“Employers should support refugees’ learning” – UNHCR

The United Nations Refugee Agency has recommended that employers provide booklets and courses targeting word-specific technical vocabulary. This is in the case of refugees’ poor grasp of English, Maltese and IT.

In a report, the UNHCR office in Malta outlined the challenges and opportunities in employing refugees. This report aims to assist employers, employees, policymakers, government and non-government organisations, and other stakeholders.

Positive aspects are that service-providers are extending their services to refugees. Furthermore, employers and human resources staff are recognising the need to adapt to a multicultural workplace.

The main challenges

However, these are some of the main challenges being faced, along with recommendations for each:

  1. Lack of clarity regarding applying for a work permit
  • Provide information

• Reduce costs concerning the application and renewal of work permits.

2. Poor grasp of English, Maltese and IT

• Booklets and courses targeting work-specific technical vocabulary.

• Employers to provide refugees with support at work

3. Urgent need for courses on adapting to work in Malta

  • Provide information on required work conditions, the work permit and employees’ rights and obligations.

• Deliver tailor-made courses on cultural orientation, required work conditions and employees’ rights and obligations.

4. Recognition of qualifications and skills

• Establish a body to assess and recognise the skills of refugees who do not have certificates, or recognised certificates.

• Promote vocational testing and provide on-the-job training, apprenticeships and internships.

5. Employers are adapting to a multicultural workplace but finding difficulties

• Provide employers and all staff with information and training on working in a multicultural environment.

• Provide continuous on-the-job training, mentoring and post-placement support for refugees.

6. Refugees with protection in Italy or other Member States (MS) who are unable to work in Malta

• UNHCR will continue to advocate among policymakers for a way to regularise the employment of refugees with protection in other MS

• UNHCR encourages all stakeholders who share this concern to advocate as well

8. Opening of bank accounts

• Raise awareness and assist with the dissemination of information among refugees, employers, NGOs and other stakeholders on the payment account and its basic features.

• Train desk officers on the different types of status and the corresponding documentation, as well as the rights of persons with international protection to open basic bank accounts as per Legal Notice

9. Discrimination and racism

• Create public educational campaigns targeting equality and combating discrimination.

• Promote the employment of refugees