country, can I work in France?" "How can I get professional contacts?" "What is a CDD?" "I clean someone's house, how can I be paid legally?"

Over the course of a year, Action Emploi Réfugiés (AERé) collected hundreds of questions from refugees who often feel lost when confronted with the vast job market in France. They aren’t alone: many employers and social workers also wonder how to better integrate refugees and migrants in the job market. 

To try to answer the many questions, AERé released a 100-page guide called "Refugee Employment Info". Its purpose: "To provide factual answers to recurrent questions" of migrants or refugees, employers and non-profits, explained Diane Binder and Kavita Brahmbhatt, co-presidents and founders of AERé. The guide addresses the legal framework, rights, training and facilities available to migrants and their employers, as well as the administrative steps required to be able to work.

According to AERé, 60,000 refugees or asylum seekers in France have been looking for work for longer than six months. At the same time, more than 40,000 companies struggle with recruitment. "The point of our initiative is to bring a collective response to this double challenge," the two co-chairs said. "Those who are called refugees (...) are, above all, careers, stories, talents, who wish and can be put at the service of French society and the French economy." The organization has a database of more than 800 qualified candidates and contacts with 300 employers. After only two years in existence, the organization has facilitated 250 jobs.

An updated guide every three months

Violette Debarbouille, program manager for AERé and the guide’s author, told InfoMigrants that on the migrant’s side, the questions that come up most frequently are about the right to work, available training or how one gets the welfare benefit known as the Revenue du Solidarité Active (RSA). 

For their part, many employers wonder how to verify that a foreigner is allowed to work in France. "We already had one employer who asked for a birth certificate to hire a refugee. That would never have been asked of another employee. It's completely illegal," said Debarbouille, who hopes her guide will "get everyone back on track, employers and employees, as well as educate and help social workers save time." 

A committee of about 20 experts, as well as the Ministry of Labor and the UN High Commissioner for Refugees, reviewed the guide. It is currently available only in French, but AERé is actively seeking funding to have it translated into English, Arabic or Farsi in the near future.

The organization plans to update the guide every three months "to stay current with changes in the law" — in particular changes with the new Asylum and Immigration Act. The next update will be issued in January 2019, Debarbouille said. New questions from migrants, employers or associations can also be added.


 

More articles